Another factor contributing to increased costs across the entirety of the healthcare industry is unnecessary visits to the emergency department from chronically ill patients.
It is estimated that these avoidable visits cost hospitals across the United States $8.3 billion dollars per year, the bulk of which consists of visits from patients with chronic illnesses. Many patients opt for the emergency room as they believe there are no other options for medical treatment, or that the symptoms they are experiencing are far too serious for other outlets of care.
Many in the healthcare industry believe that patients are more likely to use the emergency room, and as a result, be admitted to the hospital, is a direct result of poor care coordination between patient care team members. So what are some strategies your organization can use to improve?
Informing Patients on Alternative Treatment Options
Patients often rely on the emergency room for their medical needs because they are used to depending on it as the first resort for their complex medical needs. This is due to the fact that they have little to no knowledge that different options exist, or they believe that visiting a different clinic or facility will cost them hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket insurance premiums. One way healthcare providers can avoid this is by partnering with other organizations across the healthcare system, or by improving coordination with their established network of affiliated providers.
Specialty clinics, primary care offices, and outpatient treatment facilities should collaborate with hospitals to educate patients that establishments centered directly on their conditions are readily available to help them in their time of need.
Additionally, engaging patients in the discussion early on in their treatment about the costs of alternative options, including what is covered or not covered under their insurance plan, can help reduce ER visits at a later date.
Focusing On The Community and Social Determinants of Health
While most organizations will first look internally to focus on how they can improve the livelihood of patients and reduce the chance of them once walking through the doors of the emergency department, many overlook the importance of looking for solutions outwards, specifically into the communities where patients spend their lives. Examining how and where your patients live can reveal important information into not only how to treat their conditions, but help prevent existing or worsening health problems altogether.
Addressing the social determinants of your patient’s health allows your organization to take a closer look at the factors influencing health and conditions such as the community your patients live in, their social and economic environment, their level of income and education, and the potential stressors that surround them.
This will reveal any possible negative contributions to their mental and physical health, and give you the power to make recommendations on their plans for treatment and their well-being overall.
These tips are just a few of the ways that care coordination plays in enabling better outcomes for patients, but for your physician group or health system see real value and ROI for your care coordination efforts.
Is your health system or physician group struggling to implement successful care coordination strategies? Have you started but are finding that your efforts are fruitless thus far? Don’t fret - we’re here to help.
Download your free copy of The Ultimate Guide To Care Coordination and learn all the basics, the benefits of care coordination, the revenue your organization will see, and how it will help provide better care for your patients.