Data & Technology

Connected Health Conference: Hardware and Software Solutions for Healthcare

The 2017 Connected Health Conference, held in Boston, MA in October, brought together healthcare leaders to discuss innovations and technologies that are transforming the industry. Some of our own Archway team members attended the conference, which centered around understanding and interacting with digital healthcare and how it relates to patient engagement, data exchange, clinical care, and new research and evidence.

Technology Meets Usability in Hardware

The first step in identifying and managing episodes of care is finding ways to efficiently connect all of a patient’s care team to ensure that all involved providers have access to relevant health records. This type of electronic sharing of health records will improve care coordination and reduce treatment errors. While strides are being made to improve interoperability, healthcare is still lagging when compared to the big technology companies entering the industry, such as Amazon and Google.

As seen at the Connected Health Conference, many technology vendors are trying to solve healthcare providers’ need to efficiently manage patient care. At Archway, we believe there is value in placing the patient in charge of their health data. Patient engagement is key – those who actively participate in their care have better clinical outcomes.

A portable device like an encrypted USB that contains basic health history can be a great tool for patients to bring to their lab appointments, specialists visits, rehab facilities, etc. “Wearable” technology pieces like a glucose-monitoring watch and headphones that monitor pain and discomfort are all able to track health patterns and retain that data for providers to access and use.

With these patient-initiated systems in place, providers are able to view a summary of a patient’s health at each episode of care, creating a consistent stream of valuable health information collected from all parties.

Technology Meets Feasibility in Software  

Using care management software as a means of managing specific patient conditions is also trending in the industry. This brings greater value to providers and an easier way to manage patient care delivery. At Archway, our real-time patient tracking system, Carelink, is a unique tool that can be used to monitor episodes of care. With Carelink, providers can deliver better care to their patients, and see improved collaboration within the care management team.

Carelink allows providers to see how patients are tracking on their care plan and schedule, how they are feeling, and the financial status of the episode of care. And it provides real-time answers. Carelink takes inputs from both patients and providers to facilitate timely communication between both parties throughout the episode.  

Better care can only be achieved by stronger management of patient episodes of care. Episodes of care connect all aspects of healthcare technology – from coding and claims to data and diagnosis. Defining an episode of care in a value-based payment world can identify the care that is given and the future health of the individual.

Throughout time, healthcare and technology will only continue to grow more connected. The Connected Health Conference not only confirmed, but celebrated, the great health-tech resources that are aiming to make healthcare safer, stronger and better. Whether it’s hardware or software, patients and providers alike should be ready to incorporate these helpful tools into their habits.

Archway Health Launches User Experience Enhancements to Carelink

We are proud to introduce design enhancements of our proprietary patient tracking tool, Archway Carelink, a software platform part of our bundled payment management suite. The updates and enhancements reflect specific client feedback and address elements specifically requested. We are committed to continuously improving our platform to make sure that our clients have the best tools and resources to succeed in bundled payments. The design updates were made in collaboration with a leading user experience firm, UXL.

With this redesign, we developed an interactive, comprehensive dashboard for patient monitoring. It includes a streamlined episode list and an episode record, which tracks patients throughout the care journey.

New Dashboard

The new Carelink platform includes changes to the tactical dashboard  made based on users’ feedback; the original text-only dashboard was updated for usability to better engage program managers and nurses monitoring patients at facilities, and make it easier for them to use the platform and glean insights.

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Episode List

In this update, we also streamlined the episode list, a key part of our tracking tool. Now, it extracts the most relevant data and organizes it in a clear and digestible hierarchy of information. This allows the users to more easily search, filter and parse patient data, and ultimately, more efficiently monitor patient information.

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Patient Updates via Text  

We added new features to our messaging capabilities via text in this update to help maintain patient communication. Now, Carelink will ask patients to numerically rank how they are feeling. In the event that the patient is not feeling well, Carelink will automatically respond with information to contact their care coordinator. With this update, care coordinators can keep a better eye on patients at home and help avoid any adverse outcomes. 

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Visual Redesign

All of our redesign efforts were made with the user in mind. Our goal is always to make our platform easier and more desirable to use. Based on user interviews and feedback, we developed a final product that simplifies usability, improves efficacy, and has a strong visual direction for this application and all on-going advancements.

At Archway, our patient tracking tools are a key component that contributes to our service of ensuring success for providers in bundled payments. We believe these tactical and user-friendly updates to our platform will improve the experience of both the provider, and the patients their care for. And, as always, please let us know any feedback on the platform.  

Specialist Engagement is the Key to Bundled Payment Success

In the last 6 years or so, bundled payment activity has picked up tremendously with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) both mandating and offering several programs aimed to help providers achieve efficiencies in care. We're encouraged that in a recent article, Modern Healthcare picked up on the success that providers are experiencing within the CMS’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement, or CJR, and Bundled Payments for Care Improvement, or BPCI, programs. While the success highlighted in the article focused on orthopedics and procedural care, both Medicare data and our experience demonstrate that this success has also included significant improvements in quality and cost in chronic conditions like CHF and COPD, even in cancer care with Medicare's Oncology Care Model, or OCM, program.

The key to success has not been what is bundled, but rather who is bundling. A deep look into the data reveals that programs in which specialists are deeply involved have had the most success in both improving care, cutting costs and achieve efficiencies.

Having worked with BPCI, CJR, and OCM participants since the inception of these programs, we have learned that there are four keys to unlocking this level of success with bundled payments programs. And, these work within almost any high-cost, complex acute or chronic condition:

  1. Put the specialists in charge of the process.

Medicare data of BPCI bundles reveal that specialists are well-positioned for leadership and of bundled payment initiatives. In programs with strong specialist leadership and alignment, we have seen costs reduced by more than 14%, where as hospital-driven bundles without specialist engagement saw savings of just 4%.  In addition to lowering costs, specialist led programs achieved greater decreases in length of stay and declines in skilled nursing facility utilization.

  1. Engage high-volume specialists in critical clinical areas, like orthopedics, cardiology, pulmonology, and oncology.

Orthopedic specialists have gotten a lot of attention in bundled payments with the CJR program. But, with potential cuts to the CJR program, the success of voluntary models can fill the void in a more participatory, rather than mandated way. Additionally, other high-volume specialists should be a major focus, and not avoided.  Complex patients who have historically used lots of resources are also generally have significant variability in costs and outcomes, these patient populations present the best opportunities for improving the process and achieving better results.

  1. Give the specialists the full data sets.

A major factor in any bundled payment success is data. Specialists have to be able to see not only their own, but also data from the full continuum and their peers, to gain a full understanding of where the costs go and what happens to the patients over the course of a complete episode of care. This helps specialists identify the path to improvement for the patients they care for.

  1. Encourage specialists to innovate around the best way to care for their patients across the full continuum of care.

Once specialists are participating in bundled payment contracts and examining the data, in our experience, they begin to innovate all kinds of new and improved ways to care for their patients.

When all four of these elements are at play, we see tremendous improvements in the process, outcomes, the patient experience, and costs start to come down dramatically.

While some were disappointed that the CMS recently scaled back the mandatory programs, the agency has also repeatedly indicated that it will be implementing the next generation of the voluntary BPCI program soon.

Given this continuation and the physician-focused language in the latest RFI concerning CMMI’s “new direction,” we expect the new program to provide even more of an opportunity for specialists—even high-performing ones—to participate in and benefit from value-based payment reform. With the success of the original BPCI programs, CJR and OCM, we expect to see significant demand among specialty physicians and their hospital partners  in the upcoming program.

Archway Examines the Impact of Bundled Payments Ahead of Expected New CMS Programs

WATERTOWN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to a survey conducted by Archway Health – a Boston-based firm specializing in managing bundled payments programs – participation in bundled payments has improved the quality of care, and anticipation and preparation for new programs remains high. The survey assessed the perceptions and efficacy of bundled payments ahead of the expected announcement of a new bundled payments program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The survey results are based on responses from 70 participants across the U.S. The participants, which included executives, administrators and clinicians, represented the continuum of healthcare from hospitals, specialty care, post-acute facilities and home health care.

Key findings from Archway’s survey indicate the impact of bundled payments:

  • 75% of respondents say involvement in these programs has improved quality of care, whether it lowered costs or not.

  • 63% of respondents say bundled payments has both improved quality and lowered cost.

  • The most prominent reason for not participating in bundled payments was the potential administrative burden. No respondents cited a limited return on investment as a reason for not participating.

“It was great to get such a strong and positive response that confirms what we’re seeing with our provider partners – bundled payments work,” said Dave Terry, founder and CEO of Archway Health. “Bundled payments will continue to play a major role in healthcare as we move from volume to value, especially as we move toward models that encourage efficiency and improvements in care quality. Archway is dedicated to helping specialists succeed in all of these programs as they continue to grow.”

Other findings from the survey indicate healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards bundled payments:

  • As CMS is expected to release a second generation of Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI), 75% of respondents are “definitely” or “probably” planning to participate.

  • When it comes to bundled payments, 25% of healthcare professionals say they are “100% ready” to implement them, while 56% are “getting prepared” or “just started the process” with more to do.

“It’s great to see that healthcare professionals want to participate in bundled payments and are actively preparing to do so,” said Keely Macmillan, general manager of BPCI for Archway Health. “Bundled payments offer clinicians and healthcare professionals the opportunity to take control of the entire care process and ensure patients achieve the best outcomes in a cost-efficient manner.”

Since its inception in 2014, Archway Health has been active and solely focused on bundled payments. Specialists and providers partner with Archway to receive guidance on how to navigate every step of bundled payments participation.

To learn more about bundled payments, the survey, the anticipated new CMS program and how it impacts providers, please contact info@archwayha.com.

About Archway Health

Archway Health, founded in 2014 and built on a deep foundation of healthcare payment reform expertise, works with providers to design and execute care and risk management initiatives that drive success in bundled payment programs. Archway is currently working with leading healthcare providers participating in the CMS BPCI and OCM programs, as well as with commercial payers operating bundled payment initiatives. To support these programs, Archway works with providers to analyze their opportunities and risks and to deploy its comprehensive platform of analytics, patient tracking tools, and advisory services to ensure their success in bundled payments. For more information, please visit www.archwayhealth.com.

Contacts

For Archway Health Olivia Armstrong, 781-924-6714 oarmstrong@hencove.com

Announcing a Brand New Redesign for Carelink

We are proud to announce that Carelink has gotten a brand new redesign. Our web development team has been working hard to improve Carelink's user interface to make it even easier for bundled payment episode initiators and other providers to track their patients throughout an episode of care. Here are some highlights of the new design:

  • Episode List The Episode List is the master list of all the patients you are tracking. Use the filters at the top of the page to focus on all admitted patients, patients that need to be admitted, patients that need to be discharged, or patients that need a status update. You can see the bundle, care plan, last status update, and any red flags for each patient on this page.

  • Dashboard The Dashboard is where you can see your bundled payment program overview at a glance. New visualizations present the information in an eye-catching way and patient details help you immediately identify which patients need urgent attention.

  • Patient Details The Patient Details page has been reorganized to help you focus quickly on key information. The care plan is now represented by a timeline chart and the latest status updates will appear at the top of the patient's episode history.

  • Reports Use reports to monitor preferred provider performance, track SNF LOS trends, access a financial summary, and more.

If you are a Carelink user, log in to www.archwaycarelink.com and click "Try new design" in the header to see for yourself! We would love to hear what you think of it. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions.

Contact us for a demo here.