Saturday, May 12, 2007

Will Technology lower hospital cost?

Can Technology lower healthcare cost? In my opinion with the drive for corporate profits, any cost reducing efficiencies will be funneled to the company and not trickle down to the customer. There is no significant benefit in pursuing technological changes that have little impact on the paramount concerns of the customer. Competition must be increased to guarantee that these companies will address the prime concern of their customers; the cost & accessibility of healthcare. Concerns not target solely for employees, or children or seniors but for all citizens. Therefore, private healthcare facilities and insurance companies must be challenged to not only pursue profit but also to be aware of a responsibility to the public. I personally believe that all healthcare organizations in the United States should be integrated into a not for profit system.

"Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium Announces Significant Progress in Health Information Technology Systems Adoption
Source: ENP Newswire 05/08/2007
Release Date - 02052007


SAN JOSE, CA -- (ENP Newswire) -- 05/02/07 -- The Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium, a collaborative effort started by Cisco® (NASDAQ: CSCO), Intel Corporation and Oracle along with several large California physician organizations (POs) to accelerate the use of technology for quality health care, today announced its first year end results. These results demonstrate impressive strides in the adoption and use of patient-centric systems and processes.
Through this consortium, seven POs representing 25 practice sites and more than 1,800 physicians accepted the invitation to join and continue to participate. As a part of consortium participation, these seven POs applied for and received National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Physician Practice Connections (PPC) recognition, a nationally recognized set of quality of care standards.
After receiving NCQA PPC recognition, consortium members qualified to earn financial rewards for instituting new health information technology systems designed to improve the patient experience and outcomes. Utilizing nationally recognized quality of care standards helped ensure all seven POs were in alignment, and also helped them qualify for other Pay-for-Performance programs.
After one year, all seven organizations met NCQA's rigorous PPC standards, and reported making the following patient-centric improvements:

"We are more than pleased to see the advancements these physician organizations have made to implement and enhance health information technology systems in order to improve the quality and safety of care," said Dr. Jeffrey Rideout, Cisco's vice president of healthcare, Internet Business Solutions Group and Cisco's Chief Medical Officer. "These impressive results in just over a year underscore the transformational impact of implementing patient-centric health information technology systems and are really a tribute those participating medical groups and IPAs who took on this program voluntarily. They truly are to be commended for turning a general goal of accelerated IT adoption to practical action."

The seven Bay Area based POs participating in the Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium include Camino Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, San Jose Medical Group, Santa Clara County Individual Practice Association (SCCIPA), and Santa Cruz Medical Foundation.

About the Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium
In this last year, the Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium has received important distinctions for itself and the recognized physicians. First, it was made part of the national Bridges to Excellence (BTE) program which recognizes and rewards health care providers that demonstrate the delivery of high quality patient-centered care. It is also worth noting that the 1800 physicians involved in the consortium doubled the current number of physicians recognized by NCQA and Bridges to Excellence in PPC nationally. Second, the successful certification also allowed the POs, with a single NCQA application, to meet the IT standards of the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA)'s Pay-for-Performance program. This qualified them for further rewards from California health plans. IHA is one of the nation's largest and most well recognized pay for performance initiatives.

A total of $584,000 in financial rewards is being paid in the first year to the seven POs. These POs were the first set of medical groups approached by Cisco, Intel and Oracle because they provided health care to a significant number of the Bay Area based employee populations of these three companies. The objective was to not only highlight the benefits of HIT adoption, but also to move these physician organizations closer to their goal of delivering care that meets the expectations of these generally healthy and technology savvy employee groups.

Going forward, the Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium will continue to support NCQA PPC improvement and rewards payout and is considering recruitment of additional employers and provider groups. It also is considering building the capability to communicate health data between payors and providers and will continue to report and track program impact.
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Below are some additional employer and physician organization perspectives on involvement in the Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium:
NCQA:

"Managing a patient's health is far better than merely treating a patient's symptoms; the difference between the two types of care is access to the right information at the right time. Rewarding physician practices that have invested in the resources to provide 21st-century care is good common sense. The financial and health benefits are there on the surface." -- Margareet E. O'Kane, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance
Physician Organizations:

Camino Medical Group:
"These companies are the data experts and we generate the medical data. Now we are collaborating to use this to benefit patients and advance community health care. By improving efficiency through information technology, we also hope to trim the ever-growing costs of health care." -- Criss Morikawa, M.D., medical director of Information Technology at Camino Medical Group
Stanford Hospital & Clinics:

"Stanford Hospital & Clinics is most proud of the quality of care we deliver to our patients. To that end, the Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium has been an exciting platform in which to positively impact patient care through the use of Information Technology, and collaborating with some of the most important employers in Silicon Valley. We are extremely gratified to have participated and achieved independent certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and help to promote the appropriate use of information technology to improve quality patient care." -- Kevin Tabb, Chief Quality & Medical Information Officer
SCCIPA:

"We are proud of our physicians who participated and achieved NCQA recognition through the Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium. Our organization is made up of individual physician practices -- all small business owners -- and there is an assumption that IT is easily adopted and that everyone has a computer at their desk. This effort provided an opportunity for our physicians to re-evaluate their practice needs relative to IT systems, education and training and put new tools in place. This resulted in more efficient workflows and patient/physician communications. Basically it helps extend the already excellent care they are providing and maintain healthy patients and healthy practices." -- Lori Vatcher, Executive Director of Managed Care, PPMSI and Santa Clara County IPA (SCCIPA)

Technology Companies:
Intel:
" Intel and other large employers are seeing healthcare costs rise faster than inflation and other costs in our business. The inefficiency of the US healthcare system has become a competitiveness issue for many companies and the country as a whole. Intel is joining with other large employers to play a role in driving systemic change in the way healthcare is delivered." -- Corrie Zenzola, Global Benefits Thought Leader, Intel Corporation

Oracle:
"The Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium has demonstrated, in just one year, the power of information technology to transform the delivery of healthcare starting at the local level. Consortium members understand that IT can be a powerful tool in efforts to improve quality through more complete and accurate data, thereby preventing errors that can be dangerous and costly." -- Mychelle Mowry, vice president, Global Marketing and Strategy, Oracle "

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