The rise of value-based reimbursement systems makes aggressively pursuing clinical excellence as the most effective financial strategy for health care organizations to preserve and grow revenue.
The recognition of superior clinical care as a valuable business strategy is reflected in five of the most-read blog posts published on McKesson.com over the past few months. Each of the five posts demonstrates that, regardless of health care setting, providing safer and more effective patient care will reduce costs and improve profitability.
In “Five Strategies to Reduce Hospital Readmissions,” we searched through the latest medical literature and research for fresh ideas on how hospitals can reduce their rates of avoidable patient readmissions. The impetus for the post was the statement by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that nearly 2,600 hospitals would lose a total of $538 million in Medicare revenue in fiscal 2017 because their Medicare patient 30-day readmission rates were too high. The new ideas proven in the literature and research to reduce medically unnecessary readmissions ranged from the simple—assigning pharmacists to do home medication reconciliation consults with all newly discharged patients—to the more complex—expanding post-discharge interventions that target socio-economic challenges.
In “Centralizing Drug Distribution for Health System Pharmacies,” McKesson’s Barbara Giacomelli discusses the advantages of hospitals and health systems centralizing their drug distribution processes and the practical steps they need to take to make it happen. At the top of the list of benefits from centralizing and taking control over drug distribution across a multi-site health system are higher quality and safer care for patients. “Standardizing drugs throughout a medical system helps reduce variation and improve pharmacist and caregiver familiarity with medications—which helps limit medication pick errors, increase patient safety and improve patient care,” says Giacomelli, who is area vice president for McKesson’s Pharmacy Optimization business unit.
In “How Retail Pharmacies Can Expand Into Clinical Programs,” McKesson’s Emilie Ray advocates for the launch and expansion of clinical programs and services at retail pharmacies. Like strategies to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions, the clinical programs and services offered by retail pharmacies can range from the simple—seasonal flu vaccines—to the more complex—pharmacogenomics services that determine how a person’s genes impacts their response to a specific prescription medication. “Retail pharmacies in the future are not going to be able to survive just by filling prescriptions,” says Ray, who is president of McKesson’s Pharmacy Technology and Services business unit. “They will have to make this change, and they will have to find a way to focus on clinical activities that improve the health of their customers and their own financial health.”
And in “Optimizing Physician Office Lab Performance,” McKesson’s Patrick Bowman offers five strategies to physicians who want to raise the clinical and financial performance of the diagnostic laboratory testing services they provide in their offices to patients. Topping Bowman’s list is the need for physician practices to customize their menu of in-office lab tests to their medical specialty and to their patient population in order to maximize the clinical value of the tests to patients. “All physician practices should offer their most frequently ordered lab tests to ensure positive patient outcomes,” says Bowman, who is a lab equipment specialist with McKesson’s Medical-Surgical business unit. “This helps to provide faster diagnosis and treatment to their patients.”
In “Five Steps to Prepare Oncology and Specialty Practices for MIPS,” McKesson’s Linda Pottinger gives community-based oncologists and other medical specialists some practical tips on what it will take to comply with the performance measurement reporting requirements of Medicare’s new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The new value-based reimbursement system requires eligible clinicians to select, collect and report to Medicare performance measures in three categories, including six measures in the quality of clinical care category. In deciding which quality measures to track and send, Pottinger, who is director of payer initiatives with the Innovative Practice Services team of McKesson’s Specialty Health business unit, says oncology and other medical specialty practices should “…consider quality and improvement activity measures in areas in which the practice performs well and choose measures that benefit both the patient and the practice in terms of clinical and financial outcomes.”
As reflected by the five top-read blog posts over the past few months, quality clinical care is better business for hospitals, pharmacies and physician practices.