VBHC: the healthcare cycle owner is the starting point for implementation

This year, it is ten years since the publication of the book Redefining Health Care by Porter, which marked the starting signal for the transition to Value-Based Healthcare (VBHC). VBHC is now a hot topic in the healthcare sector, but not enough is happening. Are you a healthcare provider? Then you too can start creating more patient value. In this blog, I describe the most important first step towards implementation - healthcare cycle ownership.

Why is there so little VBHC-oriented healthcare in the Netherlands?

The VBHC concept is ambitious and can be overwhelming. The reason for this is that Value-Based Healthcare does not appear to be compatible with the current healthcare system in the Netherlands. Care cycles are distributed over multiple healthcare providers in various organizations. There is little motivation for collaboration in the care cycle. And not least, funding in the healthcare sector is often based on activities of individual parties rather than outcomes in the care cycle.

VBHC is suffering under a responsibility dilemma

It is not necessary to change the entire healthcare system or to wait until that has happened. Every party can make a difference – from government and healthcare insurance companies to the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare providers. This is an opportunity, but also a problem. After all, if  VBHC belongs to us all, who will take the initiative and who will dare to accept final responsibility?

Implementation of VBHC requires a healthcare cycle owner

There is one absolute requirement for the successful implementation of VBHC. There should be one healthcare cycle owner for each clinical picture. These healthcare cycle owners would function as the VBHC initiator, the owner of the medical cycle, and bear final financial responsibility. They need to be real multi-taskers:

  • As the initiator, the healthcare cycle owner brings all the relevant parties together and acts as the director and integrator. The initiator generates enthusiasm, involvement and momentum.
  • Being the owner of the medical cycle, the healthcare cycle owner monitors and manages the patient value that has been achieved in the healthcare cycle.
  • As the party bearing final financial responsibility, the healthcare owner is the financial link between the healthcare insurance company and all the healthcare providers involved.

What are the characteristics of a successful healthcare cycle owner?

The healthcare cycle owner should have a range of abilities and personality features in order to be able to fulfil the three roles. For example, he or she should be entrepreneurial, good at bringing parties together, show medical leadership, be businesslike, independent, and a good communicator. Most importantly, the healthcare cycle owner should be respected and trusted in the field. Because, in spite of the leadership role of the healthcare cycle owner, they are totally dependent on good working relationships with all the other parties for VBHC to be a success.

Healthcare providers as natural healthcare cycle owners

Because of the medical nature of their operations, healthcare providers are natural healthcare cycle owners. As a healthcare provider, you can start creating more patient value yourself. You do not have to wait for the healthcare system in the Netherlands to change. VBHC can start off on a small-scale basis  this keeps it manageable and means that results are achieved more quickly. It is only through healthy collaboration that you can achieve sustainable results. So open up the discussion, not just in your own department or hospital, but in the wider cycle. That way you can together create – step by step – more and more patient value. In my next blog, I will describe a practical step-by-step plan for putting VBHC into practice.

How do you approach VBHC?

Vintura has developed a practical step-by-step plan for achieving Value-Based Healthcare in practice. Are you ready to go? Or would you like to spar about your specific situation? Please contact Gérard Klop (gklop@vintura.com) or Koen Jansen (kjansen@vintura.com).

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