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Understanding the HIT Infrastructure Role in Value-Based Care

Value-based care begins with advanced support from HIT infrastructure tools to automate and consolidate systems to reduce costs.

HIT infrastructure

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- As value-based care continues to drive providers to cut back on medical costs, organizations need to understand how significant advanced and innovative HIT infrastructure tools are to reducing overall care costs.

One of the biggest tenants of value-based care is cutting back on unnecessary medical costs, which plays into HIT infrastructure strategies for value-based care.

A recent report released by Change Healthcare indicated that over half of payer organizations were not satisfied with their current value-based analytics, automation, and reporting capabilities.

Analytics and automation are key uses of HIT Infrastructure technology being utilized to reduce costs at the base level, along with consolidating IT infrastructure tools.

Organizations need to come up with strategies to replace legacy systems that hinder progress with more advanced health IT systems that improve patient care while saving long-term costs.

Healthcare organizations continue to embrace value-based care models as they replace fee-for-service care with strategies that will lower overall costs while increasing the quality of patient care.

AMIA states  that significant progress has been made in the digitization of health IT infrastructure. However, many IT environments contain legacy systems that are not designed to support the transition to value-based care.  

“Provider organizations pursuing new models of health care delivery and payment are finding that their electronic systems lack the capabilities needed to succeed,” said AMIA. “The result is a chasm between the current health IT ecosystem and the health IT ecosystem that is desperately needed.”

“Both the technologies themselves and the application of those technologies and the data they contain urgently need improvement to support the transition to value-based care.”

Value-based care encourages new infrastructure requirements that demand better means of information exchange and communication.

Many healthcare organizations still use fax machines to exchange information, according to AMIA. While fax machines are not necessarily less secure than more advanced means of communication, they do not integrate well with other health IT systems, such as EHRs and analytics tools. 

The progress towards advanced value-based care IT infrastructure lies with the technology healthcare providers are willing to adopt.

Providers face gaps in their current health IT ecosystems, including a lack of standardized APIs for external data access so clinicians can gather all patient medical data. Advanced analytic tools can also create gaps in HIT ecosystems.

Entities are now reaching for more advanced infrastructure technology to consolidate IT resources and move towards value-based care incentives. Consolidating and virtualizing certain infrastructure technologies also gives clinicians faster and more streamlined access to patient information and tools.

Virtualized infrastructure is one of many technologies gaining popularity in health IT. Virtualizing desktops, networks, and data centers are several ways healthcare organizations can consolidate on-premises resources and use the scalability of cloud computing.

Software-defined infrastructure (SDx) solutions are different virtualization technologies deployed in an IT infrastructure, replacing traditional hardware using abstraction. SDx is programmed and used to automate solutions within an IT infrastructure by virtualizing certain solution functions using abstraction and cloud services.

SDx includes software-defined networking (SDN), software-defined data centers (SDDC), and software-defined storage (SDS).

By decoupling the data storage programming controls and the physical hardware, organizations can share storage workloads across physical servers within a network to make better use of available server space.

There are many advancements currently being developed in healthcare IT with automation, storage, and computing that will help organizations achieve better care with a high ROI. While these technologies may be pricy at the time of investment, their ROI has been proven.

Examining the impact of HIT infrastructure tools and addressing value-based care at the base level will help organizations successfully cut back costs and introduce new tools that won’t be as expensive to deploy.

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