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Patient Engagement is a Vital Necessity with Fee-for-Value Reimbursements
By Geeta Nayyar, MD, MBA, Chief Healthcare and Innovation Officer, Femwell Group Health
In the fee-for-service world, it used to be enough for physicians like me to spend 10 minutes with my patients every few months or so. Today, that transactional and episodic approach to patient care is gradually fading as we transition to value-based healthcare.
Now, with emerging fee-for-value reimbursements, physicians face the challenge of taking care of patients more holistically and keeping an entire panel of patients healthy. That requires an extraordinary level of ongoing patient engagement and follow-ups between visits.
Yet, as the Chief of Healthcare and Innovation Officer for a managed service organization serving some 150 physician practices and 300+ physicians that take care of half a million lives across south and south-central Florida, we know that overburdened clinicians and their staffs don’t have any more free hours in the day to do even more patient engagement; they’re already maxed out.
Automated mobile technologies, along with a cohesive patient engagement strategy, are critical to filling this gap. Assessing our current solutions, we used to have separate vendors for appointment reminders, patient engagement, collections, patient portal, and so on. Taken as a whole, these point solutions failed to address all our engagement needs, including population health management, gaps-in-care outreach and quality measures.
By consolidating our mobile engagement technologies around a single vendor, (and phasing out the point solutions) we were able to transform a disjointed engagement process into a streamlined, integrated patient experience across ambulatory and acute-care settings.
For example, when a patient named Mary is due for an annual Medicare well visit, she receives a text reminder inviting her to self-schedule an appointment. A follow-up text reminds her to bring a list of current medications to her appointment. Approximately 24 hours before the visit, Mary gets a message to check in on her phone and, if she wishes, fill out any forms and self-assessments ahead of time. This replaces the dreaded clipboard with an efficient process that reduces wait times and boosts patient satisfaction.
After the visit, Mary receives a care summary for review on her mobile phone, along with a text reminding her to schedule an appointment with an in-network cardiologist. Later, she receives an alert with a lab results, along with a survey to rate her satisfaction with the service.
The user experience for our mobile engagement solution is simple, elegant and intuitive, so that there’s no need for a lot of staff or patient training. As a result, it’s not unusual for practices to see a 35% increase in gaps-in-care closures and similar corresponding improvements in quality measures such as CG-CAHPS scores.
Notably, we’re no longer losing so many patients at hello. No-shows can be reduced by as much as 20-30%, while increasing appointments per physician – with a significant impact on our bottom line.
The relationship between physicians and their patients comes down to trust: Patients need to know they have access to the care they need when they need it. With mobile engagement technology in place, we’re helping practices build on that strong foundation of trust with a consistent and holistic patient experience.
Geeta Nayyar, MD, MBA, is Chief Healthcare & Innovation Officer for Femwell Group Health, Inc., a managed service organization (MSO) providing business solutions to help physicians and physician practices across southern Florida efficiently and profitably run their practices.