Where GI stands in value-based care: 4 questions with Dr. Arnold Levy

Arnold Levy, MD, advisor, gMed, Inc., a Modernizing Medicine company, discusses how the transition to value-based care is affecting gastroenterology and how GI groups can maximize their resources to provide the best care possible.


Q: How is gastroenterology changing with the transition to value-based care?

Dr. Arnold Levy: Similar to other specialties, GI practices feel the shift to value-based care puts an emphasis on patient outcomes, and physicians work hard to deliver these results. GI practices now must adopt specific measurement parameters and have access to registries such as the GI Quality Improvement Consortium (GIQuIC) and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Registry, both of which gather national data for result comparisons. However, quality and value can be difficult to put parameters on since they constantly evolve under new regulations. That’s where the quality of reporting becomes crucial. The more data a physician can input, the more valuable it is for gastroenterologists to measure their own level of patient outcomes against national registries, thus qualifying for reimbursement.

Q: How can GI centers maximize efficiency and quality of care to achieve the best patient outcomes and maximize opportunities under value-based care?

AL: GI ambulatory surgery centers can utilize specialty specific EHR system to help maximize workflow efficiency and deliver improved quality of care. For example, gMed®, a Modernizing Medicine® company, creates products and services to help address new challenges the GI industry will face as we transition to value-based care. gInsights™ is their fully integrated analytics platform that digs deep into provider behaviors, outcomes and operations to help improve the clinical, financial and operational aspects of the business.

The transition to value-based care presents a unique opportunity for the GI space because most of the quality measures being used are evidence-based. To provide valuable care, gastroenterologists need to embrace new innovations in order for a practice to run more efficiently and drive patient engagement through their EHR system and other applications. The level of efficiency of care a physician delivers to a patient needs to be front and center and can only be achieved through a suite of health IT products and services that extend far beyond an EHR system and include all care settings.

Q: What are the best opportunities for GI centers to maximize workflows and take advantage of health IT?

AL: From patient check-in to discharge and reporting, gastroenterologists can identify and track key performance indicators that reveal ways to optimize their practice. The best opportunity for GI centers is to engage with a solution that provides all the necessary components of running a smooth operation under one umbrella. One should avoid technology barriers and the use of multiple systems per practice. Vendors such as gMed have developed and continue to refine solutions including patient check-in kiosks, reporting for inside the exam room, billing, revenue cycle management and reporting for MIPS.

One of the major and operationally relevant areas physicians often look past is the current switch to value-based care. While deeper insights are important to the success of the physician’s practice, as long as their reporting gets in on time, insights are often pushed aside. However, many physicians don’t realize that technological solutions exist to help them benchmark their progress and practice operations compared to their peers. gInsights goes beyond superficial data to generate interactive reports and enable patient population management and real-time peer benchmarking. Providers can even, for example, discover trends within their referring physician population, their staff and other providers.

Q: Where do you see GI headed in the future? How can GI centers today build a strong foundation for the future?

AL: There is a lot of discussion lately of private equity investors’ interest in physician practices, GI centers included. Private equity investors identify new waves of attractive specialties to implement their proven business investment and growth strategies. It’s no surprise given that GI is one of the most lucrative specialties in healthcare. As the healthcare industry continues to consolidate across the continuum, smaller practices interested in becoming part of a larger entity may get scooped up by investors. Private practices should be able to stay in business for the foreseeable future assuming they have the right strategies, leadership and technology to adapt to industry trends; practices that will make it out of this shift will be those that are ready to adapt to change. With that said, there are benefits to being large as well as being small. Large practices can benefit from local consolidation, while the smaller practices can benefit from a centralized administrative infrastructure that lowers costs.

The shift in the market landscapes also ties back to the adoption and use of next-generation technology. For decades, physicians have used either paper records or first generation EHR systems. Both are not necessarily the most sustainable solution for the future, especially with the move towards creating a more interoperable healthcare system. Physicians still utilizing paper-based programs are now being required to switch to an EHR system. For those using outdated platforms, if there isn’t a manageable way to understand every portion of the practice – patient care, billing, reporting, reimbursement – the practice may not survive. For practices not interested in M&A deals, adopting newer technology specific to their industry could serve as a useful tool to keeping their practice running.

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