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Quality Digest

Health Care

IBM—Redefining Value, Engaging Consumers

Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 - 06:41

(IBM: Armonk, New York) -- IBM’s vision statement, "Healthcare 2015 and Care Delivery: Delivery models refined, competencies" defined calls for collaboration among providers to achieve new milestones in defining, measuring and delivering value across national and global health care systems.

The study calls on U.S. and international health systems to collaborate in defining, measuring, and delivering health care value, activating citizen-consumers who will become increasingly responsible for their own health care, and promoting improved health promotion and care delivery in the face of growing challenges.

Placing a spotlight directly on the driving forces that are challenging existing health care delivery systems—including globalization, consumerism, changing demographics, and lifestyles, diseases that are more expensive to treat, the proliferation of medical technologies and treatments, financial constraints, resource shortages, increasingly unrealistic societal expectations and norms, and an absence of information systems, among others—IBM stated that the only cure for health systems around the world is a fundamental transformation of health care.

“Historically, care-delivery organizations (CDOs) could declare broad and abstract targets or even attempt to be all things to all citizens and still compete effectively,” says Jim Adams, executive director of IBM Center for Healthcare Management. “But in the future, we believe it will be harder to maintain an undifferentiated service-delivery model, whether it be a public or private healthcare system model.”

In the near term, the study claims such critical transformation will be frustrated by a series of adjustments that will fall far short of the ultimate goal of piecemeal, incremental approaches to health care change, sometimes with poor results and unintended consequences.

Instead, the increasing focus on value, the rising need to activate responsible citizens, and the changing requirements of health promotion and care delivery will force many CDOs to adopt and develop service delivery models with new and sharper strategic focus. Regardless of their chosen service delivery models, IBM predicts that CDOs will also require a core set of enhanced and expanded competencies.

However, as demands on care providers shift, IBM predicts that the models for promoting health and delivering care will follow suit. CDOs and clinicians will need to develop or improve a set of underlying competencies to successfully implement the service delivery models. The new study recommends five such strategic competencies: Empowering and activating consumer-citizens, collaborating and integrating, innovating, optimizing operational efficiencies, and enabling these through information technology.

The study closes by offering a course of action for CDOs:
•   Fully recognize the need for and help to shape a more patient-centric, value-based, accountable, affordable, and sustainable health care system.

•   Identify the service delivery models and competencies needed to prosper in the new order.

•   Assess their readiness in the competencies needed to implement the new or redefined service-delivery models.

•   Develop and execute plans to transition to the new delivery models and develop new competencies required to support them.

“Status quo is not an option or healthcare systems in the U.S. and many other countries,” says Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM Global Healthcare and Life Sciences. “Ultimately, the transformation of healthcare systems will require commitment and follow-through on coordinated, collaborative efforts among key stakeholders, particularly CDOs and clinicians at the epicenter of efforts to create more value-focused health care.”

IBM's new study is an extension of Healthcare 2015: Win-Win or Lose-Lose, which was the company's original work detailing the broad case for health care system transformation. It was published in October 2006. Another study, “Healthcare 2015 and U.S. Health Plans: New roles, new competencies,” published last September, presented a forward-looking view of required transformation in the health benefits segment.

For more information, visit www-03.ibm.com/industries/healthcare/doc/content/news/pressrelease/3908849105.html.

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