Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bundled Payments May Improve Accountability and Lead to More Efficient EHR Use

Electronic health records are supposed to help cut medical costs, but EHRs still have a way to go to achieve the cost-cutting goal. Healthcare – Medicare in particular -- is moving from volume to value. This means that healthcare payers are going to be more inclined to assess what they get for their money. The payers are going to look at value. One approach to increasing value is the use of a bundled payment system. The bundle payment system could also improve EHR utilization.

Bundled payments may be defined as “A single comprehensive payment made to healthcare providers—hospitals and physicians—for a group of related services, based on the expected costs for a clinically defined episode of care.”

So, the use of bundled payments can improve accountability by outlining the required services and letting the payer know what the specific cost per care, or the cost for the bundled services will be. The use of bundled payments can also simplify the payment process. A single payment method could increase the effectiveness of electronic health records.

At the present, many believe that EHRs are not reducing the cost of medical care. EHRs are not reducing medical costs, some feel, because of the inefficiencies of data input, the difficulties of interoperability, and other problems. Concerning data input, the movement from volume to value that includes the use of bundled payments may make EHR data input easier.

Indeed, one study suggested that a bundled payment system, “where there is one negotiated price for a specific condition covering everything from the patient’s co-pay to any medication needed during the procedure,” might make EHR data input less complicated.

At any rate, the movement from volume to value may be beneficial to the patient, the payer and the healthcare provider, especially as that movement includes bundled payment systems. Data entry costs may also decrease, and payers may have a better idea of what they are getting for their money.

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