Webcast to focus on the value of ‘value-based’ care

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

In a blog post last summer, we asked what appeared to be a simple question: Is value-based care a fad? It turns out that while the question may be simple, the answer is a bit more complicated.

After the blog post ran, we heard from the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, Austin. The school has a department devoted to teaching value-based care to its medical students. AHCJ will host a webcast at noon ET on Tuesday, June 25, for members featuring two of the school’s professors — Elizabeth Teisberg, Ph.D., and Scott Wallace — who will answer questions about value-based care and explain what students in this program are learning.

Teisberg helped to create the concept of value-based health care delivery when she co-authored a book on the subject with Michael E. Porter, “Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results” (Harvard Business Review, 2006). Teisberg is executive director of the Value Institute for Health and Care, a joint venture between Dell and UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business. She’s also the Cullen Trust for Higher Education Distinguished University Chair in Value-Based Care.

Wallace is an associate professor and co-founder and managing director at the institute. He works with students, employers and health care professionals to transform health care delivery.

As journalists, we often write about how the nation’s health care system appears to be geared to increase revenue for corporate entities such as health insurers, hospital systems and other provider organizations. Patients in this system do not always seem to be at the center of care.

This point is one the Harvard Business Review cited when describing Teisberg and Porter’s book: “The authors argue that participants in the health care system have competed to shift costs, accumulate bargaining power, and restrict services rather than create value for patients. This zero-sum competition takes place at the wrong level — among health plans, networks, and hospitals — rather than where it matters most: in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of specific health conditions.”

In writing about value-based care last summer, we explained that the cost of the nation’s health care system continues to rise and that those cost increases exceed the rate of inflation in most years. We pointed out that the quality of care and patient outcomes are substandard when those measures are compared with that of other countries.

See, for example, these charts on how quality in the U.S. health care system compares with the quality of care in other countries, and these charts on how U.S. health spending compares. The charts on health care costs and quality come from the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker of the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

One of the key questions for journalists covering the various models of value-based care that are proliferating nationwide is whether they can improve care quality and patient outcomes while also controlling costs. Alternatively, as journalist Bruce Japsen said in our blog post last year, “The key going forward will be how successful these [value-based care] models will be at reducing costs. We will know that when premiums stop rising or slow dramatically.”

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