Blog Post: The time is right for employers to create a path to better value in health care by Cheryl DeMars, President and CEO of The Alliance

It was an honor to present at The Action Group’s Community Dialogue on Joint Replacements for Hips and Knees on March 28, 2014, and to share and compare best practices in this area where the number of procedures performed is rapidly accelerating. As the keynote speaker, my role was to discuss the importance of improving orthopedic value from the buy side, and to share how The Alliance is working with its members to drive toward greater transparency.

The Alliance believes that employers, as purchasers of health care, are key to accelerating the sometimes agonizingly slow progress toward better value health care. We have launched an initiative called QualityPath to help advance this effort.

QualityPath to accelerate progress

QualityPath_logo_web QualityPath intensifies the role of employers to drive quality improvement and cost control at a faster rate. Employers are at the center of this effort for multiple reasons:

Getting feedback from stakeholders

The Alliance chose to publicly announce the QualityPath program at the start of the development curve — rather than waiting until it was ready to launch — to gather input from everyone with a major stake.

Physicians and health care organizations have offered valuable insights and urged us to move forward. One physician CEO noted that he does not yet know how his organization will fare on the QualityPath assessment of cost and quality but sees this as “exactly the right thing for employers to do.”

Support needed

Employer participation is key. And support from Alliance members has been encouraging. Employers representing significant numbers of employees and family members have added their names to the list of organizations that have agreed to explore QualityPath. We’re off to a great start, and our members have been formally pledging their support.

I understand that a number of Action Group members have pledged their support for change by organizing around Learning Networks for back pain, maternity and infertility, and now total joint replacement. Designed to provide facilitated learning to help purchasers increase the value of care that is often subject to overuse or inappropriate use, these Learning Networks present an ideal opportunity for employers to band together and use their collective strength to assure that their employees are receiving the best possible care at the best possible value, resulting in satisfaction for all.