2017 brings many opportunities for physician practices as they continue to make the shift from volume to value. In fact, the whole concept of value-based care will get a lot more real this year as organizations continue to comply with MACRA. Although some practices have engaged in similar efforts for a while, the MACRA legislation serves as a wake-up call for those that have been slower to embrace value-based initiatives.

While organizations can use current technology such as certified EHRs to support quality reporting, they will need more advanced tools to truly achieve the long-term objectives of value-based care. To provide the highest quality at the lowest cost, organizations need to capture and share information both within and outside of their networks.

For organizations to get from where they are now to where they want to be on the interoperability continuum, vendors and physician practices must work together to improve information exchange. Vendors have already started collaborating to look for solutions to some of the industry’s biggest challenges, like the myriad lexicons that make it difficult to easily share data, lack of data fluidity across diverse systems and inconsistent data capture points that make it hard for organizations to access critical information.

On the flip side, physician practices need to figure out their clinical and business goals under value-based arrangements and determine what data they need to achieve them. They can then perform a gap analysis, comparing current capabilities with actual requirements, to develop a roadmap for success. With a better grasp on their data needs, physicians can reach out to technology partners for support, improving the dialog around interoperability by brainstorming approach options, solutions available, and then testing opportunities. To facilitate reaching their strategic goals related to value-based care, many physician practices are migrating to or considering cloud-based technologies, as other industries have done. Due to its flexibility, the cloud can enable stronger and more real-time communications for all stakeholders, with a secure and efficient delivery platform.

It’s expected that in 2017 we’ll see an acceleration of the transformation that has been building in the industry. Though we will not solve all the challenges of interoperability in one year, healthcare stakeholders should view the new alliances, legislations and resources already in place as a step in the right direction. By making the commitment to improving information exchange, both vendors and physician practices can take one step closer to realizing value-based care.

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