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Tag: health outcomes

Now More Than Ever, It’s About Quality … and Quantity

Guest post by Scott Ciccarelli, CEO, SRS Health

Scott Ciccarelli
Scott Ciccarelli

People perform better if they have a vested interest in the outcome of a given situation. Employees who are given an ownership stake in their company historically perform better and enjoy a higher degree of satisfaction from their respective jobs than do their non-stake-holding counterparts.

Recent research has shown that a similar premise holds true in healthcare. Patients who are engaged in their own care generally have better outcomes and enjoy higher satisfaction in the care they received. According to the American Journal of Managed Care, “A growing body of research has established the benefits of patient activation, which is defined as the knowledge, skills, confidence and motivation to make effective decisions and take action to maintain or improve one’s health.”

According to a 2016 New England Journal of Medicine survey of 340 U.S. healthcare executives, clinician leaders and clinicians at organizations directly involved in healthcare delivery, 42 percent of respondents indicated that less than a quarter of their patients were highly engaged, and more than 70 percent reported having less than half of their patients highly engaged. And to underscore the importance of this result, 47 percent of those surveyed revealed that low patient engagement was the biggest challenge they faced in improving patient health outcomes.

This is not only true for hospitals, but also for specialty care practices. In these environments, it is imperative that practices understand the very specific needs and behavior of their patients, so they can determine how best to conduct effective outreach that will increase patient engagement and patient portal utilization.

Importance of User Interface

A results-driven (or high performance) patient engagement platform helps turn patients into partners in their own healthcare. In addition, a proper next-generation solution supports compliance with MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System), a component of MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act), and with meaningful use (MU), by providing patients the ability to view, download or share their medical record. Payback is many-fold: In addition to helping providers meet regulations through a user-friendly interface, patients are freeing up time for caregivers to spend with them by self-populating data fields that would previously have been handled by caregivers. This streamlining of the patient intake process delivers significant time and cost savings to the practice.

Equally important is a patient portal that helps patients remain engaged while enabling practices to comply with government requirements under meaningful use and the MACRA regulations, thereby increasing Medicare payments and minimizing takebacks. It is imperative that the patient portal seamlessly integrates with the organization’s electronic health record (EHR), health information exchange (HIE) and accountable care organization (ACO), if the practice is participating in one. Ideally, the solution should be able to adapt to any healthcare facility’s IT system—not the other way around. Patient engagement initiatives should permeate the practice’s entire healthcare ecosystem.

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Worldwide Health Outcomes: Smart Healthcare Spenders

The data displayed in this infographic is sourced from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Healthcare Outcomes Index 2014.” This report took into account a number of diverse and complex factors to produce a ranking of the world’s best-performing countries in health outcomes.

The EIU used basic factors like life expectancy and infant mortality rates alongside weighted factors, such as Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) and Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALEs), while also taking aging populations and adult mortality rates into consideration to produce a rounded set of outcome rankings.

The EIU also provided an overview of the expenditure per capita of each country on healthcare, using data from the World Health Organization (WHO). By plotting the EIU’s outcome rankings against spending rankings for each country, we are able to develop a global overview of how effectively countries use their healthcare budgets.

This image is an excellent opportunity to dig into the weeds of outcomes worldwide, based on the finances of healthcare per country and region. According to this data, the US doesn’t stack up so well in the spend-to-return ratio, which is much discussed and often the subject of much debate. While these facts remain well know, the following infographic paints a pretty vivid picture of the truth of the situation and allows us to see healthcare spending a bit more clearly.

What does it say that most of the world’s “developed” countries have worse outcomes than those of the developing world? Specifically Europe as a whole is ranked below much of Africa and the US is listed as far worse that, say, Cuba.

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