Solidarity vs. solitary: Why collaboration means better healthcare
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Historically, healthcare has been adept at achieving highly focused and specialized solutions. Focus and specialization literally permeated the culture and structure of healthcare for many years.
However, some critics consider the segmented way that healthcare establishments have operated in the past far too solitary for today's wider and more inclusive care goals. Collaboration within the healthcare community used to be an often-discussed but seldom-practiced idea.
Yet communication and coordination between different types of companies in the healthcare industry now harnesses the potential to positively alter outcomes, efficiency, and affordability for both providers and patients. Today, with a greater sense of solidarity within the healthcare industry, home care software companies and telehealth providers are some of the most sought-after collaborators being invited to the table.
Redefining relationships and sharing best practices
Collaboration within healthcare is about connecting in meaningful ways that benefit both the care team and the client or patient. It's about moving from a traditional solitary, intraorganization focus to one that crosses those well-formed boundaries, creating a relationship of solidarity in order to better serve patients.
Collaboration works because it takes the best practices of each business, refines them and puts them into practical use for the benefit of the whole system. Streamlining processes, reducing costs and helping patients achieve better outcomes are shared goals that span the entire healthcare industry.
So how do home health software companies and telehealth providers fit within this new collaborative environment? Home health software companies are logistics gurus, helping home care companies manage the many aspects of their business, such as assigning caregivers to clients, storing and managing client data, scheduling client visits, maintaining compliance, tracking finances, providing mobile access and a host of other features.
Telehealth, simply put, drastically increases access to care and usability for patients because it doesn't require the user to travel to an office for an appointment. It also substantially reduces cost for providers by supplementing staffing for monitoring of vital signs and reporting issues to healthcare providers before the problems become acute enough to require hospitalization for the patient.
With reducing readmissions as a new and constant goal, hospitals across the country are beginning to turn to other businesses, such as home health providers, home health software companies and telehealth providers as they seek the critical Triple Aim. Initially developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Triple Aim describes an approach for optimizing health system performance:
- Improving the patient experience, including quality and satisfaction
- Improving the health of populations
- Reducing the cost of healthcare
Home health providers are also searching for solutions that combine their needs for improved business management, streamlined scheduling and care solutions that will make their agency a true partner in care. Working together as a collaborative team, hospitals, home health providers, home care software companies and telehealth providers could achieve:
- Improved patient satisfaction due to quality of life enhancements
- Better staffing efficiencies
- Reduced costs, resulting in better affordability for users
- Fewer ER visits and readmissions for clients
- Increased referrals from hospitals, ACOs, and other healthcare facilities
Collaborations solely between home care software companies and telehealth businesses also make a lot of sense. Home health providers receive referrals from social workers and physicians and follow patients home from hospitals.
If traditional discharge processes do not identify potential for telehealth monitoring, home care software can effectively zero in on the need, alert the home health providers and care teams, and generate telehealth referrals. Implementing telehealth into a home health care practice can result in improved client care and satisfaction, while allowing staff to interact with more clients in less time.
What if the home care software company shared its successes and challenges with the telehealth business? Better yet, what if the two collaborated on an integrated approach to helping home health providers create the most efficient model?
The possibilities and opportunities are vast for helping providers achieve the Triple Aim.
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