Why starting with VBHC is no longer really a matter of choice

Those at the forefront determine their own future

Before deciding how you wish to start Value Based Healthcare (VBHC), there is the question of whether and when you should do so. Are you going to wait for the government to act (top-down) or are you going to act now, yourselves (bottom-up). In fact, this is barely a choice now – the wheels are in motion and the world is changing. What do we see all around us?

Patients are already changing

Patients take on the key role as early as in the consulting room – they have become more confident verbally, they are better informed and they are no longer willing to accept empty promises. They have already looked at their medical condition in detail (it is very likely that they practice self-management in which they monitor important parameters, which is why they have come to their doctor) and expect to be helped by a specialist. In other words, patients act like the main director and the specialist is the guide. Patients are demanding a key role.

Digitization is in full swing

Today’s patients are more and more used to mobile devices, apps and telemonitoring options. And their number is growing! The time that the majority of people needing care will be completely used to using their mobile phone is almost upon us – in less than ten years’ time, this will be seen as completely normal. The use of mobile devices in the medical process will be a matter of course and will be simply expected.

Competition is already on the move

The first successful initiatives are already visible; integrated care in which the outcomes that are relevant to patients are key. An example is that of ParkinsonNet – a national network of more than 3,000 caregivers who specialize in Parkinson’s disease. Any patient with Parkinson’s disease who currently needs physiotherapy can only go to a practitioner who is affiliated to the network. Others are no longer reimbursed by healthcare insurance companies.

My advice is to exercise yourself! As a player in the care landscape, you will have to adjust to these developments. Embracing the VBHC principles is needed for this; an integrated approach based on a specific care cycle, measuring meaningful patient outcomes and organizing yourself so that you are constantly able to improve these outcomes.

If you then make a start, I can see the following important success factors:

  • Start with care cycle integration, led by a powerful care cycle owner: this could be yourself, or you and important partners from the care cycle.
  • Determine the scope of the care cycle – from what point to what point are you responsible?
  • Decide how you wish to be funded – are you going to opt for traditional funding for now or straight away for value funding?
  • Select your organizational form – are you going for complete ownership or do you want to collaborate with others (informally)?

My conclusion is that we have passed the conceptual discussion stage. The actual implementation of VBHC is now in full swing and as soon as others start moving, you cannot afford to be left behind. If you do fall behind, others will determine how you have to change. There are still enough opportunities to take control yourself, so make a start!

Author: Edward Beerthuizen

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