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Using analytics to achieve value-based care in rural areas [Special Report]

By Brian Eastwood

Once the problem has been identified, it's time to discuss how to fix it. Motivating physicians to change the way they deliver care can be difficult, especially when government mandates pertaining to ICD-10, quality reporting and Meaningful Use already slow them down.

You cannot make the case without data, said Lynn Barr, chief transformation officer with the National Rural Accountable Care Organization (NRACO).

Many healthcare CEOs tell Barr that they try to get physicians to send patients to certain outside facilities--whether it's because of their quality scores or payer affiliations--to no avail. Physicians need to see the data to understand the scope of the problem, Barr said.

For example, showing physicians evidence that their hospital sends patients to 75 separate facilities--many of them with no link to the hospital--helps them understand that they will not get a complete picture of the care a patient has received, Barr said.

In addition, she said, reports showing that one referring facility conducts interventional cardiology procedures, which involve the use of catheters, five times as often as the industry standard can also help physicians make more informed decisions about where to refer patients.

This type of data-sharing and analytics can help care teams effectively adjust treatment by allowing physicians and clinicians to "intercede rather than merely advise," FierceHealthIT previously reported.

It's a large hill to climb, though. Barr pointed to the patient-centered medical home. In theory, nothing happens to a patient without a primary care physician knowing about it. In practice, that's rarely the case. "I don't know how people do it without data," she said.

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