When it comes to healthcare, Americans’ top priorities are lowering costs and affordable insurance, a recent study suggests.
In the last year, healthcare spending in the U.S. increased by more than 5 percent, a trend that is expected to continue in 2019. Healthcare spending is driven by the combination of two factors: the frequency of claims and the per-unit cost of each service. If more medical services are being prescribed and performed — at higher and higher prices — then healthcare spending rises.
But what if those on the front lines — the physicians and medical experts delivering your care — were better informed with the cost and quality data associated with each treatment option? Would they be able to provide more personalized care recommendations? Would increased transparency inform decisions that could provide higher quality care at a better value?
That’s the intent behind a digital tool that offers physicians real-time, patient-specific data, empowering them to identify the right approach to your health and maximize the value of your care.
How data-backed decision-making powers the healthcare experience
We’re approaching healthcare differently by equipping our physicians with information that has the power to change the way they prescribe care. Utilizing a digital instrument that provides a focused picture of data on the front end, they can make more informed treatment decisions with you in mind.
In combination with data about your own individual health risks and history, this information empowers your care team to make more personalized recommendations at critical points in your care.
By displaying the costs of labs, medications and radiology studies, as well as recommendations for lower cost alternatives, a digital “ribbon” of information provides your doctor with actionable, data-backed insights. In combination with data about your own individual health risks and history, this information empowers your care team to make more personalized recommendations at critical points in your care.
Baylor Scott & White Health was first in the state to implement this value-based initiative with a collaborative pilot led by Texas Hospital Associationthat began in February 2018 at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple.
Behind how the digital data tool works
So, how does it work? In the “ribbon” of information, physicians see clear, actionable suggestions for how they could strategically reduce costs and increase the quality of the care you receive. This can play out in a number of ways for you in the patient care setting.
As a result of your doctor’s access to this tool, you may see several direct benefits, including:
- More affordable prescription recommendations
- Fewer redundant tests and scans
- Lower risk of complications
- Better understanding of your medical history
The technology works in tandem with your electronic medical record to inform physicians on your individual risk profile, which can help reduce unnecessary harm and improve the quality of your care. For example, by reducing your repeated use of antibiotics, your doctor can help you avoid an infection like C. difficile. Similarly, if your physician has visibility into your recent bloodwork and radiology scans, he or she can reduce your risk of problems like anemia and cumulative radiation exposure by avoiding unnecessary tests.
As healthcare becomes increasingly digitally integrated, Baylor Scott & White is taking steps to empower physicians with the information they need to make the highest value decisions for your care.
The idea behind this initiative is that the more information doctors have at their fingertips when recommending services and prescriptions, the more likely they are to choose higher quality, safer and lower cost options.
Studies have shown that these physician-ordering decisions affect 85 percent of hospital costs.In theory, if we can lower hospital costs by eliminating redundancy and choosing higher-value options, then as a patient, you’ll begin to experience the impact of stabilization to these rising costs, too.
Driving change toward a more strategic care approach
While Baylor Scott & White Health is initially rolling this digital tool out to facilities in Central Texas, the goal is to expand the technology to providers across the health system.
Working behind the scenes, this initiative is the intersection of technology and human capital. Providing access to the data is only the beginning — it takes the right people to truly transform how we approach decision-making in patient experience. As we roll this tool out, we will continue to draw upon the strength of our integrated network of physicians dedicated to learning how to make the best use of this tool.
Together, we are shifting our mindset toward strategic, cost-efficient decision-making. And by enabling physicians to make faster and smarter decisions, we’re giving your doctors back the valuable resource of time, so they can focus on what truly matters: you.
As healthcare becomes increasingly digitally integrated, Baylor Scott & White is taking steps to empower physicians with the information they need to make the highest value decisions for your care. By investing in the quality of your health, we believe we can change the experience to make healthcare work better for you.
About the author
Grace Glausier is the manager of digital content strategy for Baylor Scott and White Health. A graduate of Baylor University, she is passionate about connecting people through powerful stories and empowering individuals toward better health.