How Healthcare is Changing to Meet the Needs of Patients

group of doctors having meeting in board room

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.

Mega-Mergers

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.

Care Advocacy

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.

For more informative articles, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

male doctor with female patient in hospital

Is There a Doctor in the House? – Healthcare Trends for 2019

In-home nursing care has been available for decades to those unable to make the journey to their doctor’s office or clinic for daily or weekly care. Medication prepackaging, dressing changes, or follow-up visits after surgery, to help doctors manage chronic or acute illness, and end-of-life care are all services available to homebound patients by a registered nurse. A house call from your doctor was common before the 1950s but had become increasingly rare since that time. This is changing as more and more house calls are made by doctors and other advanced healthcare practitioners. These visits are expected to continue to expand into 2019 and beyond.

Value-Based Care

Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance companies have increased their reimbursement to include home visits by healthcare practitioners offering financial incentives, and in some cases requiring these real-time assessments before homecare companies are paid for the care delivered. Face-to-face doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner visits for assessments and re-certification of needs, help at-home patients manage their care when they are unable to travel to and from the office.

Best Practices

For years, doctors relied on the visiting nurse to be their eyes and ears when it came to assessing homebound patients. The nurse gathered information and made their own determination about patients needs, and physical or emotional wellness, and conveyed the patient’s needs to the doctor as objectively as possible. The doctor or healthcare practitioner made decisions for the patient based on the information presented. But nurses aren’t doctors. Best practice means that the most effective and most practical treatment options are ordered based on a real-time evaluation of the patient.

Putting Patient Needs First

There are many business and personal rewards for healthcare practitioners who put the patient’s needs first.

  • Saving patients and their families the pain, exhaustion, and expense of specialized travel just for a checkup or medication refill builds strong bonds between the patient and the caregiver.
  • Ensuring that the standards for best practices are met, by seeing the patient in person to evaluate their care needs, builds trust between patients, doctors, and families.
  • Home visits reduce in-office care costs and offer financial incentives for doctors and other healthcare practitioners to see the patient at home.
  • Patients receive timely care, reducing the number of visits to the emergency room or hospital, and in turn, increasing the pay rates for doctors and other healthcare practitioners who choose to visit the patient at home.

As patient-centered healthcare continues to evolve in 2019, we will all reap the benefits of individualized care tailored to our specific needs. Building trustworthy, cost-effective, and readily available healthcare that meets the standards of best practice means that you benefit, your family benefits, and your doctor benefits. Watch for a future article on healthcare best practices, so that you will know what to expect from your doctor, as well as other healthcare practitioners, in terms of your short-term and long-term medical care.

To learn more about healthcare today, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy .

To read more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog .