Is LTC leading the pack?

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor

If we've learned anything lately, it's this: Changing a healthcare system is no easy task. Just ask the White House.

Even getting web pages to do their job can be a challenge, as anyone who has tried to log on to can attest. This $300 million pile of technology, which was meant to allow uninsured Americans to purchase coverage, has instead become a laughingstock.

President Obama said there is “no excuse” for the numerous ongoing glitches that have plagued the site, and has promised fixes. But some people — particularly Republicans in Washington — are saying we need more: They'd like to see Obamacare itself completely scrapped.

Such a course appears unlikely, at least for now. But what if we were to take another whack at fixing healthcare? 

One possible option appears in the October issue of the Harvard Business Review

Essentially, authors Michael E. Porter and Thomas H. Lee call for a more patient-centric approach. They have labeled their strategy the “value agenda.” 

“Organizations that progress rapidly in adopting the value agenda will reap huge benefits, even if regulatory change is slow,” they write. Their tome ends on a similarly promising note:

“Those organizations — large and small, community and academic — that can master the value agenda will be rewarded with financial viability and the only kind of reputation that should matter in healthcare — excellence in outcomes and pride in the value they deliver.”

The “value agenda” rests on six interconnected pillars:

1) Establish teams made up of both clinical and nonclinical personnel

2) Measure outcomes and costs for every patient

3) Move to bundled payments for care cycles

4) Integrate care delivery systems

5) Expand geographic reach

6) Build an enabling information technology platform

This, of course, sounds a lot like what many LTC operators are already doing. When it comes to value, you're already there.