Size Doesn’t Matter in Active Patient Management

It doesn’t matter if you are a 100-bed community based hospital or a large, multi-hospital health system; if you are not finding new ways to actively manage and engage your patients in the face of growing internal and external pressures, then you will constantly be playing from behind.

Internal Pressures:
Part of the internal struggle hospitals have regardless of their size is providing the patient enough one-on-one time to be meaningful. There are simply not enough staff members dedicated to review everything a patient will have to remember about a condition or procedure. Even when staff has the time to sit down with patients, it’s often a “drink from the fire hose” approach, where a large amount of information is delivered in a short amount of time. And although intentions for sharing as much information as possible are good, studies have shown up to 80% is forgotten immediately when a patient walks out the door. Since information on a patient’s care can be neglected or simply forgotten, many providers will try to keep channels of communication open by asking patients to call the office with questions. But how many patients actually pick up the phone and do that? Very few among today’s consumer-oriented patients.

External Pressures:
Just as hospitals are trying to do more with less, external pressures are added to create even more urgency around managing the patients care experience. Many hospitals are being held to bundling requirements like the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (CJR) or the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative (BPCI) to share a single payment across all stakeholders and are incentivized for meeting certain quality-based benchmarks. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Innovation website lists a total of 72 new payment and service delivery models broken into seven different categories that many hospitals have to be at least be aware of, assuming they are not already being measured on them. How does that represent innovation? Keep in mind that doesn’t factor in the other private and commercial payers that have their own reporting requirements. It’s amazing healthcare providers have any time to provide guidance to patients given their other responsibilities.

Using Patient Management Technology as the Solution

So how can hospitals, from as small as 100 beds to more than 1,000 beds, put patients at the center of the care experience while juggling the multitude of internal and external pressures?

Begin by utilizing patient management technology to 1) deliver a consistent and timely care protocols 2) collect and measure reported outcomes and 3) manage critical patient issues by exception.

To deliver necessary care information more efficiently and effectively, patient management technology can digitally connect patients with care protocols through their desired mode. Just by having a patient’s email address or cell phone number, this technology can deliver relevant information to patients to keep them on track during their care experience. No longer do staff members have to worry about a patient picking up the phone to ask a question. Interactive education in multiple formats can be delivered in bite-size pieces at the exact time they need them to help reinforce the information that a patient should know when they need to know it.

The same patient technology can be utilized to collect and measure patient outcomes. Whether it is patient reported outcomes or patient satisfaction surveys that most payers and organizations such as the Joint Commission demand, patient management technology can help improve outcomes and assist in capturing the data. Not meeting certain compliance rates with these measures not only has an impact on quality ratings, it also will have direct financial ramifications.

Finally, with a patient management technology the process to identify and address critical issues can be streamlined. Many institutions are still managing patients with excel spreadsheets or even using a white board. While most patients will do just fine, these methods are not efficient or scalable. Just a couple preventable readmissions or outliers can have a huge impact on financial outcomes. Patient management technology can permit staff to manage critical issues by exception for those patients that need the most attention. Technology solutions can be used that will monitor critical issues during the episode of care, asking the patients to identify potential warning signs like infection, blood clots, pain, or digestive issues through a simple Q & A interface. If a warning sign is identified, it can trigger an alert to the patient, family members, and providers so that the proper intervention can be identified proactively.

These are just a few of the many ways health providers of all sizes can use patient management technology to manage internal and external challenges and provide a more comprehensive care experience. Other examples include prompting medication adherence, promoting proper rehabilitation, and triggering general wellness activities.

Through patient management technology providers like VOX Telehealth, hospitals can optimize patient participation by virtually holding a patient’s hand throughout the episode of care to remove gaps in the care continuum. For patients, who often have to go weeks between visits with the hospital or their doctors prior to or after surgery, VOX connects all touch points that occur throughout the episode of care, making them feel less isolated. When implemented, patient management technology, such as VOX’s, has the ability to improve care coordination, improve patient outcomes, and aid providers in delivering a better patient experience.

For more information about VOX Telehealth and its orthopedic platform, the OrthoCare Program, 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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