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What’s big in 2019? Value-based care, the patient experience and the digital workspace

Kathy Holoman, CAHIMS-Certified Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Citrix

Value-based care, the practice of compensating healthcare providers based on positive patient outcomes rather than on procedures executed, is rapidly becoming industry standard. To support it, healthcare organizations need to equip their staff with a new set of tools that enables them to streamline workflows and focus on patients. The best solution? A digital workspace, in which clinicians and healthcare providers can quickly and easily access the information and systems they need to do their jobs anywhere, anytime from any device.

A healthcare IT (HIT) environment with a digital workspace at its foundation enables users to work in the ways that best suit them and puts the patient back in the center of healthcare. However, not all HIT environments are created equal. While a digital workspace is a great enabler for value-based care, a solid deployment strategy is crucial to ensuring success in the long run.

The Digital Workspace: A Healthcare Industry Game-Changer

In healthcare, “value” revolves around spending as much time as possible engaged in delivering a high standard of patient care. There’s a catch, though.

Studies show that while the workforce in any organization represents 60 percent of the overall operating expense, only 30 percent of the American workforce — across all industries — is really engaged and productive most of the time. The lack of engagement spans globally, with a study in Europe actually zeroed in on healthcare, revealing that 33 percent of those in the sector don’t feel fully engaged.

The translation?

Not everyone is delivering a high degree of value in the provision of care. In the digital age, one of the most common barriers is technology complexity — more apps, more logins, more notifications, and more information scattered across numerous locations takes away from time spent with a patient. For many healthcare workers, technology is overwhelming.

Digital workspace technology can cut through the clutter and simplify processes. With a digital workspace, healthcare workers enjoy familiar and consistent user experiences regardless of device, network, or location. They also get intelligent search capabilities and task automation.

For IT leaders, the right digital workspace takes the unwieldiness out of managing an ever-increasing list of SaaS, web and mobile apps running on any number of clouds. What’s more, tap-in, tap-out authentication ensures secure and fast access, reduces logon times, and improves clinical workflows.

A digital workspace can be a game-changer for an organization looking to efficiently transition to value-based care but requires the proper implementation.

The Tie Between Value-Based Care and HIT

Healthcare IT plays an important role in the transition to a value-based care model. Mandated as part of MACRA, value-based care rewards healthcare providers based on the quality of care they deliver rather than on the number of procedures they perform, putting the focus back on the patient experience. A sound HIT strategy is an enabler for the three MACRA quality measures:

  • Unburdening Clinicians: One way to minimize clinician burden is to simplify technology processes. Clinicians need secure technology that facilitates mobility, allowing them to roam healthcare facilities and work from numerous locations in their healthcare systems ̶ hospitals, remote clinics, mass transit, social arenas, their homes, etc. A robust HIT strategy should feature security controls that never hinder mobile users’ productivity; at the same time, it ensures that all users get a consistent and familiar experience, regardless of the device, network, or location.

  • Improving Patient Outcomes: Technology plays an equally crucial role in improving patient outcomes. HIT that streamlines workflows, automates processes, and enables efficient patient interaction can free up minutes each day. That may not seem like much but adding even as little as two or three minutes to the amount of time that a physician can dedicate to bedside care or developing a care plan can make a huge difference in individual outcomes.

  • Driving Higher Quality Care: Workspace technology makes information access and sharing faster and more secure for users. At the same time, it affords IT the ability to see the entire environment from a single pane of glass, to provision updates automatically, and to ensure that the entire environment is continuously functioning in an optimal way 24/7/365. Combine a digital workspace with the right networking technology and you ensure that the IT environment is secure and always ready for business challenges.

The digital workspace delivers everything clinicians and healthcare providers needs to be productive- regardless of location, device or app- to exceed the quality measures of value-based care. There are steps that an organization can take to ensure they have a savvy HIT strategy that supports the model, improves clinician productivity and enhances the employee experience.

Design Step 1: Frame the strategy with industry best practices

Managing clinician mobility is more complex than just simply controlling devices. It involves managing healthcare apps and data, navigating policies and contextual access and collaboratively designing strategies with input from a variety of stakeholders across the organization — IT, Security, Legal, HR, Informatics, Clinical Specialties, and many more.

If the goal is to provide familiar and consistent user experiences to physicians and clinicians regardless of device, network, or location, then the strategy must incorporate this without having an adverse impact on the organization’s security posture.

IT strategists must consider industry best practices when framing their strategy, including:

  • The devices that should be “approved”;

  • Which employees are eligible for remote work;

  • In the context of job function, what access each physician, clinician, or healthcare staffer needs to specific apps and data;

  • How to support mobile employees; and

  • What legal terms of use apply to mobile work.

Design step 2: Clearly define the technology strategy

Organizations should carefully consider how the IT environment will be structured and why. Will it be housed on-premise, configured as a multi-cloud infrastructure, or take a hybrid form? Healthcare organizations should also seek out and partner suppliers that have similar priorities in enabling clinician mobility and have experience dealing with healthcare entities in various stages of the cloud journey. Even better, find suppliers who have a large ecosystem of healthcare-savvy partners themselves.

Design step 3: Select technologies that provide 24/7/365 app and data availability

In healthcare, 24/7/365 availability is a necessity. Centralized management and delivery of clinical applications — EHRs, medical imaging apps, clinical tools, and legacy apps can be addressed through virtualization and/or cloud computing. The beauty of this is that both ensure strong security because nothing is stored on endpoints.

Apps and personal health information remain secure in the data center, where they are accessed through granular, policy-based user authentication. Add real-time network and performance optimization and users get a high-fidelity experience. Finally, solutions that are quick to deploy, easy-to-use, and scale rapidly contribute significantly to ensuring that clinicians and physicians have technology that works for them 24/7/365.

The successful transition to a valued-based care model for any healthcare system is a long journey and tremendous undertaking, but implementing the right technology that supports clinicians and enhances the patient experience is a critical step.