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    Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

    Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

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Leveraging Health IT to Strengthen Patient Engagement

Leveraging Health IT to Strengthen Patient Engagement

In the spirit of moving innovation forward, I found relevance in the following article about engendering trust using healthcare technology.  In the crossfire of my own struggles with technology, I can appreciate the very salient points outlined by the author.  Specifically, he asserts that healthcare IT can be the lever for improving the physician-patient relationship through the following means.

In the first instance, he points out that technology can help a physician provide SMARTER care.  With escalating numbers of insured patients attempting to be seen by a shrinking provider pool, new delivery methods must be sought to meet this demand.  While the article addresses wellness and preventative care, it is a natural extension to mention patient’s interest in mobile visits.  Incorporating SMS, video and email into the physician toolbox is tantamount; however, certain touch points require a face to face interaction…and the mobile visit solves this dilemma.  In fact, I would dare say that all mediums should be utilized to ensure that the patient’s particular learning mode is engaged and the provider’s message is reinforced.

Secondly, healthcare IT can optimize physician workflow and remove administrative shackles draining resources and diverting attention from the more complex tasks at hand – treating chronically ill patients.  As noted, “technology can take over for clinicians when it comes to some of the more benign data capture and aggregation roles.”  While this can cover items such as first time visit paperwork, it can also be employed for personal health records, population health management, as well as the patient”s & provider’s modification of the medical record.  And by lightening the physician’s load, they are free to pursue clinical partners and engage them in community health and prevention efforts.  At minimum, in celebration of National Public Health Week, there should be a focus on data exchange for immunization and prevention.

Thirdly, one of the core means of establishing trust occurs through the delivery of personalized messages in a format most conducive to each individual patient’s learning and retention style.  Using technology to engage patients and stay connected during their care demonstrates concern and establishes trust – an integral component to the healing process and a competitive edge for a practice seeking to maximize efficiency and minimize cost.

Last, but not least, the author stresses that technology must be implemented in a safe and secure manner in order to protect and preserve the relationships with one’s patients.  Specifically, “being aware of the security of the larger ecosystem of which an organization is part is a way to quell data loss and enhance the trust of patients.”  Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do today, but arguably should not be forgotten in the quest to do no harm.

 

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse PractitionerPhysician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates that stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Innovating with Patient-Centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations to Improve Healthcare

Innovating with Patient-Centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations to Improve Health Care

With the close of the third National Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Summit in Washington, DC last week, it got me thinking about the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and ACO models.  Specifically, what are the differences and which is more appropriate for the future delivery of healthcare?

As defined by the four primary care societies (AAFP, AAP, ACP, AOA), the Patient-Centered Medical Home is as an approach to providing comprehensive primary care as a health setting that facilitates a continuous relationship between patients, the patient’s family when appropriate, and the patient’s personal primary care physician.  The joint principles supporting this model include:

  • Personal physician – serves as the primary contact and coordinator of care for a patient.
  • Physician directed medical practice – is led by the personal physician who directs the practice team to ensure continuous, comprehensive patient care.
  • Whole person orientation – in which the personal physician arranges and oversees care throughout patients’ various stages of life.
  • Care is coordinated and/or integrated – by the personal physician in connection with specialists and across settings facilitated by information technology and other appropriate tools.
  • Quality and safety – serve as primary guideposts for all aspects of a patient’s medical care.
  • Enhanced access – using tools such as open scheduling, extended hours, and various modes of communication between patients and providers.
  • Payment – is value driven and reflective of case mix, enhanced technologies, quality improvements, and shared savings achieved by successful patient management.

In keeping with these principles, the medical home goal is to deliver coordinated care in a seamless and efficient manner, thereby improving quality and reducing cost.

MedPAC has defined accountable care organizations (ACOs) as a set of providers associated with a defined population of patients, accountable for the quality and cost of care delivered to that population.  While the population is larger and generally involves multiple practices, similar intent remains for the ACO to reduce cost through enhanced preventative care, disease management and improved quality through coordination of care.  In order to manage a population effectively, ACO governance models often include not only physician members, but also, hospital or physician hospital organization (PHO) and/or payer representatives.  Structured purposefully in opposition to fee-for -service (FFS), ACO members are rewarded for efficiency in the form of a shared bonus.  If, on the other hand, an ACO underestimates the cost of operation, the providers will earn less, thereby becoming ‘accountable’.

Healthcare is, and likely will continue to be, a local service.  Determining whether a PCMH or ACO is more appropriate will be fueled by the local physician community’s appetite for and ability to change. Establishing clear goals with corresponding metrics, creating a path for process improvement and developing appropriate financial incentives will be integral  to driving this process forward.  In the absence of interoperable data, both organizational models must also find creative solutions for their health technology constraints.

As we prepare to learn the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we find ourselves with the potential to transform care delivery through healthcare information technology, innovative team approaches and other new models of care.  With more than 500 physician practices in the United States, the metamorphosis to medical homes or ACOs will be a monumental undertaking.  Will it fundamentally improve care?  Listen in to find out more….

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates that stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website