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Intel Uses Purchasing Power to Spur Health IT Interoperability

Through its Connected Care model, Intel is using its purchasing power to accelerate health IT interoperability to benefit employees, their families, and the communities where they live and work.

health it interoperability

Source: Thinkstock

By Fred Donovan

- Through its Connected Care model, Intel is using its purchasing power to accelerate health IT interoperability to benefit employees, their families, and the communities where they live and work.

Intel offers its Connected Care health plans in five areas where it has a large employee population: Rio Rancho, New Mexico; Hillsboro, Oregon; Chandler, Arizona; Folsom, California; and Santa Clara, California.

In Oregon, for example, the Connected Care saved Intel an average of $1.8 million per month in healthcare costs, compared to the costs for a similar population of employees with traditional health plan coverage.

At each site, Intel has contracted with one or two large healthcare organizations, known as delivery system partners, to deliver healthcare to Connected Care members.

At each Connected Care site, Intel has focused on enhancing the patient experience with patient-centered medical home models of care, enabled by secure, interoperable health IT to ensure that the right information about a member’s health is available to the right provider, so the right care is delivered at the right time; improving quality and outcomes for Connected Care members with accurate and complete information maintained in EHRs, including patient visit summaries, lab results, problem lists, specialty referrals, medications, allergies, immunizations, and care plans; and improving population health and healthcare quality through data analytics, using clinical, financial, and process-level data. 

Intel reported more than 94 percent retention of employees selecting Connected Care plans for their 2018 healthcare services.

“Clinicians in the Connected Care program were given access to accurate and complete information about a patient’s medical history, and then held accountable for the quality of the care they delivered,” wrote Intel Head of US Government Relations Lisa Malloy in a recent blog post.

Intel contracted directly with healthcare delivery systems, required and measured the use of IT to exchange health data across care teams, and worked in partnership with delivery systems to improve quality of care. By doing so, Intel was able to demonstrate:

  • Healthcare can be delivered in a more coordinated way, when purchasers like Intel use their roles and contracting power to facilitate innovation.
  • Health outcomes can be measured and improved when collaboration and trust are developed as part of the process for structuring contracts. Intel’s culture is known for setting a high bar when it comes to goal-setting and driving continuous improvement, yet a highly collaborative culture has also been demonstrated by the combined data analytics team in Oregon, as metrics are set each year for the coming year and scorecards are evaluated. Developing quality measures with partners helps ensure cooperation while carrying out those measures.
  • Healthcare spending can be controlled by the purchaser when business interests and goals are aligned between the purchaser and the delivery system. To create alignment, it is essential for healthcare delivery organizations to understand that they, too, will share in the derived savings.
  • Consumers can be highly satisfied with the care they receive under accountable care arrangements when programs are designed with the patient at the center. High member satisfaction ratings have been a key component of the Connected Care program’s success because expectations for highly coordinated care are built into the metrics of success.
  • Success will breed success when improvements made under an employer-sponsored accountable care arrangement spread to improve health and healthcare across a region, and the lessons learned by healthcare delivery systems participating in models like Intel’s Connected Care can spread from community to community, and from region to region.
  • Having a combination of outside expertise and strong leadership on an employer’s team can help drive success in any new healthcare program that might be undertaken. Consultants with expertise in HIE and interoperability offered the organizations in each Connected Care region technical assistance, strategic advice, and subject matter expertise on issues including privacy and security requirements; patient consent for data sharing; ways to improve patient matching; trust agreements for data sharing; technical options and trouble-shooting vendor issues; onboarding to eHealth Exchange, improving the use of Direct messaging in workflows; policy and contract considerations; and more.

Intel concluded that by leveraging purchasing power, other employers can follow its example and make a significant difference in the delivery of cost-effective healthcare services to their employees.

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