A longtime leader in healthcare improvement, we’re developing new ways to revolutionize the industry.
Across the continuum of care (CoC) in the U.S. (i.e., wellness services to chronic care and everything in between), there’s a widening gap between healthcare providers and their patients that’s impacting the delivery of the most-effective care. Many of us have experienced what it’s like to be in that gap through our own healthcare journeys or alongside a loved one. I most recently experienced it with my 87-year-old father who underwent minor surgery.
After the procedure, my father went home with a few new medications, multiple instructions, two new doctors and a wallop of a wound. Within 48 hours, we were back in the emergency department, received more medications, met with more doctors and were given more instructions. Fortunately, all turned out well for my father in the end but, for several weeks, our lives were interrupted, and we were on an emotional rollercoaster due to these experiences.
1. Interoperable healthcare data. A major factor in achieving a cohesive provider-patient experience is a seamless exchange of data among information systems throughout a patient’s journey along the care continuum. The issue? Most of today’s healthcare data lacks interoperability. It’s hidden away in disparate, incompatible systems that make it difficult for providers to share, instantly view, analyze and interpret patient data, and thus, the result can be inefficient, disconnected care.
2. Lack of or outdated technology. While much of our lives can be managed with a simple click, the technology that drives healthcare provider operations has largely not kept pace. And for smaller CoC providers, critical technologies such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and procurement platforms can be difficult and expensive to deploy, putting them out of reach for many.
ERP systems play an essential role in a healthcare organization’s daily operations, including effective supply chain management; however, most are not scaled for the specific needs of CoC providers. A digitized procurement platform can improve processes and efficiencies between CoC providers and suppliers, enabling providers to quickly place orders via mobile devices, easily track and maintain inventory levels and route invoices on one system. Without these technologies, a streamlined workflow that puts essential supplies into the hands of clinicians when they need them is jeopardized.
3. Cumbersome manual processes. Due to technology challenges, the healthcare industry still largely relies on inefficient, manual processes to get routine administrative work done. Think: filling out paper-based forms for collecting patient data, billing and managing claims or calling in prescriptions by phone rather than sending electronically. It’s all a reflection of the disconnected care that providers and patients navigate. And behind the frontlines of patient care, manual back-office processes in the supply chain contribute to a disconnected provider-supplier experience that can result in costly inefficiencies and even put patient care at risk.
4. Balancing the cost of care with reimbursement received. The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact many providers’ ability to stay fiscally viable, which can impact their ability to provide safe, effective care. The recoupment of payments associated with the COVID-19 Accelerated and Advanced Payments (CAAP) Program affects providers’ Medicare reimbursements. And then there’s the unwinding of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) with federal funding coming to an end. Providers need to plan for how they’ll transition to post-COVID-19 operations and ensure continuity in patient care – all while mitigating workforce shortages, battling inflation and managing other stressors on the bottom line.
Here are four ways we’re working to bridge the gap:
The CoC is a vital component of the U.S. healthcare ecosystem, where the vast majority of provider-patient interaction occurs. Given its breadth and depth, it’s imperative we work together to create more connected operations and experiences that enable cohesive, quality care delivery. Providers will benefit, patients will benefit, suppliers will benefit. It’s a win-win-win all around.
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