We do not know what we do not know: innovative approaches to value measurement

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Over the past several years, there has been an increasing focus on improving the ‘value’ of healthcare delivered, defined as the ratio of clinical outcomes to the costs incurred to achieve them. The former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell announced in 2015 that the majority of healthcare payments in the Medicare and Medicaid programmes will align with value by 2018. Although this has yet to fully mature, numerous health systems have restructured with a goal of improving the value of care delivered to their populations. Nevertheless, there remain important unanswered questions regarding how we measure value in the current U.S. healthcare system. The purpose of this review is to highlight innovations that are not only making it easier to measure value but also to improve care from the patient, provider and healthcare system perspectives.

Recent findings

Behavioural start-ups and the introduction of relatively inexpensive health coaches are starting to permeate the healthcare landscape. These coaches are the consumers’ advocate, acting as the quarterback of an extended care team in order to optimize health. Furthermore, time-driven activity-based costing has allowed us to understand costs on a more granular level, and novel tracking software may further automate these costing algorithms in order to better facilitate their dissemination.

Summary

We must all work to enable new models of care that improve value by incentivizing individuals, payers and providers to improve health, rather than treat the disease after it manifests. We must also continue to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery largely through improvements in value measurement.

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