Guest Post: Sun Health’s Community Health Focus Promotes Patient Engagement, Healthy Living

JDrago headshot 2-2013Jennifer Drago, FACHE, MHSA, MBA, Vice President of Business Development, Sun Health

What do you envision or expect will be the most significant opportunities for the population health management industry in 2014?
I believe that the biggest opportunity our industry has is in educating health care consumers about the role they play in maintaining and improving their own health, especially when living with one or more chronic illnesses. If providers and payers alike are able to provide opportunities and reduce barriers for consumers to undertake behavioral modifications to improve their health and well-being, we may encourage positive change that not only benefits the consumer, but also decreases financial and resource strains on the entire health care system.

At Sun Health, we’ve focused on providing education and self-management support that assists community members in having a successful recovery. Through our Care Transitions program, nurses visit patients in the hospital, again when they are home and follow up with phone calls during the post-discharge period. Care Transitions nurses educate and monitor adherence to medication schedules, share information about what signs and symptoms to watch for following a major chronic disease procedure or hospital stay, and connect participants to community resources such as transportation and home-delivered meals. The ongoing support and guidance encourages patients to take ownership for their health, and has reduced readmissions for the target population by more than 60%. Next, we are launching a Center for Health & Wellbeing where those with chronic disease can benefit from personalized health assessments, action plans designed by dietitians and exercise physiologists, and assistance in making lifestyle modifications when needed.

What will make 2013 a successful year for our industry in policy, research, and technology?
Identifying triggers that negatively impact health and collaborating to address these issues. In the retirement areas that Sun Health serves, for instance, we’ve learned that a lack of transportation options is a major reason why some seniors can’t access health care services, stay connected via social engagements and even shop for groceries. Although our core service is community health programs, we believe we must support transportation improvements in our area. If we can help solve a significant issue such as transportation, we will enhance the health and wellbeing of our community which, in turn, assists in achieving our mission of being an advocate for healthy living.

What are some of the opportunities and avenues for collaboration in the industry, as well as to the importance of communication for engagement?
We absolutely have to collaborate to address the impact of chronic disease in new ways that activate and engage patients in self-monitoring their conditions and in undertaking lifestyle modifications where needed. In addition, involving patients in the story telling and testimonials that share the benefits also would further personalize the impact of population health and ultimately, conserve valuable resources for both providers and consumers.

______

Guest Blog Post Disclaimer CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice on Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

Advertisements

Guest Post: Walgreens Community Based Population Health Management: Targeted, Coordinated and Connected Care

As part of its ongoing efforts to transform community pharmacy, and recognizing the important role its pharmacists are positioned to play in healthcare today, Walgreens in January 2013 became the first retail pharmacy chain to gain CMS approval to operate Accountable Care Organizations in collaboration with three physician partners. The ACOs’ objective is to meet the triple aim of improving healthcare delivery and patient satisfaction while lowering total medical spend.

The current healthcare landscape has paved the way for Walgreens to expand its clinical services to meet the demands for greater access, convenience and affordable healthcare. Walgreens’ ability to help identify, manage and control health issues in the community complements physician care delivery to provide an extra level of care and the ability to coordinate care across the continuum.

Walgreens’ 8,100+ pharmacies, 400+ Healthcare Clinics and 70,000+ trusted health care providers deliver high quality, personalized services and comprehensive care in thousands of communities nationwide. Its retail pharmacy, infusion services, Healthcare Clinics, specialty pharmacy, employer-based health centers, and host of consumer, hospital and gap management programs offer a comprehensive and unique portfolio of healthcare services to support partners’ care models and patient population, while making Walgreens a strategic partner of choice for a growing number of hospitals, health systems and physician groups.

Health Care Reform offers new opportunities for Walgreens pharmacists to play a key role in integrated care teams and work collaboratively with physicians to provide patient centered care. When pharmacists have participated in integrated care teams, there have been reduced hospital readmissions, enhanced care coordination, improved medication adherence and improved outcomes. (Health Affairs, 2013)

The significant opportunities for population health management exist in collaboration between physicians and community providers, such as pharmacists and nurse practitioners. Walgreens community based population health management strategy extends the primary care driven care plan to leverage all of Walgreens nationwide health care assets in a targeted, coordinated and connected fashion.

The value of the community providers offers patients seamless and convenient access to high quality care that is coordinated with the original physician care plan. Where traditional care management focuses on the complex chronic patients only, Walgreens healthcare touch points provide patient engagement opportunities to maintain healthy behaviors, modify high risk behaviors, control chronic conditions, manage acute conditions, provide education for health delivery choice and reduce readmissions.
There is approximately $700B of waste in the American Healthcare system, with 33%-69% of hospital admissions resulting from poor medication adherence (IMS Health, 2013). By working collaboratively with other providers in the healthcare community, and introducing innovative programs and services that foster coordinated care to help meet the triple aim, we can have a significant impact on the nearly $213 billion cost to the U.S. healthcare system that comes from non-adherence to medications (IMS Health, 2013).

Walgreens medication therapy management and adherence programs provide patients with follow-up calls and full medication reviews. Patient engagement is key to success. Patients who are involved in care planning can better understand their options and can be accountable for their care. As more systems take more risk in the health care spectrum, Walgreens looks to partner with more integrated, risk-bearing entities to provide targeted, connected and coordinated approach to care delivery.

______

Guest Blog Post Disclaimer CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice of Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

Guest Post: Creating Value through Effective Member Engagement in 2014

kellmore_largeBy Kathleen Ellmore, Vice President, Consumer Engagement, Silverlink Communications

With the advent of the ACA, consumerism has become both mandatory and immediate. Creating value, especially in the eyes of the consumer, will be a tremendous opportunity for health plans and others in 2014.

Engagement through communications will be key, especially since healthcare insurance is an abstract product. Consumers can now vote with their feet in the same way they operate with the rest of retail world. Effective communications give health plans the ability to create proactive, cohesive, engaging experiences that will validate the consumers’ plan choice, as well as build trust between the plan and its membership.

Data management and analytics will increase in importance. While health plans already have a variety of data, they now need to capture the new class of engagement data to understand what is motivating members to change behavior. Tools and technology to capture, analyze and share the combined data and insights across the organization will be critical. Once plans unlock the secrets of behavior change on both an individual and aggregate level, they will have the keys to solve the complex equation of improving health and lowering costs.

Becoming member-centric is a company-wide sea change. Understanding and respecting consumer preferences will be a “must-have” for competing in the new world of healthcare consumerism. In addition to gathering language, channel and frequency of communication preferences, communications need to be coordinated across all channels and departments to speak with the member in one voice.

Increasingly, consumer health engagement will be mobile, fast and personal. Multichannel efforts will continue as proven vehicles for smart, results-oriented communications and member engagement. According to a recent infographic from mobile services company GreatCall, 52 percent of smart phone users already gather health-related information on their phones. Additionally, 83 percent of participants in a recent health consumer engagement program completed by Silverlink indicated that SMS text messages helped them think about or make lifestyle changes such as eating better or getting more exercise. Finally, consumer research is going to be an avenue of change. Gathering consumer attitudinal and behavioral data will provide additional opportunities for health plans to know their members and understand what consumers perceive as relevant value.

Undoubtedly, the industry is on the verge of an historic change and evolution. Many plans are redefining their member relationships to drive lower costs and create value through becoming more member-centric. As we move through 2014, effective consumer engagement will lead to improved health, the best value of all.

______

Kathleen Ellmore is Vice President, Consumer Engagement, at Silverlink Communications, the proven leader in engagement management solutions for healthcare organizations. Our solutions enable health plans and other key stakeholders to engage and support their members in smarter and more effective ways. We deliver better control, coordination and effectiveness in member communications to promote healthy and loyal behaviors.To learn more about what makes Silverlink the leader in consumer health engagement, please visit http://www.silverlink.com, email info@silverlink.com, or call 1.781.425.5700.

______

Guest Blog Post Disclaimer CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice of Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

 

CCA Research Priorities for 2014 – Get Involved Today!

After a lengthy process of consultation with members and industry stakeholders, CCA Board of Directors have approved the organization’s 2014 research agenda, with a focus on engagement, value on investment and measure development. The research work will seek to address these issues as they apply across markets and to align with health care policy with an increased collaborative efforts with the CCA Government Affairs Committee.

2014 Research Agenda

In October, the Quality and Research area of CCA began the process to develop and seek comment on a 2014 Research Agenda. This three-step process has provided the opportunity for additional feedback from members.

  1. Hosted a strategy meeting with key Quality and Research volunteers in conjunction with CCA Forum 2013. During this meeting a list of draft research priorities was shared with the group for comment, feedback and potential additions to the list.
  2. Distributed the revised draft list in an electronic survey format to the Quality and Research Committee and the CCA database. The survey asked respondents to prioritize the list based on their own perceptions of the research needs of the industry and the CCA membership, as well as to comment on the areas or suggest topics not on the list.
  3. Summarized the prioritization and comments from the survey and convened a small group of members to use this feedback to develop the final 2014 research priorities list.

With feedback from the first group, a list of criteria was developed for the survey respondents and final prioritization in steps 2 and 3. Criteria included:

  • Important to industry.
  • Important to CCA members.
  • Feasible to accomplish within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Leverages existing research.
  • Potential to influence CCA advocacy efforts.
  • Potential for international relevance.

The outcome of this process is the following proposed list of priorities for Quality and Research in 2014:

1. Engagement (individual and organizational)

I.            Definitions & Measures

i.         What does it mean, within the context of population health management?
ii.          How can it be measured?
iii.           How can it be reported?
iv.           How does it relate to other elements of population health management?
v.          How does health improve engagement within the organization?
vi.           Use and effectiveness of technology

II.            How do you increase Engagement?

i.           Communication
ii.           Culture
iii.            Incentives (Outcomes Based)

2. Value on Investment

I.         What is it?
II.           How is it employed in the industry?
III.           Best practices / empirical evidence of concept
IV.            Case studies
V.           Role of technology

3. HERO-CCA Measure Development

I.          Pilot v.1 measures, survey employers to determine adoption, and update measures
II.            New definitions of health

The 2014 research agenda will seek to address these issues as they apply across markets and to align with health care policy (through the CCA Government Affairs Committee) as much as possible.

We also recommend the formation of a Physician Liaison Group. With the physician as the primary caregiver and bearing the burden of risk in the current health care system, CCA will create an advisory relationship with physician and provider groups for guidance on current research initiatives.

In addition, the CCA Data Advisory Board will continue to work toward final recommendation of the next research study and the requisite funding.

%d bloggers like this: