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Challenges and opportunities in implementing the Radiation Oncology Alternative Payment Model (RO-APM)

August 15, 2022
Rad Oncology

Leveraging technology to address the challenges of RO Model implementation
While the RO Model creates new challenges for RO care centers, technology can be used to facilitate streamlined and accurate RO Model reporting and provide actionable data that RO centers can use to improve the quality and efficiency of the care they provide. Software solutions that include modules and reporting features specifically designed to fulfill RO- Model requirements and minimize data entry errors by pulling information directly from a care center’s electronic health records system can help transform the challenges of RO-Model reporting into opportunities to gain greater insight into critical aspects of care delivery, efficiency, and quality – better enabling them to achieve their value-based care objectives. A technology solution that provides premade reporting templates and customizable features can help care centers meet RO Model-specific and site-specific needs. I was part of a collaborative effort between Elekta and RO care providers to develop MOSAIQ Oncology Analytics (MOA), a software solution intentionally designed to meet these real-world needs.

Transforming challenges into opportunities
While care centers specified as RO Model sites must comply with the new data collection and analysis requirements, the outputs of these analyses can be highly beneficial to all RO providers. Gaining more granular insight into care delivery processes, outputs, and costs is essential for refining and optimizing clinical workflows, staffing, and investment in equipment and other resources. Although the RO Model initially is being deployed as a pilot program, it will likely be broadly implemented if it is shown to improve the efficiency and/or quality of RO care delivery. Consequently, investing in RO Model solutions today will make it easier to adapt to the continued evolution of the RO payment and reimbursement landscape.

Importantly, implementation of the RO Model, even at just the pilot level, will have broad effects on the economics of providing RO services. Understanding the impact of these effects is critical for developing robust and accurate financial models that support effective financial decision-making and allow RI centers to grow, thrive, and provide high-quality care in a dynamic reimbursement environment. The RO Model is a harbinger of the evolving economics of radiation oncology and also exemplifies the ongoing push toward value-based payment models. Implementing software solutions that support the delivery of highest-quality care as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible will benefit patients and providers, whether it’s required or not.

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