Healthcare management is on the move and the changes are both exciting and important. Patients are no longer dependents. They are consumers who require better service and better value, and healthcare today is evolving to meet these demands now and in the future.
Access to Care
The long held belief that a patient should follow the lead and direction of their healthcare provider has gone by the wayside, and the trend toward Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) is being encouraged and established as the new best practice. In the PCMH, the patient is the boss, and clinics and offices have extended their services to meet as many patient needs as possible under one umbrella, offering patients less wait time, and a greater opportunity to direct their own healthcare.
Hospitals, outside laboratories, and doctor’s offices are merging into larger conglomerate healthcare companies. While it is true that there are fewer companies to choose from because of the mergers, these mega companies are creating all-in-one-visit healthcare opportunities. They offer more services and a more affordable cost than small private organizations. By reducing advertising and supply costs, as well as building expenses, these savings get passed on to customers.
Nurse care management and case management has become the norm for patients with chronic and acute illnesses. Nurses are assigned to patients who may benefit from having their own healthcare advocate and team available to them. These care managers help patients get the medical equipment they need, understand their insurance benefits, manage their medications, keep track of their medical appointments, and gain access to other outside services. They also offer healthcare education to reduce or prevent emergency room and hospital visits.
Many insurance and private sector healthcare companies offer nurse triage call centers with 24/7 access to a registered nurse to discuss urgent health-related questions and symptoms. These call centers help customers manage their health during times of illness, make decisions about doctors office visits, and help patients decide when they need to make a trip to the emergency room.
The healthcare trends for 2019 reflect the understanding that patients are educated consumers. Not only are patients able to make informed decisions about the care and services they receive, they are demanding the choice.
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