If HIMSS is the marathon of healthcare IT conferences, AMGA is the cool down. While we may not be sprinting around the tradeshow floor or overwhelmed from all of the booth tricks and events, this is where the knowledge truly sets in and where we really start to see the results – both from healthcare organizations and calories lost from walking five miles a day in Las Vegas.

Every year we attend AMGA to get a fresh perspective on the evolving healthcare industry, as well as hear from providers about how they’ve approached their organizations’ challenges in a new way – especially in this time of seismic change. There are dozens of breakout sessions from thought leaders of innovative medical groups, and this is where we truly become sponges. We’re here to soak in the knowledge and learn from health leaders from around the country about the challenges they face, their recent successes and plans for the future.

This year’s conference was no exception. We learned a lot from the attendees this year, but we left the event with two overarching impressions:

  • There was a general awareness and acceptance among all providers that value-based care (and the risk-taking it requires) is going to play an expanding role in how healthcare organizations are run.
  • Health leaders are increasingly aware of the importance of a high-quality, trusted data asset as a foundation for managing any contract with risk – and this must include data from their EHR.

Better prepared for value-based care

Value-based care is no longer an “if” or “maybe.” Though we are still in transition, there’s no longer any doubt that value-based care is happening. As that sentiment has continued to sink in, we’re finding that more and more providers are opening their doors to change, recognizing that it’s the only way to survive, compete and thrive in this new day and age.

Last year, it seemed as if providers were only starting to realize the benefits that healthcare technology and solutions beyond their core EHR, such as data aggregation and harmonization, could bring to their organizations. They were still learning about the different technologies in existence, the challenges they were built to solve and the improvements that could be seen after implementation. This year, we’re learning that providers are fully educated on the different types of healthcare technology and how exactly they can be used throughout their organizations to overcome financial, operational and care challenges.

Gone are the days of us educating the industry on how healthcare technology can help improve outcomes. It’s now time for us to educate the industry on innovation—how healthcare can move beyond its backward past and jump ahead to a more technologically advanced future.

The growing importance of high-quality data

As more and more providers are entering risk-based contracts, they are realizing the importance and impact of high-quality data, especially as a foundation for benchmarking, reporting and population health efforts.

While many organizations have already started using data throughout their organizations, they aren’t typically aware of the quality of the data in use. We’re not referring to the size or type of data in use, we’re referring to the fact that the data may be incomplete or provide an inaccurate representation of the patient population, organizational efficiencies, or the quality of care the providers are delivering. Without a complete and trusted data set, an ACO may be under- or over-estimating its risk, performance or utilization rates, which could have a dire affect on the organizations resources and surplus.

Providers’ increased understanding of high-quality data and how it can support a risk-based contract is a huge move, not only for companies like Arcadia, but for the industry at large. As more providers begin to implement solutions that can analyze and identify gaps in care or otherwise, more providers will successfully manage risk contracts and value-based care will become a reality for all.

We’re excited to see how providers’ understanding continues to evolve in 2016, and look forward to reconnecting with attendees at next year’s event.

Greg Chittim is Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Arcadia Healthcare Solutions.

March 18, 2016