Delivering real value

by Catherine Mitchell

01 August 2018

Throughout August we are taking the opportunity to focus on some key areas of the HFMA’s policy and technical work and remind members about some of the outputs that might be useful. Each week we are highlighting a different topic. In our first blog, the focus is on the continuing drive to establish value-based healthcare.

The government has made it clear that a new 10-year plan for the NHS will need to ensure that ‘every penny is well spent’. ‘It must be a plan that tackles wastes, reduces bureaucracy and eliminates unacceptable variation, with all these efficiency savings reinvested back into patient care,’ prime minister Theresa May said in announcing the new funding deal. In essence, the prime minister is calling for a plan that delivers value – getting the best outcomes for the least cost.

The practical reality of implementing value-based healthcare is exactly what the Healthcare Costing for Value Institute international symposium will be exploring in October. Finance professionals and clinical delegates will gain insights from world leaders in the practical delivery of value-based healthcare, equipping them with ideas and strategies for developing a value-driven approach in their own health systems.

This is our third international conference and you can read a report on last year’s event in Healthcare Finance and institute members can access presentations and session videos in our summary briefing. On this occasion, leading international and UK speakers will describe how they are tackling four key themes that are essential to value-based healthcare.

Patient-defined outcomes are at the heart of value-based healthcare. But how do health systems go about defining and measuring outcomes that matter to people? It may be easier to do this in a hospital setting, but what about in the community and for those with long-term conditions? Our Collecting patient outcomes case study describes the approach that Aneurin Bevan Health Board has taken to collect patient-reported outcomes. Our Report on the value challenge pilot also highlights some of the challenges in collecting and accessing outcome data.

Linking cost, activity and outcome data is key to identifying variation and measuring improvements in value. This is not without its challenges. How can you demonstrate that value has improved? The institute’s latest PLICS toolkit for community services supports organisations to maximise the value of PLICS data within their organisation, and across systems.

While it is important that individual organisations seek to improve value, the goal must be to deliver value across whole systems. Systems need to be pursuing a triple aim – delivering allocative and personal value alongside the more traditional technical value. And this needs to be supported by data that covers the whole pathway.

Our case study A population approach to value-based healthcare describes Camden Clinical Commissioning Group’s new approach to commissioning healthcare with the focus clearly on the delivery of value in its broadest sense. An institute roundtable in September will also dig a bit deeper into the challenge of delivering value across systems, not just within individual organisations

It is hard to argue against the concept of value in healthcare. The challenge is how to improve value in day-to-day decision making. How do we improve outcomes that matter to patients and reduce unwarranted clinical variation? How do we reduce costs? How do we equip systems, organisations, and staff with the data and skills to drive value? Our webinar Using artificial intelligence to improve theatre utilisation illustrates how South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is using predictive analytics to drive efficiencies in the use of theatre space by creating optimal operating lists that also ensure full use of capacity.

We look forward to discussing these four themes with healthcare leaders from across the world to make value-based healthcare a reality. The HFMA institute membership is proud to be part of the debate.

To book a place for the international symposium contact and for more details about institute membership contact