The coming months offer a unique opportunity for providers and health systems to take short- and long-term steps to improve healthcare delivery. To realize our vision of a system that prioritizes patients’ needs and supports advancements in the provision of health care, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends a fundamental restructuring of payment policies and delivery systems.
Patient-Centered Medical Homes
Patient-centered medical homes are a way to organize primary care that emphasizes care coordination and communication. They can improve quality, lower costs, and enhance the patient experience.
Creating a medical home requires a significant practice transformation. This transformation can be expensive and can take years to accomplish.
However, many experts like Sam Lee Prospect Medical say that the effort is worth it in the long run. They also point out that patient-centered medical homes are often a sustainable model.
A growing body of research demonstrates that PCMHs encourage better care quality, foster more meaningful patient relationships, and generate savings through increased access and delivery options. These benefits have been associated with reduced hospital readmissions and emergency department use and cost savings for payers and providers.
Care coordination is an approach that involves organizing patient care activities and sharing information between patients and their healthcare providers. This can improve healthcare delivery systems by avoiding unnecessary testing and procedures and reducing adverse outcomes.
In the United States, healthcare is a high-cost industry with escalating demands for effective, personalized care. In response, payers and providers have developed innovative care models.
The most common of these is coordinated care. This type of coordination aims to improve communication between different health and social care providers.
Despite its benefits, coordinated care is often challenging to implement in practice. For example, methods may need help finding employees with the required education and credentials to take care of coordination tasks.
Moreover, practices may need help finding an insurance model that allows reimbursement for care coordination services. Medicare recently introduced billing codes for care coordination, but system barriers have prevented the program’s widespread uptake.
Health Information Technology
Health information technology has the potential to improve healthcare delivery systems by increasing access to quality care, reducing medical errors, and enhancing care coordination. However, organizations must overcome cognitive, financial, security/privacy, technological, social/cultural, and workforce challenges to achieve these outcomes.
Health IT enables providers to secure standardized patient data and use it to inform patient care and communicate across various clinical settings. This is done using electronic health records (EHRs), which store a patient’s medical history in a virtual chart that can be shared with other professionals.
As a result, EHRs make it easier for doctors to keep track of all patients’ medical information, including their prescriptions and test results. They can also check their EHR against other databases to see if there are any errors or missing information.
Healthcare information systems also allow patients to make appointments online. This time-saving measure can drastically reduce phone traffic while giving the patient more control over their scheduling.
Patient engagement ensures that patients have access to essential information that can be applied to healthcare decisions. It helps physicians treat patients better and improves overall health outcomes.
It also reduces ER visits, increases revenue, and retains patients. However, it’s important to note that patient engagement strategies require significant changes in how healthcare providers interact with their patients.
In addition, many people would prefer to consider costs when making decisions about their healthcare. For example, Roseanna Sommers, a student at Yale Law School, conducted 22 focus groups of insured people and found that participants were unlikely to weigh costs in deciding whether to undergo a more expensive clinical test or procedure.
Even though research on patient engagement has been extensive, the literature is still dispersed and varied. This study reviews the strategies used to engage patients in service planning, design, and evaluation. It identifies the outcomes and contextual factors shaping optimal patient engagement to improve the quality of care.