How to Deliver Value Based Surgical Care

How to Deliver Value Based Surgical Care

Migrating fee for service care to value based care is an ongoing promise and process. 

The United States stands at a crossroads as it struggles with how to pay for health care. The fee-for-service system, the dominant payment model in the U.S. and many other countries, is now widely recognized as perhaps the single biggest obstacle to improving health care delivery. Experts have described the pros and cons of whether capitation or value based care should replace fee for service.

Delivering value based surgical care takes using data to measure the 12 Cs: compliance, conversion, communication, care coordination and accurate cost analysis and pricing, continuous value and behavior improvement and continuity of care and information, consistency in operations, cash to generate profitable growth, caring about patient outcomes and experience above profits, converting data to information and a viable business model canvas.

Value based surgical care promises to deliver higher quality at the same cost or , preferably, higher quality at a lower cost. Delivering on that promise means that patient teams, surgical care teams and third party intermediaries all have to execute on the 10Cs:

1) Compliance with quality standards established by reputable and valid third parties.

2) Conversion of patients from potential patients to actual patients along the care pathway and continuum without referral leaks or dropped handoffs.

3) Communication between the surgical team, both internally and externally, referral sources and the patient team.

4) Care coordination, particularly with patients who have co-morbid conditions, complications or specific needs.

5) Cost accounting, coding, coverage and pricing that is fair, transparent and accurate. An increasingly important decision is who is responsible for paying for which services during a prescribed episode of care. In addition, more precise coding and documentation needs to be compliant with contract requirements.

6) Continuous value and behavioral improvement based on metrics, analytics and feedback to our care partners.

7) Continuity of care and information which means that surgeons and referral clinicians need to be sure there are adequate pre and post handoff arrangements, particularly for those patients who are traveling away from home for care.

8) Consistency in operations that is difficult given the required hand offs from one department to the next.

9) Cash to seed and grow a sustainable business model.

10) Caring about patient outcomes and experience above profitability when there are significant financial performance pressures that can place the ethics of medicine in conflict with the ethics or business.

11) Converting data to actionable information using analytics

12) A repeatable and scalable business model canvas

Two critical component of executing on these KPIs is surgeon network engagement and data driven decision making using analytics. In essence, sick care companies, more and more, are becoming data companies that happen to take care of patients. Building that environment requires four essential ingredients: Culture, Trust, Decision-Making, and Local Infrastructure. Until the right environment exists, even the most basic request for change will be shot down.

While many of these tasks are increasingly being solved with technology, like telemedicine, and data analytics techniques like artificial intelligence, they can only be completely solved by person to person interaction that is patient centric.

Consequently, value based care requires care coordination and communication, risk stratification, patient centricity and managing risk. For those used to practicing fee for service, they will need to learn new skills and create new systems to deliver value.

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  • Lucius Dachovic

    A value based approached rather than a technology alone approach has the potential to transform our broken health care system.

  • Sam Tailor

    Fixing the healthcare crisis worldwide will require a lot of time

  • Neil Bethell

    very good post !

  • Jeff Harrison

    Value based care is still a new concept for most healthcare providers and many are still trying to implement the appropriate systems into their workflow.

  • Kevin Smith

    Such efforts may include more standardised hospital discharge practices

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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