Putting value in service lines

Vision and value. Those two words may define what makes a cardiovascular service line successful in today’s changing healthcare environment.

Next week MedAxiom will host its annual Cardiovascular Service Line Symposium. The program has stayed true to its focus on strategies that have been tested in the cauldron of real-world practice. Presenters share lessons learned from mistakes as well as successes, and attendees likely find both useful as they look for ways to improve their own service lines.

Suzette Jaskie, president and CEO of MedAxiom Consulting, talked in a recent interview about how cardiovascular service lines have evolved. Not long ago, they needed to concentrate on building infrastructure and bridges between physicians and hospitals. Some are still in that phase of development.

Others have moved on, but not without difficulties. Integrating IT, for instance, was sometimes a struggle if it involved incompatible—or let’s be honest, flat-out bad— technology. Growing pains for all, but Jaskie said successful service lines learned how to make IT an asset.

“We are seeing programs get to a level of analytics to understand clinical quality outcomes and cost at very discrete levels, where they can compare it over time and to multiple physicians or between hospitals,” she said. “Those tools were nonexistent a number of years ago.”  

Cardiovascular service lines have become more sophisticated, and many are realizing the benefits of partnering with other groups such as emergency departments or oncology programs to provide coordinated and seamless care. If done right, that can lead to cost savings and a better patient experience.

Ultimately, cardiovascular service line leaders want to drive change and not be buffeted by it. Those with vision are drivers, moving their programs forward toward a value model that better serves patients, Jaskie proposed. Their vision of the future will help navigate the still unanswered questions about payment, ownership and more.

“There is a lot of buy-in around the notion of change,” she said. “There is not ambiguity around this value concept, meaning to provide both definable quality and outcomes to patients at a cost that is understandable, reasonable and justified. … If programs are focusing on that—whatever the payment model or new regulation, whatever [is] the outcome on the business side of this—they will be able to be successful.”

The symposium takes place June 10-12 in Atlanta. Stay tuned as we provide coverage from the site.

Candace Stuart

Editor, Cardiovascular Business