The climate of healthcare is changing. The industry is moving away from the provider-centered approaches of the past to a more ardently patient-centered paradigm that is spreading fast in clinics and hospitals across the U.S. The passage of the Affordable Care Act and new Medicare reimbursement standards from CMS have set a new direction for care delivery aimed at improving patient experience and health.
One good example of this trend is in Omaha, Nebraska where West Corporation is headquartered. A new physician-led practice called “Think Whole Person Healthcare” has recently been launched. The aim is to increase access to services and boost the patient experience while cutting the overall cost of care. The founders recognize that caring for a whole person requires much more than just a single doctor and, thus, have assembled teams of healthcare professionals who work alongside the physician to support their patients. The healthcare teams include pharmacists, physical therapists, nutritionists, case managers and others who coordinate to optimize all facets of the patient’s health. The facility is open extended hours, with some services available 24 hours, seven days a week. Teams function under one clinical leader and strive to deliver the highest quality outcomes.
This is a fascinating model of bringing everything a patient needs into one location. No more driving around town to get needed tests, to see different doctors or to pick up prescriptions. Everything and everyone you are likely to need are co-located in one building.
As the customer engagement model across this entire industry shifts, patients increasingly have an unprecedented amount of control over the way they find, acquire, access and value healthcare benefits and services. This shift is resulting in the “new healthcare consumer,” and those organizations that fail to provide a superior experience are at risk of getting left behind.
Even CMS recognizes the value of treating patients as consumers to improve experience and outcomes. There are several newly released billing codes, including those for Chronic Care Management and Transition Care Management, that now reimburse providers for patient care delivered outside clinical setting. With nearly half of all American adults suffering from chronic health conditions, delivering patient-centered, holistic care beyond the four walls will be critical to the long-term success of healthcare, and an organization’s ability to coordinate and orchestrate patient communications will be a key component of that success.
Whether inside a facility like “Think” or outside the four walls of the doctor’s office, the healthcare industry is experiencing the birth of a new paradigm. The focus on managing patients as customers means better care, improved quality outcomes, increased convenience and better overall patient experience.
To learn more about the West Engagement Center and other solutions focused on patient experience, visit the Healthcare section of the Website.