Identifying the best areas for potential cost reduction for Medicare plans, while at the same time delivering improved outcomes and stellar patient service, is a goal shared by all players in the healthcare industry. Finding that balance between cost, service and outcomes is essential for the stability of the costly healthcare system in the United States.
Post-acute care—which accounts for up to 25 percent of a Medicare Advantage plan’s total spend—can help reduce wasteful spending while delivering improved results for patients. However, for post-acute care to deliver on that potential, we need to ensure patient information is accurately communicated during the point-of-care service transitions that are characteristic of post-acute care and take the patient from the hospital to recovery at a facility or at home.
Mishandling information can have serious, costly consequences
The patient’s path to recovery can be a difficult road for those not taking full advantage of what technology offers. If not handled well, post-acute care transitions can end up having the same result as the game of ‘telephone’ played by children all over the world. In the game, the child at the beginning of the line sends a message that is retold to every child in the line, until the last child announces it to everyone else. Invariably, the last player’s message differs significantly from the one originally sent.
In post-acute care, errors in the transferring of information can create road blocks to achieve best patient outcomes, and reduce costs, complications, readmissions and wasteful spending. These errors can include things like failing to accurately communicate a physician’s instructions or noting a patient’s medication allergy. Additionally, the communication breakdown can cause providers to not address the social determinants that impact a patient’s well-being and that affect their access to care.
Technology is the key to change
For years, the industry has been closely following the potential for emerging technologies as the key to finally place the patient at the center of care. That potential is now a reality that is accessible to all healthcare stakeholders including:
- the payers who need to control costs and deliver outcomes;
- the providers who want to deliver value-based care; and,
- the patients and caregivers who want to get the best possible health outcomes and service for themselves and their loved ones.
We are at a pivotal moment where the results we want, and the value we need, are both possible. Technology has delivered on its promise to connect industry players through a seamless platform that, with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for interoperability, is improving outcomes and reducing wasteful spending.