Redefining Value in Healthcare: Expectations and Implications

The concept of "value" in healthcare is shifting. As noted in the recent Hospital & Health Networks article "What 'Value' in Health Care Really Means" the term is a disruptive force for the industry.

"…(v)alue is not intrinsic to objects but derives from their utility in fulfilling human desires and needs. So, the value of health care ultimately comes from "positive externalities that have little to do with the strict financial or economic value of services or assets to an enterprise; that is, the value to society of the public benefit deriving from health care services.'"

With this starting point, we can redefine value and move the concept so that it better aligns with positive patient health outcomes. Value is now tied to things like good health, freedom from illness or disability, patient satisfaction, and freedom of choice. Moreover, this shift is working to align the patient and the provider perception of value.

For patients, the value of healthcare is quantified by their health. For providers, value is shifting to quality patient outcomes. In other words, the perception of and the ways in which we measure value are converging for those delivering and those receiving care.

The ways in which this value is measured, regulated, and reported can be (and are) debated. But the transformation in the way we understand value in healthcare is necessitating a common objective: the prevention of illness and disease.

Prevention requires the early identification of at-risk people so that interventions can be applied and illness avoided. Critical to enabling this early identification is technology that can predict who will get sick before any clinical signs are present. This is more than "precision" medicine; this is medicine that understands and accounts for the holistic experience of a patient and his or her true risk to deliver more accurate and better predictions.

As our definition of value in healthcare continues to evolve, technology will remain a foundational and core component in our journey. The key to ensuring the relevance of emerging technology solutions and capabilities is ongoing alignment to how value is perceived by patients and providers. Any solution has to enable the best possible health outcomes while delivering the functionality that will help providers thrive under value-based models of care and reimbursement. Ignoring either stakeholder group ignores the full definition of "value."

- By Jvion Health