Today's post is inspired by a post from Ginny Kenyon's blog entitled 5 Ingredients That Make Your Blog More Delicious authored by guest-blogger Scott Sider. I love a lot of things about this article. First, as recently as 3 or 4 years ago we used to talk about the need for a blog and even the need for a web site for your home care agency. The fact that this blog is about improving your blog is great news. It shows that most of you are on board and "in the conversation." I also like the food analogy about making your blog "delicious." The author is from a writing company called Novo Writing, and it shows in the creativity of the post.
I won't give you the five points but instead will only share the appetizer, where he recommends the following:
Kaiser Health News reports that Oregon's new Coordinated Care Organizations are already making an impact on ER visits and lowering total costs for the state's costliest patients, also know as "Frequent Flyers" who visit ERs frequently and result in a large share of admissions. While still very early in the program, the program will run for five years and attempt to prove that providing more proactive help to patients will improve their health while simultaneously reducing the number of ER visits and lowering overall costs.
Coordinated Care Organizations are authorized in the State of Oregon to focus on the state's Medicaid patients in an effort to get them the care they need, help coordinate services among numerous providers, and help patients transition among care settings. Care Coordination otherwise falls to the patient or a family member, as traditional fee for service models have never accounted for the need to have a Coordinator. The results of ignoring the need to coordinate care are abysmal, and even modest efforts to help coordinate services for patients have shown meaningful improvements in both cost and quality.
The $2 billion project in Oregon, which utilizes a network of Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) that the state authorizes, is expected to result in savings of more than $2 billion in the first five years. Once established, programs like this should be self funding and fully sustainable as they expand.
Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and a former emergency room doctor, makes the case that should Oregon's model ultimately prove successful and were it to be adopted by the other 49 states, the net savings to the system would be in excess of $1.5 TRILLION over 10 years. To put this in perspective, Congress is looking to find ways to cut Medicare spending by a mere $1.2 trillion. Hmmm. Perhaps the way to reduce health care spending by the goverment is to actually develop models like this that are both more effective and more efficient? Most health care experts agree on this but are divided on exactly how to do it. Models like Oregon's CCOs, federally funnded Care Transitions Initiatives (CTIs), and Accountable Care models are essentially aimed at solving the same problems of cost and quality. Even local programs to simmply reduce hospital readmissions essentially aim to solve some of the same problems. Organizations like the National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC) dedicate their work to investigating ways to better manage Care Transitions to achieve better results and reduce overall costs of care.
Of course, there are challenges. Does Oregon's early success guarantee ultimate success? Can these first models such as Oregon's CCOs support large scale? Will ACOs succeed? Can populatons of patients be analyzed properly to identify those at greatest risk? Can care delivery be managed efficiently on a large scale? Technology must be leveraged to identify patients, enable and measure these models, keep costs low, and assure scalability to support larger patient populations. Post acute providers will also be a big part of these answers and must also automate to improve efficiencies and scale now.
Current technologies are often an obstacle to these programs. Traditional Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) such as those from companies like EPIC, McKesson and Cerner are limited to large hospital systems and were built to support an old fee for service paradigm. They were never intended to coordinate multiple providers or different types of services as patients transition among care settings. For that, a new health care specific "work management" platform such as Ankota's is needed. Fortunately, other industries have pioneered these models and developed highly efficient operating models that health care providers can learn from. Wiith reliable and secure mobile and internet technologies already available, it won't be long before these platforms become commonplace in health care, too.
We at Ankota believe that models like this are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible through better care coordination and improved operating efficiencies. That's why we've solved Care Coordination requirements through our Helathcare Delivery Management platform, which connects providers and helps them both coordinate care and operate efficiently. To learn how Ankota's Care Coordination technology enables models like this, click the really cool blue button below and we'll send you some information.
Many Care Transitions Initiatives and Avoidable Readmissions efforts already recognize that social work or other behavioral health services are a key component to the health care ecosystem. Still, many more struggle with how to consistently integrate and coordinate social services with the medical model which is itself not well coordinated. This piece in Fierce Healthcare makes the point that a systemic approach to care that consistently integrates social work into the model both improves results and lowers overall costs. Ankota's technology already helps programs like this coordinate medical and non-medical services in models such as this and allows providers to do so on larger scale and with greater efficiency.
The study adds to a growing evidence showing integrating health and social services can lead to significant savings for hospitals.
"A social worker can create savings equal to his own salary and benefits just by preventing seven readmissions a year--and the patient's quality of life is improved significantly in the process," Shawn Berkowitz, medical director of the study, said in the statement.
The article also references research conducted in the UK that shows that discharges can be accelerated when social services are included. This is the result of faster and more complete assessments when social work is included in the model.
Read more: Study: Social work interventions reduce readmission rates by half - FierceHealthcare http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/study-social-work-interventions-reduce-readmission-rates-half/2013-07-05#ixzz2ZmuSxLGH
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I saw a great article today on LinkedIn that I wanted to share. The original article is entitled "The One Thing Successful People Never Do" and as always I'd encourage you to read the full article there. In a nutshell, the one thing that successful people never do is that they never give up. As children, we were all told that "If at first you don't succeed, try try again" and this article proves how important that is.
As home care leaders, every one of us has made mistakes. Perhaps we wasted money on marketing that didn't work, or really thought that our business would boom based on our relationship with an assisted living facility and it never panned out. But those of us who are still here and love this business haven't given up. We're not afraid to try things and to make mistakes. We're following in the footsteps of some great people, a few of them I'll list here and you can find more in the LinkedIn Article.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is providing technical support to home care customers. This morning I got a note from a customer who thanked me for setting up their holiday payments in the system. Prior to coming on board with Ankota, they had to calculate their holiday billing and pay rates manually and he was genuinely excited to see it happen automatically. Moreover, he took the time to email our support group to thank us. The next time he needs support, guess what, he'll get great service.
Inspired by that email, here are some suggestions on how to get great support from your home care software company:
I will be brutally honest and say that we consider all of our customers like they're our children, and we love them all. But we definitely like some better than others, and the ones that we like the most are the ones who observe the five best practices listed above.
If you've tried the five above approaches with your home care software providers and they haven't been helpful or responsive, give us a call. We'd love to have more favorite children.