Compared to other industries, healthcare faces greater pressures on matching labor supply with service demand. With the system reform in the US, 32 million newly insured Americans are seeking healthcare coverage in 2014, resulting to an expected exponential growth in staffing needs and stretching of resources.
To meet the accelerated demand for healthcare services, innovations on workforce are being tested. The 2013 healthcare industry report of Ernst & Young, New Horizons, discusses major trends and innovative approaches “to achieve the triple aim: better care, better health, and lower costs.” Here are four key initiatives from the report as summarized by Dr. William A. Fera:
1. Team Approach
One innovation by healthcare providers is shifting from traditional physician-centered models to patient-focused teams. Typically comprising of advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants and other allied clinicians, teaming up allows physicians to broaden the reach of their capabilities and enable professionals to practice their training and licensure at full extent. Lower-cost alternative can be provided to physicians by mid-level professionals and help fill the gaps due to growing physician shortage.
2. Patient Engagement
New healthcare industry careers are emerging as the system moves toward better-coordinated care. Patient care coordinators serve as advocates, working with patients, caregivers and administrators to reach healthcare goals. Chronic disease management specialists keep patients engaged in their care through motivational coaching. Lay people trained by medical and public health professionals, the community health workers, support behaviors that can improve lifestyle choices. Meanwhile, Grand-Aides®, a new kind of nurse extender, uses telephone protocols and home visits to improve patient access to care and to reduce avoidable emergency room visits.
3. Group Appointments
Holding group appointments can ease the physician’s workload and efficiently treat more patients. With shared visits, a physician can consult simultaneously with up to a dozen patients who have similar medical conditions. Aside from having more face time with their doctors, patients can also gain a support group to actively manage their conditions and become more accountable for their health.
4. Telehealth Technologies
“Care at a distance” healthcare technologies offer ways for providers to navigate resource constraints and manage increased demand more efficiently. Remote monitoring services include the e-ICU which provides synchronous, real-time alerts and notifications that can significantly improve patient outcomes while reducing resource use. Another technology is the e-trauma services that can extend clinical knowledge to remote, understaffed locations to inform critical decision making. Meanwhile, videoconferencing and remote monitoring devices enable patients to connect conveniently with their providers for virtual visits, course correction and improved disease management.
These healthcare innovations open up more modern and practical opportunities not just for the business aspect of providers but also for the patients. Providers can mitigate shortages and maximize resources and at the same time, provide a better service to their clients.
However, quality healthcare is not entirely dependent on doctors and nurses who can conveniently attend to their patients’ needs. If you’re in the healthcare providing industry, it is also important that your services include proper healthcare information dissemination for accurate treatment and data management. You need healthcare information management (HIM). With such innovations and trends addressing challenges brought by system reforms, HIM is also developing to provide better service by securely handling and transmitting medical information.
Outsource your Healthcare Information Management
According to a 2012 survey from Modern Healthcare, more operations are relying upon an outsourcing company in an effort to improve performance in areas that have continually been identified as weak or in need of review. The source found that the largest outsourcing firms saw a 13.1% increase in healthcare clients between 2010 and 2011, which indicates the growing importance of this industry when it comes to outsourcing.
More and more outsourcing companies have started building up core teams that focus on this specific area of expertise. When you outsource your HIM requirements, you can focus on providing quality care to your patients and not worry about documentation and billing.