Putting value to work

by Catherine Mitchell

27 September 2019


Putting value-based healthcare into practice means tackling issues in four key areas

Value the opportunity - web banner

Across the world, health systems are recognising that value-based healthcare – maximising the outcomes that matter to people at the lowest possible cost – is the clear solution to delivering high-quality sustainable healthcare. But turning the theory of value into practice is not without its challenges.

The practical reality of improving value in healthcare is exactly what will be explored at the Healthcare Costing for Value Institute international symposium in October. Specifically, leading international and UK speakers will describe how they are tackling four themes at the heart of value-based healthcare.

Putting patients at the heart of decision-making is central to improving value. A value-based approach shifts the focus of healthcare delivery from concentrating on inputs to outcomes. How good are systems at knowing whether the care provided has made any difference to the patient? How do we encourage healthcare professionals to become part of the value revolution, so that they regularly capture patient-defined outcomes and use this intelligence to inform the design of patient pathways?

While delegates will get the chance to debate the importance of outcomes, the institute will explore this further at a roundtable event in December. The roundtable – Measuring outcomes for value-based healthcare – will further explore the finance role in driving a greater focus on outcome measures.

There is an increasing focus on looking at value through the lens of population health – a move that is clearly signposted in the NHS long-term plan. How can we maximise the use of resources available to improve the health of defined populations, optimising pathways across whole systems and starting to look at the wider determinants of health? The institute’s briefing What finance data is required to drive value at a population level? explores what is meant by value at a population level and considers what NHS finance data is required to understand how resources are distributed across different parts of local health systems.

Developing a culture that prioritises value-based healthcare is essential for embedding it as the core way of working. How many organisations have a culture of value-based decision making? Is value-based healthcare seriously considered at board level? Is there a shared understanding across professional groups and teams to deliver value? The recent institute webinar demonstrated how established social capital can support improvements in value with the quicker adoption of best practices and a reduction in unwarranted variation.

While few would argue against the concept of value-based healthcare, it can be hard to make the case for change without seeing the evidence that it works in real life. The institute case study PLICS - the Leeds way provides examples of how patient-level cost data (PLICS) has been used to inform the redesign and improvement of clinical services. 

Our symposium speakers will bring further examples of how a focus on value-based healthcare is already leading to improvements in patient care in a financially sustainable way.

We look forward to discussing these four themes with healthcare leaders from across the world. By sharing what is already happening and the art of the possible, we hope we can support a wider adoption of value-based healthcare. The HFMA institute membership is proud to be part of the debate.

To book a place for the international symposium contact kirsty.whittaker@hfma.org.uk and for more details about institute membership contact richard.sawyer@hfma.org.uk