Eliminating Barriers to Health Ownership

 

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A surprising national election result has triggered a rapid flurry of speculation regarding how healthcare is going to change over the coming years. Certainly, change is coming. As for what policy proposals and changes come to fruition, we’re simply going to have to wait and see.

In the meantime, it is important to remember that professionals across the health spectrum remain committed to securing and providing the best possible care for individuals.

The effort to constantly improve quality of care transcends change in Washington. Quality is immune to policy shift. No reforms will make educating and involving consumers in their health decisions less important. No new legislation will make increasing health literacy a waste of time. As change continues to shake up our healthcare system, ownership of one’s health will remain a critical advantage.

Current Trends: Two Examples

Employers and providers today have more tools at their disposal than ever before to assist in guiding individuals toward a stronger sense of ownership when it comes to their personal health and wellbeing. One trend that has grown in popularity in recent years is concierge medicine. Historically, this model has been a popular service reserved for high-income individuals, but an increasing number of healthcare providers are now finding success offering this service to middle-class populations.

The concierge model is particularly appealing to our “on-demand” culture, as the treatment process is streamlined to eliminate the hassle of long waits and crowded waiting rooms.  An attractive choice among individuals with traditional health insurance, and for those with higher deductibles, this model often features a lower membership fee and cost-per-visit.  In addition to delivering care to your doorstep, many concierge models have also expanded to include pharmaceutical deliveries and lab test sample pickup services.

Another trend to pay attention to is the growing popularity of bundled payments. Bundled payments allow employers to pay a monthly fee per member that covers the multiple services beneficiaries receive during an episode of care. This payment model is especially beneficial for care that requires multiple providers and various care settings. By creating a faster and less administratively burdensome process for high-volume, pre-defined procedures, such as knee or hip replacements, bundled payments are a popular way to incentivize providers to focus on quality and total cost-of-care by allowing the experts to make decisions regarding time and resource allocation. These bundled payments can also be applied to a wide variety of primary care and preventive services that employees can access 24/7.

Moving Forward

Change is a constant reality in our industry, and we rarely have the luxury of knowing with certainty what is coming next. Our challenge is to take advantage of changes, trends, and innovations in the health industry to maximize quality and convenience – and control of your healthcare.

Posted: 1/5/2017 9:54:29 AM
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