A study conducted by Y&R’s BAV Consulting, on behalf of Xerox®, found patients and the healthcare professionals who provide and insure their care have very different views on topics such as patient empowerment and control. How can we solve for the difference? Could care coordination be the missing link?
What the Research Revealed
As part of the study, 761 U.S. adults who are healthcare decision makers for their households and 204 healthcare payers and providers were asked to share their perspectives on certain statements regarding healthcare. Several key findings are noted in Figure A.
Additionally, over 63 percent of consumers said they wish their pharmacist, healthcare provider and insurance company were more connected regarding their personal health. And when asked what consumers consider the top priority when selecting a provider, healthcare professionals believed it was whether or not they take the patient’s insurance plan. But consumers said quality of care was number one.
What We Can Learn From This
While patients and healthcare professionals don’t always see eye-to-eye, there are actions physicians can take and perspectives they can gain from patients that will help them bridge these gaps in viewpoints.
The study shows patients are not as likely to be shopping around for a different provider as healthcare professionals think, so don’t take that for granted. Focus on excellent patient care and improving patient retention.
Providing Chronic Care Management and other care coordination services to patients lets them know you care about them beyond the occasional doctor’s visit and that you want to be a true partner in improving their health.
Cost concerns do sometimes influence whether or not a patient delays or avoids treatments, but it doesn’t come into play quite as much as healthcare professionals expected.
Physicians need to know what’s really keeping patients from adhering to their instructions. If it is truly cost, are there programs that can help make treatments or medications more affordable? Does the patient understand the importance of or value in getting the treatment or test? How can we educate them? Do they have a concern or fear about how the treatment is performed or how long the recovery takes that we can alleviate for them?
As part of CareSync’s expanded approach to Chronic Care Management, we seek to identify patient barriers so we can uncover their root cause and help patients remove them.
Get On the Same Page
Some patients say they don’t need encouragement or help to make living a healthier lifestyle a priority, but is evidence pointing to the contrary?
If a patient demonstrates signs they aren’t taking their medicine correctly or if there are certain health measurements that should be improving, but aren’t, some form of guidance is necessary. At the very least, there’s a miscommunication that needs to be addressed.
Does the patient not understand the severity of the illness? Do they consider themselves “not sick” which translates into not needing help? Does the patient know they need to make a healthier lifestyle a priority, but just don’t know how to go about it or believe it’s possible?
Do we need to use other terms? Does the patient equate words such as needing “help” with saying they aren’t independent? How can we meet them on their level, understand why they feel the way they do, and help them gain the perspective they need to achieve that healthier lifestyle?
Chronic Care Management promotes a team-oriented approach to care. Perhaps when patients feel like they are working together with their doctors and caregivers, they feel “empowered” rather than “helped.” And because care coordination focuses so much on putting the patient first, placing them at the center of their care, it reminds them that they are actively engaged in the decision-making process and their health outcomes. That screams independence.
Make the Connection
The research shows consumers are focused on quality care. 63 percent of them specifically said they wish those involved in their healthcare were more involved with each other - that everyone was more connected regarding their personal health.
That was the whole idea behind starting CareSync. We literally want to get everyone involved in an individual’s healthcare in sync with one another. Later, Medicare created CPT Code 99490 to encourage physicians to deliver that type of coordinated care to their patients with chronic conditions. And now MACRA is clearly the next step in making healthcare connections that make a significant difference in patient and public health.