Dr. Nancy Snyderman's interview with with Dr. Eric Topol, shown below, aired recently on NBC's 30 Rock. While focused around technology both remote monitoring and at the point of care, this interview illustrates a number of points about how changes in health care delivery models are accelerating.
Dr. Topol is a renowned cardiologist and proponant of technology, and asserts that technologies such as those featured in this piece are already revolutionizing health care. Dr. Topol discusses real examples of remote technologies to dramatically improve care and reduce costs simultaneously. As more and more care moves from hospital settings to patients' homes, post acute providers of all types will be faced with the challenges -- and opportunities -- of integrating new technologies into the services they provde to improve both care and operating efficiency.
"Medicine today is set up to be maximally imprecise."
"Medicine is about as wasteful as one can imagine."
Rest assured, providers, especially as they assume risk for outcomes and costs, are looking at technologies like these to help both patients and providers immediately. Providers like hospitals, Accountable Care Organizations, Care Transitions Initiatives, and the like are embracing these models rapidly.
Whether to avoid readmission penalties or to improve their own financial models, providers are keenly interested in new payment models that force both accountability for results and for care planning & delivery. Reform, essentially, has aligned financial incentives around patient outcomes and costs while making responsible those who are in a position to do something about it: the health care providers. It is under these reformed payment models that providers are able to make decisions to leverage technologies such as those in the interview with Dr. Topol or design new delivery models that make better use of staff and resources -- all while improving outcomes.
So what's changing? Providers are stepping up to assume accountability for care, for starters. They can design and coordinate delivery models now that make "best use" of resources for optimial results and optimal costs, all in the interests of patients. Under these new care delivery models, they use hospital resources only when absolutely necessary, leverage mobile and home based care models to follow up with patients after discharge, infuse antibiotics, provide physical therapy, and so on. Perhaps most important of all, they assign care coordinators that can cross all settings to better manage the patient's experience. The economics of assigning carae managers are compelling and will be the subject of future articles on the Ankota blog.
Whether it's the technology that Dr. Topol discusses, or human resources like a case coordinator to manage care across all settings, we're seeing fundamental change. Under the guise of "health care reform," we're actually using payment reform to put more decision making authority in the hands of key providers. This allows providers to design new care delivery models that improve patients lives and are delivered more efficiently. They use best resources at the best time that create new efficiencies never before possible. The early data from these models is incredibly compelling -- patients are going to the hospital less frequently and are costing the system less. Even after accounting for the additional cost of new care coordination functions.
Coordinating care and leveraging technology. Hmm... Seems we're on to something here.
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