We discuss the patient engagement solutions providers need to succeed in value-based care payment models. In this series, we will also discuss the range of tools and strategies to succeed in value-based care arrangements, including:
Patient Engagement Solutions
Value-based care relies on good patient engagement. That means delivering care with cultural competency, understanding the social factors influencing patient care access and engagement, offering sufficient self-care education, and being compassionate to patients with all needs. Patient engagement drives better outcomes and customized care. When patients engage in care decisions, they understand their role in the care team and their health, increasing accountability.
In addition, patients want more information about how to care for themselves. A survey by The Harris Poll on behalf of Samueli Integrative Health Programs indicated that more than 70% of patients would like to discuss self-care with their providers. This is a challenge for PCPs, who spend an average of 15 minutes with each patient.
To fill this gap, primary care practices use technology to help keep patients engaged. Software that automatically notifies the patient when a referral is sent can increase the likelihood that a patient will make an appointment with a specialist. Confirmation that the specialist is the patient’s insurance network, appointment reminders and online patient forms also improve patient engagement. More importantly, access to the specialist treatment plan is critical to keeping patients educated on how to care for themselves in a way that will prevent symptom escalation and manage chronic conditions.
AristaMD supports these efforts in three ways:
- Offering physician-to-physician eConsults that frequently include instructions for the patient.
- Improving access to the specialist’s treatment plan gives the PCP the opportunity to review actions the patient can take to care for themselves.
- Notifying patients about their referral status.
PCPs best deploy patient engagement solutions because they have an existing relationship with the patient. eConsults are a valuable tool for patient engagement and understanding of their care. It enables patients to receive advice from specialists in the primary care setting, resulting in better outcomes, customized care, lower costs and less time traveling. eConsult provides an online platform for communication between primary care providers and specialists, allowing for faster consultation with expert advice. This exchange of information and expertise can help improve patient care decisions, increasing accountability and engagement.
eConsults also allow the PCP to minimize cultural, language and social factors that make seeking specialty care difficult for some patients. Patients often seek out clinics that cater to their religious practices, providers that speak their native language and locations that are convenient to home, work and school. By working with their PCP rather than attending a face-to-face visit, patients can manage barriers that impact their engagement, like a thorough understanding of their treatment plan and adherence to their religious requirements.
eConsult also helps to support patient-centered care by making it easier for patients to access specialist advice without needing to travel. PCPs upload relevant medical information securely, allowing the specialist to review and respond to the patient’s condition. AristaMD trains eConsult specialists to provide patient care instructions when appropriate. Digital health consultations that include patient instructions can be shared by the PCP who has an existing relationship with the patient – encouraging patient engagement and adherence to the treatment plan. With the help of eConsult, patients can take an active role in managing their health and make more informed choices about treatment options.
Online referrals and patient notifications also increase patients’ likelihood of seeking appropriate care. First, our online, HIPAA-compliant platform validates the patient’s insurance and helps the referral coordinator select an in-network provider near the patient. This service minimizes the impact of social factors on patient access. A patient with a challenging work schedule or a limited ability to afford health services is reassured that the time required to obtain an appointment, visit the specialist and pay for the additional appointment will be minimized.
Patient notifications confirm that the doctor referral was sent to the specialist and include the phone number of the specialist’s practice. Appointment reminders with the location of the practice reduce no-shows that delay care.
The platform also enables the primary care office to send a comprehensive patient history, including lab work, imaging and prior treatment. $200 billion, or 25% of our healthcare costs, are for unnecessary tests and treatments. This figure doesn’t include unnecessary emergency room visits, multiple visits to the primary care provider because a patient can’t get an appointment quickly or increased cost of care due to untreated conditions. After all, your patients never made that specialist appointment.
Using patient engagement solutions that leverage technology and offer specialty care in the setting most comfortable for the patient, whenever possible, and simplifying appointment scheduling keeps patients engaged and motivated. Combined, these solutions can improve patient outcomes while lowering the cost of specialty care – visits, unnecessary testing and symptom escalation that results in more costly treatment in the long run.