HealthManagement, Volume 19 - Issue 5, 2019

How to Change Fertility Care with Value-Based Healthcare

Find out how to become a recognised Value-Based Health Care expert and about the benefits of getting certified.
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Summary: The VBHC Green Belt Blended Learning programme gives medical specialists the tools to maximise patient value and deliver effective care.

Dr. Max Curfs has been working as a clinical embryologist at the Isala Fertility Centre since 1995. He holds a PhD in Natural Sciences and before working at Isala he researched the embryology of neuroanatomical pathways. He became enthusiastic when first coming into contact with Value-Based Healthcare (VBHC) and has been active in VBHC implementation ever since.

When did you first become acquainted with VBHC?

I attended a lecture about VBHC during a strategic conference at Isala in 2016. I realised that many of our projects perfectly fit in the VBHC framework. It was like putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Most importantly, it appeals to the intrinsic motivation of healthcare professionals: providing excellent care and being considerate to others.

You completed the VBHC Green Belt track. What motivated you to follow this track?

One of our gynaecologists nearly completed the track, and he was enthusiastic. So, we (me and two colleague gynaecologists) looked into the programme and decided to apply. I needed more knowledge about VBHC since, being a scientist by origin, I never take something for granted without understanding the core. The sessions were challenging because healthcare professionals are not familiar with business administration and the way of thinking that comes with it. However, it was beneficial to me, even though it cost a lot of time and effort. It provided me with the knowledge I required. I would advise other healthcare professionals to hold on to their vision and convince others of the shared purpose. Make sure you have the knowledge to be critical.

What were the challenges for patients of the Fertility Centre, and how did VBHC help to overcome these challenges?

The outcomes we measured from the beginning of iVF (in vitro fertilisation) onwards were not the outcomes which genuinely matter to patients. We were used to quick results per treatment cycle but what matters to patients are the outcomes — being present for the entire patient journey, from the first referral to the fertility centre until discharge of the patient and their partner. Such a journey is highly variable per patient. The patient wants to know what is involved in having a living and healthy child at the end of the treatment and how long it will take. With the help of VBHC, we are now able to measure and show the results, which are relevant to the patient.

How did you apply the knowledge gained during the sessions in your daily work?

The VBHC Green Belt track made me look critically at the way we work. In the beginning, you feel like ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ gaining lots of new impressions without being able to put them into perspective. But as I went along, I began to understand what the concept was all about. The most important thing to remember is that there is no perfect route. You need to do what suits the patient, healthcare professional and the medical leader. I learned that I have to follow my vision and passion. Implementation of VBHC is not a matter of copy and paste.

What are your plans for the VBHC project?

We have big plans! First, we have to complete the formula: we already have a complete outcome-measures set. We are now working on an accurate overview of the costs, which will allow us to focus more on health outcomes and costs to improve patient value. Next, we are going to present our results transparently, both nationally and internationally, so patients and health insurers can see what they get for their money. We want to compare these results with other healthcare professionals. The initial contacts have been made with organisations in the Netherlands and also in Scandinavia.

Would you recommend the VBHC Green Belt track to your colleagues? 

Yes, I would recommend the VBHC green belt track to my colleagues. It is quite an investment but worth it. It is essential to find the knowledge and the decision institute has this knowledge. Gaining theoretical knowledge about VBHC is vital to sail your own course and to not chase others. You have to discover your path and should allow yourself to make your own mistakes.

VBHC Outcomes at Isala Fertility Centre

Isala Fertility Centre started with the implementation of VBHC in 2017 with the help of a consultant. The multidisciplinary team defined the medical and patient outcomes along with the care pathways. As the patient has a clear idea of what matters to them, patients also participated in the group. Being just underway, the analysis of the medical outcomes already resulted in cost savings, especially for the insurers, by decreasing the number of treatment cycles given. Isala showed that after a given number of treatment cycles, the chance of further success, ie the possibility of becoming pregnant, was negligible. With this data available, other decisions are made in the consulting room. Isala also uses questionnaires to periodically measure the quality of life of the patients and their partners. Therefore, if observations are made on impaired or reduced quality of life, the Centre can act accordingly.

Become a VBHC Certified Green Belt

Would you also like to become a Value-Based Healthcare expert and be recognised for it? Follow the interactive VBHC Green Belt Blended Learning programme in which you will be trained to become a Certified VBHC Green Belt.

What is it? How Does It Work?

The VBHC Green Belt Blended Learning programme is for medical specialists, board members, dedicated VBHC teams and international healthcare professionals who aspire to maximise patient value, are keen to deliver effective care in a more efficient manner, and would like to receive tools with which to implement VBHC in their own health care organisation.

  • In four interactive sessions, you will learn about the essentials of VBHC by covering theory and Harvard Business School cases.
  • The VBHC Green Belt Blended Learning programme is online and flexible. You can follow the sessions in any order.
  • In the past ten years, more than 28,000 healthcare professionals have taken VBHC education with the decision institute. On average the programme is rated with an 8.7.
  • Prepare for the VBHC Green Belt exam with the VBHC Centre Europe. Once passed, you will become a Certified VBHC Green Belt.

Prefer to become a Certified VBHC Green Belt in two days? Then the 'intensive VBHC Green Belt Track' would be a perfect option for you. The next 'intensive VBHC Green Belt Track' will be on the 9-10th of January 2020.

Please visit vbhc-green-belt-blended-learning/ for more information on details, dates, the programme and fees.

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VBHC, Value-Based Healthcare, patient-centred, fertility care, VBHC Green Belt Blended Learning Programme, VBHC Green Belt, Max Curfs, Isala Fertility Centre, Fertility Centre, IVF, in vitro fertilisation, VBHC Green Belt track, VBHC Certified Green Belt, The Decicion Institute, VBHC Centre Europe Summary: The VBHC Green Belt Blended Learning programme gives medical specialists the tools to maximise patient value and deliver effective care.

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