Metrics used to evaluate treatment regimens include the number of times a patient visits the emergency department, the incidence of complications and side effects, and health outcomes.
Baird says his practice is beginning to see cost savings as a result of standardization. And he is seeing marks of improved quality. Patients are getting treated more quickly, there are fewer chances for errors, fewer complications, and imaging studies aren’t being repeated. “We’re managing patients more efficiently,” he says.
Gould says he, too, sees benefits of the bundled payment model. “The desire to push drugs to the bitter end become less of a motivating factor. [The bundled payment model] cuts down on the use of expensive drugs that are given in the last weeks or days of life that don’t generally have a major impact on a patient’s health.” And, he says, doctors may be more motivated to discuss hospice and other end-of-life issues with patients sooner than in the past.
As data about best practices begins to flow from the participating doctors, and the data is analyzed and shared among them, UHC expects to see patient outcomes improve.