HHS launches $840 million IT-focused plan to improve patient care


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Patient-focused health care is about quality not quantity. So the Department of Health and Human Services is offering $840 million over the next four years to clinicians who focus more on quality care than volume using various tools and strategies, including some rooted in IT, to ensure more positive patient outcomes.

The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative will spread the nearly billion-dollar sum to 150,000 medical entities — varying from group practices and health care systems to medical associations — who show evidence of promoting quality care, following in the footsteps of the Affordable Care Act. To do this, HHS recommends several example strategies, many of which are IT-focused, like expanding the channels of communication between a patient and doctor and using electronic health records on a daily basis to further examine the care given to patients.

stethoscope and labtop and other medical objectCentral to this initiative, said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in a statement, is finding the best way to spread information.

“The administration is partnering with clinicians to find better ways to deliver care, pay providers and distribute information to improve the quality of care we receive and spend our nation’s dollars more wisely,” Burwell said. “We all have a stake in achieving these goals and delivering for patients, providers and taxpayers alike.”

Those participants able to successfully demonstrate things like improved care, reduction of wasteful testing and saving costs will have the opportunity collaborate and share their information with other clinicians. And, according to a release, “[t]hrough a multi-pronged approach to technical assistance, it will identify existing health care delivery models that work and rapidly spread these models to other health care providers and clinicians.”

“This model will support and build partnerships with doctors and other clinicians across the country to provide better care to their patients. Clinicians want to spend time with their patients, coordinate care, and improve patient outcomes, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wants to be a collaborative partner helping clinicians achieve those goals and spread best practices across the nation,” said Patrick Conway, deputy administrator for innovation and quality and chief medical officer with HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Practices participating in the initiative will receive any technical support needed in developing patient-focused health care. This, HHS said, will leave the practitioners prepared for the health case system of the future.

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Health data, Health IT, Sylvia Burwell, Tech