Healthcare is naturally reactive. Reactive healthcare is the process of reacting to an adverse condition, symptom, disease of injury. For instance, if someone falls and twists their ankle, they may react by visiting a doctor. Based on the doctor's diagnosis, they may provide the patient with a cast to help their ankle heal. This is an example of reactive healthcare because both the patient and the doctor are reacting to the symptoms presented to them at the moment.
However, most people only focus on reactive healthcare by visiting a doctor's office only when a problem arises. Many health providers and wellness experts emphasize the importance of proactive healthcare. Proactive healthcare involves taking action before symptoms manifest. For example, rather than falling ill, it is best to take proactive approaches towards better health quality by boosting one's immune system, or making regular doctor check-ins to assess one’s health status.
Proactive healthcare promotes the shift to value-based care which has been proven to lower medical costs and improve population health. Beyond improving patient health and lowering medical costs, the proactive model enables the care team to partake in holistic care.
The key to proactive healthcare lies within the quality of patient engagement and clinician support. To improve patient outcomes, make use of the five proactive tips listed below.
1. Take care of your care team
It is normal to automatically center healthcare on patient support to improve patient outcomes. However, ensuring that your clinicians are properly supported is crucial to help them perform better. A positive work atmosphere and working conditions can have an impact on patient outcomes. For example, a recent U.S. study on the work environments of nurse practitioners observed a strong correlation between better work environments (i.e., quality management, investment in staff development, better staffing) and reduced patient mortality. To understand if you are supporting your clinicians, rely on surveying your care team on their current experience as well as their suggested improvements to adjust your work atmosphere based on the results.
2. Supportan efficient patient journeythrough greater transparency
The care team should engage patients in the collection of treatment data. Healthcare providers need to make their outcome results transparent. This practice allows patients to be informed on their treatment progress, but also provides useful quality metrics for the care team to assess the patients needs. For example, the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) that is used by American health providers to measure performance of care fails to properly account for actual care outcomes. Most of the HEDIS data consists of diagnostic procedures, medication and other data rather than the overall outcome of the treatment. This information, while useful, is often not enough to access the quality or process of the treatment plan leaving gaps in knowledge. Engaging patients in their health journey through greater transparency fills in gaps in necessary data to provide seamless care coordination.
3. Promote well-informed diagnoses
The number one cause of malpractice claims in the U.S. is due to diagnostic error. The patient journey must be efficient and free of error to ensure that the treatment is effective. Correct and timely diagnosis leads to positive patient outcomes because misdiagnosis can greatly affect a patient's health. It is critical for clinicians to perform reliable evidence-based diagnostic procedures in order to avoid incorrect treatments and readmissions. There is always potential for human error as research suggests thatdiagnostic errors affect one in 20 patients in the United states annuallywhich impacts about 12 million Americans each year. However careful procedures in place to avoid potential errors can increase patient outcomes.
When diagnoses are made, information can tend to be lost in translation. Therefore, health providers should ensure that their patients understand their diagnoses. To improve patient understanding we suggest following these steps:
4. Follow-up with your patients post-discharge
According to the U.S. annual national patient survey, the CAHPS Hospital Survey, about 14% of respondents reported that they did not receive any information about what symptoms or health warning signs to look for in the future and did not have conversations about the need for a follow-up appointment post-discharge.
Positive patient outcomes increase when patients are actively involved in the treatment process. Allow your patient to be active in their continuation of care. To ensure the success of a patient's treatment plan, a seamless flow of information along the patient journey is crucial. It is important for providers to provide comprehensive treatment, but without careful consideration of the patient's status post-visit, the possibility of readmission and decline of health is high.
5. Promote positive patient experiences
Through enhancing communication and outreach strategies toward the patient, care teams can avoid negative patient experiences. For example, avoiding errors in care management and patient communication increases patient confidence and trust in their care team. A positive experience can strengthen the patients experience in their care journey which allows them to be more active in their care plan.Some positive experience promotion practices include:
Proactive healthcare trumps reactive healthcare in terms of patient outcomes, healthcare costs, and a myriad of other reasons. Therefore, care teams must incorporate systems and strategies that promote proactive healthcare practices.
This is where Tellescope can help. We provide health clinics with digitally connected care to support better patient outcomes. Our virtual software promotes a smooth patient experience as well as intuitive patient management tools for care teams. We have integrated a multitude of useful features that allow health care providers to easily collect and access patient data,collaborate with the entire care team, keep in touch with patients and track engagement all in one interface. Fill out the form below to request a demo and see how Tellescope can assist your organization in being more proactive with your healthcare practices.
Originally published: March 29, 2021
Last updated: March 29, 2021