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Providers, Change Your Approach to Patient Relationships


By taking a different approach, providers have an opportunity to transform patient engagement, while greatly improving care and lowering costs.

The intersection of technology with patient care and how the two can work in harmony has been a discussion for many years. Healthcare IT has recently taken a drastic shift toward the patient. The Affordable Care Act, clinical advancements, outcome-based reimbursement, and general consumer expectations regarding care are changing the way providers work, and patients are positioned to be the winners.

"The providers who put patients at the center of their care will succeed in today's changing healthcare marketplace," said Joshua Newman, a physician and chief medical officer and general manager of healthcare and life sciences at Salesforce. Newman will speak at the upcoming HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm, with Steve Milligan, a physician and ACO medical director of Colorado Health Neighborhoods, part of the Centura Health care network.

Their session is titled "Relationships Are the Future of Healthcare," and will provide in-depth information on how Centura Health invested in technology to transform patient engagement while greatly reducing ER visits and readmission costs. In advance of the presentation, they provided insight on the topic with Physicians Practice

Physicians Practice: How can healthcare professionals keep patients at the forefront of what they do and why is that important now?

Joshua Newman: Healthcare providers have an opportunity to change how they approach patient relationships. It's paramount that providers use mobile-enabled technology to meet patients' demands. This enables providers to give concierge medicine focused on patient preference and satisfaction. Caregivers are able to follow up with patients once they leave the clinic, whether it's with an email, phone call reminder, or message on a mobile app.

Steve Milligan: Keeping the patient at the forefront today means having actionable data at your fingertips at the point-of-service. In the past, prior to all this new technology, a physician had to go to multiple places to get lab results, x-ray results and other information, and this took time. The goal is to try to streamline the patient's care at the time of service by utilizing the systems in place. Those systems are here to augment that experience rather than be a detriment or blockade. You can do a lot more for that patient in the exam room with the technology we have currently than we did in the past.

That's important because the model for reimbursing physicians is changing. The model ten years ago was 'the more patients you see, the more you get paid.' The model is still part of that, but it's starting to change to 'the better care you provide for these patients, the more you get paid.'

PP: What tips do you have for healthcare staff hoping to do a better job with integrating technology into their offices?

JN: The longevity of new technology is based on its ability to adapt for tomorrow's advancements, and the biggest indicator of this is the vendor or supplier's partner ecosystem.

SM: What Centura is trying to do is provide providers actionable data at the time of service. We want to put all this data into one place such that a practitioner can go to one place and look at the data to identify gaps in care. Additionally, we're trying to put services in place so we can take better care of these patients through care coordination via technology.

PP: What will participants take away from your session at HIMSS?

SM: Using examples that we'll discuss at this presentation, I want people to walk away knowing it is possible to affect outcomes in patients with the use of technology, and it is something where you may need to think outside the box a little bit. You may need to ask, "Can I use this non-traditional tool in this fashion and will it work?"

JN: Attendees will develop a deeper understanding of the kind of technology making an impact in the medical field and learn how it is changing patient care. We will take a closer look at Centura Health's case study and discuss how its investment in [the cloud] is reshaping patient engagement and decreasing costs.

The most valuable piece of advice I can share with a medical professional is to embrace the technological evolution poised to disrupt the healthcare system. While it may be daunting to some medical providers, this massive shift to a patient-centric structure will provide benefits to both patients and the business. Investing in the right technology improves growth opportunities and allows providers to stay committed to the priorities of the patient, which ultimately equates to higher levels of satisfaction. Our core focus should remain on the patient and the rest will naturally follow.

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