Outmigration Can Be Solved

Health IT Outcomes, Feb. 27, 2017 – Chris Lukasiak –

With the shift to value-based care, building a preferred network of high quality providers is increasingly a top priority for leading healthcare organizations. Building meaningful connections across a network of disparate providers, however, is a tremendous challenge. Ultimately, the success of any network is only as strong as its ability to coordinate care between its members.

The reality is the care continuum is full of opportunities for patients to leak out of the system, whether through cancelled appointments, confusion about how to schedule or simply difficulty in finding a convenient and timely visit. Strengthening care coordination can directly address these issues to ensure a patient’s continual care needs are supported within a preferred network of providers. With this in mind, it’s no surprise doctors and hospitals continue to cite care coordination as the key to success with accountable care as they seek to more tightly integrate providers and maintain joint financial incentives to deliver superior care at a lower cost.

In particular, for health systems and hospitals that employ providers, digital care coordination presents a tremendous opportunity to drive retention rates as patients are leaving the emergency department, following diagnostic testing or simply leaving a physician’s office. Any of these exits marks a turning point where the patient will either stay within the organization’s network or be lost.

So, how exactly can organizations use a care coordination platform to reach their goal of reducing patient outmigration?

Overcoming loss of patients within the preferred network begins by creating a connected system across the network that more efficiently exposes all providers to patients and makes it easy to book visits. Embedded into operational and technical workflows, a healthcare scheduling exchange can be used to organize open and available healthcare appointments throughout a provider network, making a searchable inventory of care options. Physicians can be assigned according to a series of indicators such as discharge instructions, patient preference by location, insurance accepted, language, gender or other similar factors. For clinics, this kind of scheduling hub can aggregate appointment inventory while interfacing with the practice website, contact centers, navigators, and other access channels.

Used by one of the nation’s largest health systems, this approach focuses on assisting the discharge patient with the burdensome task of scheduling follow-up visits. By connecting patients with the right doctor at the right time for the right service, they are far more likely to stay within the network. This level of service drives patient satisfaction while delivering a key opportunity to not only connect them with care, but also keep them within the desired health system.

Other strategic benefits seen with implementation of digital care coordination include:
  • Operational Efficiency: Digital scheduling solutions mean office staff can save precious time by eliminating the need for phone calls and three-way dialing in order to confirm patient appointments.
  • Patient Follow Through: Patients who receive text reminders and email confirmations are more likely to follow through on their appointments, increasing completion rates all around. When patients leave care with an appointment already scheduled for their next visit within a network, referral capture rates rise by 25 percent.
  • Organized Patient Inflow: Individualized business rules give providers greater control of their calendars.
  • A Better Experience: Easier access to care creates an experience that delights both patients and schedulers alike.
  • Higher Quality Scores: Care coordination tools can enable staff to schedule appointments in 5 minutes, closing four times as many gaps with the same resources while also empowering automated outreach with self-scheduling.
Smarter care coordination will enable providers to manage costs, effectively utilize time-intensive resources, and provide patients with a tailored and high-level service of healthcare within preferred networks. For organizations seeking to thrive in a value-based system, the use of a scheduling platform will be an essential technological tool to effectively manage complex patient needs and improve the healthcare experience for all.

See the original article on Health IT Outcomes.

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