A study by the firm of Ernest and Young examined some of the key issues that need to be addressed in order to develop innovative policies leading to improvements in the way health care services are delivered and/or paid for. "For health care provider and payer organizations, the industry's next great challenge is in the pursuit of relentless innovation - changing long-established practices; reinforcing new behaviors that focus on value, wellness and integrated care; and breaking through the wall that has long separated health care delivery and financing," according to the study.
The report also provides a look at how providers are already making some of these needed changes, in the areas of:
- Cost savings and value creation - "Hospitals are finding ways to coordinate more closely with physicians, other providers and payers to facilitate global payments, the medical home and other initiatives galvanized by the health care reform law. Payers are differentiating their plans to demonstrate value and excel in the retail market. Providers and payers are innovating together in cost-saving measures such as population health, joint disease management programs, and the pursuit of reduced variation."
- Patient care transformation - "Providers and payers are working together to eliminate barriers. Innovations range from safety strategies and quality initiatives to steps that enhance patient comfort, convenience and the overall health care experience" are encouraged.
- Health information technology - Innovations that create better use of data, such as electronic health records, mobile technologies and clinician and patient decision-making tools, are being developed and used on an ever faster timetable.
- Integration opportunities - "Health care organizations are seeking partners through a variety of innovative structures - with the goal of developing fully integrated health care delivery networks in an accelerated timeframe. Hospitals are teaming with ancillary and post-acute service providers through partnerships or contractual affiliations. Payers are acquiring providers, providers are acquiring payers, and private equity firms are finding opportunities for significant growth through mergers of similar health care organizations."
- Workforce initiatives - Innovations are being tested to mitigate workforce shortages, maximize resources and create the workforce of the future.
More information on the report is available here.