Person and Family Collaboration at the Center of Care: New CMS Strategy Aligns With VOX Telehealth Mission

In Mid-December, when many people were counting down to the holidays, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS ) was in its own festive mood giving us what they call the Person and Family Engagement (PFE) Strategy. Included as one of the six main goals of CMS’s overall quality strategy that was released earlier in 2016, the Person and Family Engagement Strategy outlines keys tenets, principles, and values of comprehensive patient engagement.

The strategic plan creates a foundation for patients and families to become active in making healthcare decisions by working collaboratively with their doctor or other health care professionals, a mission VOX has focused on since the company’s founding.

When people feel responsible for their own health and are partners with their providers in goal-setting and decision-making, they are much more likely to follow their care plans and achieve their health care goals.

Not only do CMS’s new strategy and VOX Telehealth’s mission align, they also agree on how to drive engagement. An underlying and recurrent theme of the Person and Family Engagement Strategy revolves around providing adequate support and education— giving people access to understandable information and decision support tools to equip them and their families with information to manage their health, navigate the full span of the health care delivery system, and make their own informed choices about care.

According to CMS, at the core of this strategy are four key goals for improving health, healthcare experiences and outcomes:

  1. Actively encourage person and family engagement along the continuum of care within the broader
    context of health and well-being and in the communities in which they live.
  2. Promote tools and strategies that reflect person and/or family values and preferences and enable them to actively engage in directing and self- managing their care.
  3. Create an environment where persons and their families work in partnership with their healthcare providers to develop their health and wellness goals, informed by sound evidence and aligned with their values and preferences.
  4. Develop meaningful measures and tools aimed at improving the experience and outcomes of care for persons, caregivers, and families. Also, identify best practices and techniques in the field that are ready for widespread scaling and national integration.

Long before these goals became a part of a CMS strategy, the VOX Telehealth team has actively promoted this philosophy of putting the patient and their family at the center of their care by making each and every step along the care continuum self- managing and actionable. Utilizing evidence-based best practices shared through our procedure-specific patient engagement platform, variability is reduced and successful outcomes are achieved. Additionally, collaboration is strengthened by proactively sharing a patient’s key milestones and, more importantly, communicating any potential setbacks with the healthcare professional.

Some other key tenets incorporated into the overall Person and Family Engagement Strategy include many that are already built into the very foundation of the VOX platform. The CMS report specifically states that patient and family engagement improves when:

  • Duplication of effort is minimized.
  • Built upon existing resources and best practices.
  • Healthcare navigators, electronic healthcare information, and translation services are used more frequently.
  • Experience surveys are designed in a way that makes it easy for recipients of care and their family and caregivers to express concerns and self-manage personal health and wellness goals.
  • Measures of family engagement are identified and incorporated in the evaluation of PFE for persons who rely on a family member to enact their healthcare plan.

The VOX Telehealth platform addresses these objectives. Our platform includes standardized protocols, integration of experience surveys, multiple languages, care navigator tools and patient coach functionality.

Seeing CMS reinforce shared decision making, collaboration, effective communication and proactive care as key components of their ongoing quality strategy is confirmation that improving engagement is a priority. The strategic plan outlined by CMS made clear that all persons and caregivers must be involved in healthcare, and engagement efforts must be delivered in multiple forms. Ongoing legislation is likely to only continue to drive these quality efforts, incorporating more collaboration, improving patient and provider interactions, and identifying new tools to monitor and measure quality outcomes.

Collaboration and creative thinking have not always been terms that immediately come to mind when referring to CMS initiatives, but clearly to support a new model of care, innovative approaches have to be recognized. Solutions, such as VOX Telehealth, facilitate this innovation and can assist in making person and family engagement a reality.

For more information about VOX Telehealth and how our platform supports CMS’ new Person and Family Engagement (PFE) Strategy, please contact info@voxtelehealth.com.

About the Author

Philip Feldstein is Vice President of Ortho Solutions at VOX Telehealth and brings more than 10 years of experience in orthopedic service line management. Throughout his career, Phil has worked with more than 100 hospitals, physician groups, and other outpatient ancillary service providers to develop strategies for optimizing care, while balancing the financial and volume growth. Phil has held senior roles in marketing strategy and business development in numerous leading orthopedic organizations. Phil earned a BA from Indiana University and an MBA from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

About VOX Telehealth

VOX Telehealth was founded to improve patient outcomes by redefining the patient experience and recovery model. Through a state-of-the art platform, VOX delivers procedure-specific, full episode-of-care engagement solutions that provide education, coordination, and monitoring through industry leading content, proprietary SmartTasks™ and a customizable alert escalation and notification system. Engaging the patient throughout their pre-op phase, as well as through transition of care and recovery, patients are connected and accountable, leading to greater satisfaction, improved outcomes, and reduced cost of care. For more information, visit www.voxtelehealth.com.

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