Executive Series: The Integral Role Technology Plays in Value-based Care – How Acute Care Providers Can Adopt Technologies to Lower Costs in Value Based Programs

July 13, 2022 | Written by: Phyllis Wojtusik, RN, EVP of Health System Solutions

Hospital discharges to post-acute care (PAC) facilities have rapidly increased, resulting in more hospital readmissions and increased costs of care. One in four patients discharged from an acute care hospital to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) is readmitted within 30 days.

Not only are the financial costs of these readmissions substantial, but they put patients at unnecessary risk and can often be prevented. To improve care and costs, it’s crucial to drive home the importance of value-based care (VBC) across the PAC setting, as well as how to implement it without causing an abundance of extra work for staff.

VBC focuses on preventive care rather than just treating the presenting illness. This begs the question: What can accountable care organizations (ACOs) and health systems do to improve VBC outcomes, while reducing unnecessary medical expenses? And how can technology help them get there?


Value-Based Care Becoming the Norm, Not the Exception

VBC has become widely known in healthcare. Many provider groups have shifted to being compensated based on patient health outcomes—creating more value for patients. Under VBC, PAC facilities can improve quality outcomes for patients and reduce overall cost of care by helping to enable care coordination.

In a VBC setting, sharing actionable data across differing systems can lead to a population that is healthier overall, with fewer chronic conditions, requiring less care—leading to lower costs. Within ACOs, pay-for-performance is the motivator. VBC refocuses how we think of care delivery and presents a snapshot of the patient across the entire continuum of care. Moving forward, we are only going to see more VBC programs.

VBC has become the new normal for the payer world, and most entities are migrating toward this approach. For acute-care providers, it is vital to manage performance and outcomes throughout the entire patient continuum.

To perform well in VBC, providers need systems that extend outside their four walls. They need to be able to track and monitor patients no matter where they are located or what care setting they’re in to achieve the best outcomes and hit their performance metrics.

This cannot be done without the assistance of technology. For example, ADT feeds provide information on when and where a patient is admitted, discharged or transferred to any care setting. However, tracking isn’t enough. You also need to know what is going on with the patient’s condition—so you have the opportunity to intervene in care at the right time.


Turning Data Overload Into Actionable Insights and Cost Savings 

With data overload being a recurring theme, finding the right information and knowing what to do with it is essential. Substantial investments have been made into digital health tools and platforms (such as electronic health records) specific to VBC. By utilizing analytics, providers can close care gaps and identify populations of patients who need closer attention.

Care management is a big tool in the toolkit to help manage VBC programs. For care management to excel, providers need data and infrastructure to help them analyze and focus on the right populations, both from a cost and quality perspective.

One of the biggest challenges faced by physician groups, ACOs, and health systems is knowing what tools they actually need. Technology can offer numerous benefits, but it’s not always easy to know what you need to manage your population. Once you figure it out, you need to get those tools deployed across that population and then track and monitor outcomes.

You also need to evaluate what is really working. That is one of the biggest challenges, and that’s where technology can help. No one wants to spend valuable, costly resources on populations that don’t need the support. Rather, you want to turn the resources toward the people who need them the most. This enables you to achieve the outcomes you want— driving risk stratification, reducing readmissions, and lowering the total cost of care.


Achieving Value-Based Care Outcomes With Post-Acute Partners

Technology plays a vital role in tapping into patient-level information from other care providers (physicians, home health, skilled nursing facilities, etc.). Having connectivity, tools, and resources that help you analyze what’s happening with your patients in other care settings allows you to look into multiple areas—including financial, quality, and outcome trends—and drill down to that patient-level detail.

Technology is the only way to accomplish that. That’s why building that infrastructure is critical to performing well in value-based care. Technology contributes to patient-centered care by fostering communication between providers and patients and increasing access to information. It empowers providers to deliver better care at a lower cost, resulting in better outcomes.

Technology can provide countless benefits, including knowing where patients are and what’s happening to them. Having the tools available to influence care trends, both at the patient and population health level, is vital. This is a key focus of why risk-bearing acute-care entities need to invest in technology solutions to achieve success in VBC.

At Real Time Medical Systems, we can help providers reduce administrative burdens and be more efficient with less staff. Real Time helps to achieve value-based care goals by delivering clinical line of sight into the patient’s PAC journey through our Interventional Analytics, ensuring the right care at the right time. In addition, by monitoring length of stay and intervening in care before adverse events arise, providers can reduce avoidable readmission rates, resulting in significant total cost of care savings.

With technology evolving every day, the biggest challenge is knowing what information we need out of all the data we collect—and then bringing it all together in a useable format. We need to prioritize what’s most important and what’s going to point us in the right direction for the best outcomes. To bridge the gap between acute and post-acute care, health providers can invest in post-acute data analytics as a key driver for reducing costs in their VBC programs.

To learn more about Real Time’s Interventional Analytics, contact us today.



With over thirty-five years of health care experience in acute care, ambulatory care, and post-acute care, Phyllis Wojtusik has led the development of post-acute networks, participated in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and other value-based contract programs. Prior to joining Real Time Medical Systems, Phyllis led the development of a preferred provider SNF network for PENN Medicine Lancaster General Health. In this network she developed and implemented strategies that reduced total cost of care and readmissions while improving quality measures and patient outcomes. She utilized system approaches, clinical standards, and care management tactics to improve coordination and transition of care while reducing post-acute length of stay in a network of non-owned SNFs. 

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