Information technology has an important role to play in health care payment and delivery reforms. Dr. George Kipa, BCBSM’s deputy corporate medical director, recently appeared on a panel at the annual meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Kipa explains below how Blue Cross is harnessing IT to control health care costs while improving quality.
Question: How are the Blues using IT to enhance health care value?
Kipa: Our Value Partnerships suite of programs is one of our most important tools for improving health care value. Through collaboration and data sharing, these initiatives are enhancing clinical quality, decreasing complications, managing costs, eliminating errors and improving health outcomes.
We use IT as a tool for facilitating collaboration and a pathway to transformative innovation in health care.
On the provider side, we are enhancing health care value through Value Partnership initiatives such as the Physician Group Incentive Program, Patient-Centered Medical Home, and Organized Systems of Care.
The concepts of population management, teamwork and collaboration are central to our work.
My family doctor is using electronic records these days. How do they fit in?
We know that electronic health records can provide many benefits for providers and their patients, but the benefits depend on how they’re used.
Value Partnership programs such as the Physician Group Incentive Program give incentives to providers for improving care but usually leave the choice of what technologies to use in specific environments up to the providers.
We look at the electronic health records as modular components. Examples of components we have emphasized include e-Prescribing, registries and patient portals. BCBSM has partnered with the provider community and employers, such as the autos, to incentivize e-Prescribing, which enhances medication safety and adherence.
How is Blue Cross working with providers and our academic partners to improve health care value?
Registries are a central feature of our Value Partnership programs. They help providers track, communicate and coordinate evidence-based care for chronic disease and preventive medicine. They also enable clinical reminder programs to make sure that all of the patient’s needs are addressed. Patient portals are an exciting mechanism for improving clinical communication with patients.
Registries managed by our academic clinical partners have formed the basis for collecting, analyzing and sharing data on best practices, which in turn has led to improvements in quality and significant savings. •
You can learn more about the success on BCBSM’s Value Partnerships website.