We had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter Spitzer who is a former CIO at Texas Children’s Hospital, as well as former CMIO at Providence Health & Services, CTO and many other senior positions, to discuss with him, his views on Care coordination. Excerpts from our discussion are below;
1. Why do you think care coordination has gained so much traction in the last couple years?
The healthcare space has changed drastically from what it used to be a couple of decades ago. Now, we are in the phase of transitions, moving from fee for service to value for care. But more than that, dollars are directly tied to the quality of care and evidently care coordination, where used, has improved the quality of care dramatically! Given the number of care teams implementing it and succeeding, it is only a matter of time before we see care coordination in every healthcare setting.
2. What according to you is the most common problem healthcare organizations face during care coordination? How do you think they can ease into it smoothly?
Care coordination is a process that requires both an IT infrastructure backbone and the workforce to coordinate care. The first hurdle requires the ability to deal with massive amounts of healthcare data and then to understand it properly through advanced analytics for risk stratification. All of these capabilities will be rendered pointless if care coordinators have to deal with Excel sheets filled with the data of thousands of patients manually. We need to be providing the tools to show a 360o view of the patient; prioritizing and tracking contacts with patients, caretakers, and providers; and tracking patient results and outcomes.
In future, do you see care coordination playing a major role in healthcare? Do you see care coordination solving major problems of health care?
Given the pace with which CMS has been introducing quality oriented models, I believe it is only a matter of time before we see ‘care management’ as a necessity in value-focused organizations. For instance, under MACRA, participating physicians will be incentivized for performing care coordination. This is a sign that the administration believes in care coordination and the role it can play in improving health care. I think care coordination can improve the outcomes of care by significantly, by trying to assure that the right care is delivered by the best provider at the right time.
Do you believe in the concept of ‘Uberization of healthcare’? Do you see it happening in the near future?
I do like the concept of doorstep delivery of services; however, I find it slightly difficult to see the healthcare space ‘Uberized’ completely in the near future. We have to understand that there is a lot more to it than just home-based or telemedicine-based delivery of healthcare services. “Uberization” to some extent also implies the commoditization of services; I think that this is not yet happening to a significant amount in healthcare.
Would you consider Care Coordination as the most important piece of the healthcare puzzle?
Modern day healthcare has become much more complex than it used to be. We are making collaborative efforts to improve the quality and outcomes of care, but we have to remember that this is a gradual process with contributions coming from multiple directions. Care Coordination is an essential part of this ecosystem, but only one piece of the healthcare delivery puzzle.