The Changing Landscape of Health Care in Washington

Washington's physicians and their practices are facing a dramatic shift in how they will be providing care to their patients. Over the next five years, our state's Healthier Washington initiative will drive a transformation of how care is delivered with an increased focus on value, challenging physician practices to provide care that is both high-quality and cost-effective. We'll move away from traditional fee-for-service payment models to new models that link that value equation with increased accountability for physicians and their practices. We'll also see new strategies to better integrate behavioral healthcare with traditional primary care delivery. Even medical schools are now incorporating education on value-based care into their curricula. This emerging field of health systems science includes patient safety, quality care, teamwork, leadership, and healthcare informatics. That's why it's essential that physicians and all clinicians as well as practice administrative staff understand the demands these new strategies will place on them and their practices. The Medical Association's strategic plan specifically identifies that the WSMA will be a leader in promoting high-quality, value-based care in this changing healthcare landscape.

In transforming your practice to adapt to these new models, the Washington State Medical Association is working closely with the Healthier Washington Practice Transformation Support Hub to make available the educational materials, training and coaching assistants needed to make this successful. The resource portal is your way to get these resources.

New payment models for value-based care will be heavily dependent on healthcare informatics using predetermined metrics to track, analyze, and over time, improve care delivery. Physicians in practices will need to identify the metrics that are most relevant to their patient populations. The use of metrics to monitor quality and performance will also aid in shifting away from process, the activities conducted in caring for patients, to a focus on outcomes, assessing whether the healthcare services provided are resulting in measurable improvements in patients' health status.

Ultimately, these transformations will lead to greater professional satisfaction for physicians and other clinicians. A recent study showed that physicians' professional dissatisfaction has risen dramatically over the last three years with more than half of physicians in the United States now experiencing some form of professional burnout.

The WSMA supports the quadruple aim. This model builds on the triple aim developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The triple aim seeks to optimize health system performance by improving overall quality of care as well as the health status of patient populations while concurrently lowering costs. In contrast, the quadruple aim adds a fourth component that addresses the quality of the personal and professional lives of clinicians. The Washington State Medical Association welcomes the opportunity to actively participate in guiding the efforts of physicians and practice administrative staff in transforming care delivery in our state. Thank you.