Interdisciplinary Value-Based Care Q&A with Dr. Kevin J. Bozic: Part 3 of Our Special Series Featuring Strategies for Improving Orthopedic Patient Outcomes

Author: Kathryne Auerback


The way we deliver care across the episode is changing, driven by the pursuit of a patient-centric model – an undertaking that can only be achieved by breaking down the silos of a fragmented health system.

The upcoming ACPM Interdisciplinary Conference on Orthopaedic Value-based Care provides a game-changing opportunity for surgeons, anaesthesiologists, nurses, and healthcare administrators to join forces in uncovering cutting edge industry trends and insights.

In Part 3 of our special series, we spoke with conference speaker, Dr. Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, Chair of Surgery & Perioperative Care, Dell School of Medicine, about his best practices for value-based care.

Let’s start by talking about your background in orthopaedic surgery. How has the shift to value-based care influenced the work that you do?

I’m an orthopedic surgeon and I treat hip and knee arthritis. I would say that over the course of my career, we have gained a better understanding that, ultimately, the reason why patients come to see us is to reduce their pain and improve their quality of life and function. Despite that, we were rarely measuring those things consistently in any kind of objective or validated way. What’s changed the most is that we’ve now come to realize that if we are trying to improve function, reduce pain, and improve quality of life, we have to measure those things. At the same time, we also have to measure what it costs us to achieve those outcomes, and then continuously optimize and improve, and try to achieve better outcomes at a lower cost.

Why is it important for surgeons to have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other physicians, nurses, and healthcare administrators when it comes to improving the model of care? How is this collaboration important for clinical transformation?

I think we all realize that none of us practice in a vacuum. When I was growing up in my surgical training, I was led to believe that the surgeon’s prowess and skill was what had the most influence over a patient’s outcome. But now we realize it takes a team of people—which includes, most importantly, the patient at the center—that influences health outcomes. And so without the contributions, collaboration, communication, and coordination between all members of the care team—including the patient—it’s very difficult to move the ball forward and improve value.

Can you share a brief description of your conference topic on “Preparing Your Practice for Success in the New Era of Value-Based Healthcare”? Why is this topic important to you, personally?

When I was trained as an orthopedic surgeon 15 years ago, I was trained in the technical aspects of orthopedic surgery. I was trained to be an excellent technical surgeon, which is extremely important in terms of being able to improve people’s lives.

There’s a greater understanding now that there are many other factors involved in improving outcomes and reducing the cost of care – and they’re not things that most of us were taught in medical school. I think gaining an understanding of the basic principles of value-based health care, which are fairly intuitive—improving health outcomes in a way that reduces cost over the long run—is core to what most of us strive to accomplish in our practices.

But understanding how to measure those things—how to organize care in a way that will facilitate improved outcomes and/or reduce cost—and then really sharing examples from various providers who have achieved certain elements of success (and others that have been through challenges and failures that we all learn from) is an important way to learn.

Can you share examples of the ways you are working to improve outcomes and reduce cost in your own practice?

Here in Austin, we’ve developed something we call an “Integrated Practice Unit,” which includes health care professionals with different types of training – such as nurse practitioners, physical therapists, chiropractors, dieticians, social workers, and physicians. And we work together in a way that allows us to better understand and treat the needs of our patients.

We have an understanding that mental and emotional health influence physical health. Having the ability to collaborate with providers who have different training and skill sets gives us greater versatility in being able to address patients’ problems.

Similarly, really measuring their baseline pain, physical function, mental health, and quality of life, and then evaluating how the interventions and the different treatment options that we offer influence those outcomes, gives us an important tool to understand if what we’re doing is actually working and improving health.

Why is it so important from a patient experience perspective? Can you share any patient stories that demonstrate this?

Again, from a patient perspective, I want to know that my care provider is focused on the things that matter to me, which in our case is improving function and quality of life, and reducing pain. From a patient’s perspective, knowing that the team is focused on those outcomes that matter to me, and that they’re actually taking the time to measure them and understand what they can do to improve them and continuously learn from them, is important.

We had a patient this morning who came in and said, “This is the way that medicine should be practiced. I feel like I’m part of the team. The communication is excellent, the coordination of care was excellent, and I really felt my time was valued and I was listened to.”

What does the future of value-based care look like to you? What’s next?

I think having the payment system catch up so we’re actually rewarded for improving health, rather than simply providing more care, is an important next step. We need better measurement tools that are simpler and easier to implement, which allow us to measure the outcomes that matter to our patients in real time, and costs of care, and continuously iterate to improve. I think all of these things are important in developing a health care system that improves the lives of the patients we treat.

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The American College of Perioperative Medicine hosts the Interdisciplinary Conference on Orthopedic Value-Based Care, February 9-11, 2018, in Newport Beach, CA. An immersion weekend that covers the operational, financial and clinical aspects of orthopedics practice, the conference is an opportunity to learn more about the Perioperative Surgical Home – Enhanced Recovery model.

OrthoServiceLine.com is pleased to sponsor this event. Enter OSLTRANSCEND at registration to claim your 10% subscriber discount.


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