Health Care and Modernity: Using Technology to Add Value to Care Models

An outdated approach to health care will impact patient outcomes and likely exacerbate long-term costs. Hospitals know this, insurance companies understand this, and perhaps most importantly, care providers see that there are better ways to reach and treat patients. The proverbial push for effectiveness is gaining momentum as new approaches to patient engagement are gaining traction within the industry.

Care Guides and Patient Outcomes

Patient education and outreach efforts are being coupled with the latest advances in technology in order to add value to the current health services model. According to the Health Affairs Blog, care guides, people who are tasked with patient communication and identifying barriers to care, were able to improve patients outcomes during trial periods. Initial research showed that patients who worked with these guides were 31 percent more likely to meet goals than patients who went without this service.

The patients weren’t the only ones who benefited from this approach, as doctors and nurses also embraced the emerging care guide position, according to the news source. The care guides were able to work with the medical professionals in order to improve patient outreach, share information, and track patient progress.

The trial, carried out at 6 primary care clinics in Minnesota from 2010 to 2012, aimed to show how health care providers could provide more value by using care guides as a point of contact for their respective patient populations. The research, consisting of 2,135 patients who were monitored for a year, concluded that “adding care guides to the primary care team can improve care for some patients with chronic disease at low cost.”

Value of Care

Many organizations are trying to add value to the current health care model. Unlike other industries, which may favor cutting corners and adhering to austerity models, healthcare providers are looking to provide value without limiting services. Thankfully for the industry, technology is helping to bridge the gap between providers and patients. The latest tools can help to maximize the potential of any value-based care models.

One way to add value is to streamline communication models – both between patients and care providers and within the health organizations themselves. By giving care guides (or care coordinators) a communication platform that has recordkeeping capabilities, patient progress and outcomes can be tracked, measured, and applied to a larger model.

Patients need to be able to reach out to their care guides, and are expecting to do so in a manner that is representative of the times. Whether it be via a text, a phone call or a digital message, patients want to contact their care guides. These care guides expect the same level of connectivity – they want to answer inquiries and easily share this information with the rest of their organization.

Consumers and Health Care

Patients don’t want to be treated like consumers, yet they expect an experience that provides a level of customer service that the old health care model cannot offer. According to FierceHealthcare, in 2015, a group of 12 consumer advocacy groups wrote a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services suggesting that care models must include better patient engagement.

Improving patient experience is also linked to patient outcomes, according to the news outlet. Since patient experience needs to be improved in the ever-evolving health care industry, technology may be able to help providers meet this growing requirement. Outreach and feedback can be facilitated by software and platform upgrades, all of which will help the care guides, doctors and nurses work in conjunction to achieve the best possible outcome.