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How to Adopt a Best Practices Patient Relationship Management Approach

By 07.17.18
Reading time: 4 minutes

A recent article published by Fierce Health discusses how Providers are struggling to provide a consumer-centric approach to care.  In a study published by Kaufman Hall, only 8% of provider institutions are ahead of the curve from an innovation perspective as it relates to consumerism.  With the increased focus on patient centricity in healthcare, this is a disappointing result to see as a patient. Most discussions today around patient centricity focus on allowing patients to shop for options as it relates to cost, quality, and provider performance.  Is this good enough? Why as an industry are we not moving more aggressively? This is a start, but if we want to really place the patient at the center of their care, a broader view is required.

Taking a step back to delivering on a comprehensive patient experience, as an industry, has our experience with EMR adoption and meaningful use clouded our thoughts with regard to future technology adoption?  In many cases, the cost of deploying this core, necessary technology (EMR) has been daunting and has taken many years for purposeful adoption and use. Is this scaring us away? When we look for a solution which can engage patients on an end-to-end health experience (360 Degree View); provide intelligent care collaboration; and take patients on a journey to better health.

For this type of solution, we are not looking at the same level of expenditure and time.  Depending on how you define your initial use case (value), the cost is not at the same multiple of millions of dollars and multiple years of deployment that we have seen in the past. In my experience, significant value can typically be delivered in a four to six-month timeframe.

So where do you start? Every organization will have a different starting point.  Silverline has created an optimized journey that any institution can follow. Most folks would jump right to establishing a framework for collaborating with their patients and providing an enhanced experience.  We believe in a perfect world there is a best practices approach:

1) Establish Your Provider Network.

Creating and defining your provider network is a critical first step in managing patients and navigating them within your healthcare system. The successful result of this is two-fold: create continuity of care for your patients to increase efficiency and effectively track quality, and increase opportunities to retain downstream revenue within your network. It is also important to track provider participation in your individual ACO’s, risk-based programs, and value-based programs.

2) Create an Entry Point for Your Healthcare System.

Once you have your provider network defined, the next step is establishing the main conduit for consumers to enter your healthcare system and the primary tool in keeping patients loyal your providers. The primary hub of communication between consumers or patients and a healthcare system is a Patient Engagement Center or Patient Access Center. While many consumers search websites for their healthcare content, it’s important to offer opportunities to speak directly with healthcare professionals via phone, chat, or email.

According to Salesforce’s 2017 Connected Patient Report, eighty percent of all patients communicate with their PCP via phone to schedule appointments. Millennials are twice as likely to use email and nine times more likely to use text to schedule an appointment.  So, the first order of business is omnichannel support. Expand your solution to include service lines to include find a provider, referral management, event registration, and nurse triage. Implement a concierge care model, providing access to defined patient groups such as at-risk patients or employer contract patients through unique channels. It is also possible to connect to drive patient engagement through preventative care outreach, and targeted outreach based on diagnoses and chronic conditions.

3) Enable Your Ambulatory Care Coordination Strategy.  

The first step in developing a successful ambulatory care coordination model is to know your patients. In order to effectively manage risk (increasing shared savings and quality incentives while reducing readmissions and unnecessary care), a healthcare organization must risk stratifying its patient population to identify high risk and high-cost patients in real time. 

Disease management is an important component of a successful ambulatory care coordination model. Organizations can develop and implement disease-specific care plans and protocols for diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, hypertension (HTN).

Preventative care plays an important role in increasing the quality of care while reducing the cost of care for at-risk patients. Silverline’s Preventative Care accelerator allows for the tracking of preventative care campaigns and associated referrals utilizing HEDIS measures as the framework.

4) Focus on Transitions of Care.  

Many patients require a carefully scripted “step-down” care transition from an acute stay to skilled nursing, then to outpatient rehabilitation or home health. These transitions are often initiated by a case manager in the inpatient setting, but once the patient leaves the hospital, there’s little contact or follow- up post-discharge.

While hospitals have traditionally served as the focal point for initiatives to reduce readmissions, it’s clear that there are multiple factors that impact re-admissions involving downstream providers the patient’s return to health and home. Not to mention keeping track of these activities is often difficult or non-existent given they often operate outside of an EHR.

The key components in developing a successful Care Transitions Program include the following:

  • Begin discharge planning before the patient is admitted
  • Coordinate with a case manager during the inpatient stay
  • Reinforce discharge plan and instructions
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Develop a follow-up and outreach plan

5) Enable Specialty Care Coordination in Your Patient Engagement Journey.  

Every healthcare organization has programs or service lines that they are known for in their community and drive significant revenue into their healthcare system. They all provide disease-specific care utilizing evidence-based protocols.  

At the end of the day, it’s about delivering a personalized end-to-end experience for your patient community.  Whether it’s providing personalized omnichannel communications based on diagnosis, demographics, or care plan activity, emails, and registration to events or education based on a specific condition, it’s all about having a 360-degree view of the patient and providing a comprehensive set of tailored experiences.

Since joining Silverline’s experienced Healthcare Team, I’ve noticed their unique appeal includes a strong industry focus combined with deep Salesforce experiences, a clear point of the view in the market, and best practice accelerators to drive the industry forward. Read my recent article that dives into their industry positioning. For more information, contact me at [email protected].  I welcome the opportunity to hear about your journey.

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