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GE Healthcare Camden Group Insights Blog

Which Do You Prefer…Tax Preparation or a Visit to the Doctor?

Posted by Matthew Smith on Apr 17, 2017 11:12:52 AM

By Robert Zisman, Vice President, and Mark Krivopal, MD, MBA, Vice President GE Healthcare Camden Group

Spring is here, and Tax Day is almost upon us. Hopefully you’ve filed your taxes. You’re not one of those procrastinators, right?

It’s hard to miss the noise related to potential changes in healthcare and tax policy. Given all the talk on these two topics, comparisons of these two “facts of life” cannot be avoided.

Our united view: As divided as our country may be at times on these two issues, it’s easy to miss where we are united. Most people don’t enjoy doing their taxes, nor do they enjoy going to the doctor. Understand the necessity? Absolutely. Enjoy it? Likely not.

So, let’s explore our common lack of enjoyment for these two industries and dream a bit as to how these experiences could catch up to those we truly enjoy (or at least look forward to).

Access: For most people, booking an appointment with a tax pro or completing your taxes online isn’t that bad. However, finding time on your doctor’s calendar or researching the right provider for a specific ailment tends to be a bit more challenging. Once you’re in—especially if you’re the first appointment of the day—congratulations, you’re golden! If you receive any other appointment slot, be prepared to wait. Sometimes after waiting weeks and months for the appointment in the first place, you realize that you need a different specialist to help you with a problem.  

Ability to figure it out on your own: Fortunately, the ability to do your taxes online has been simplified by companies like TurboTax and their proclamation, “You answer simple questions about your life. We do all the math.” The good news here is that taxes are fairly formulaic, so this approach can work. They also have online experts available for questions. On the healthcare side, when someone has a health issue, where do they turn? You guessed it – Google. Not the best idea when there are websites out there such as WebMD where you can utilize a symptom checker and online doctors to answer questions you may have. While the possibility exists in both industries to figure it out on your own, many still prefer meeting with your tax pro or doctor, eye-to-eye.

Ability to meet eye-to-eye… from your couch! When it comes to doing your taxes online, the market hasn’t dictated the need for video chat. While taxes are complicated - and no two returns are the same - they don’t have feeling or emotions (although many can admit to having wept silently and experienced a sense of loss after pushing the “file your return” button). On the other hand, the human connection in healthcare is still extremely important and virtual doctor visits are beginning to take off. Health insurance coverage is finally catching up to market demand, and several experts predict the number of virtual visits to double over the next several years. However, few physician practices have adopted virtual visits into their care delivery system and workflows. Yet some pioneers have figured this out and offer a glimmer of hope for the future of virtual medicine. For example, Kaiser Permanente performs more virtual visits than in-person office visits. Other progressive healthcare systems are dipping their toes in the world of telemedicine with a focus on improving convenience and reducing costs.

Value for the dollar and payment: Whenever paying for a service, it’s expected that you receive value in return for the money you spend. With taxes, we start with a formulaic approach set by the government. Then, each person has their own, unique opportunity to impact that approach. Fees are usually stated up front, but somehow they always seem to change (rarely decreasing) by the end of the tax meeting. However, if you receive a refund, those fees usually aren’t too hard to swallow (i.e. H&R Block – Get your billion back!). When visiting the doctor, it feels eerily similar—except you often don’t know how much your visit, tests, and procedure will cost until you receive several bills post-visit. Unfortunately, paying your medical bills is far more complicated and seems never-ending. And you don’t get money back…unless you mistakenly pay the same bill twice. Greater transparency from the healthcare system’s side—as well as simplified processes and enhanced consumer engagement—must be developed to improve the overall experience.

You receive the best possible outcomes based on data and science: The tax code itself is extremely complex (74,000 pages) and no two returns are the same. H&R Block recently took a step in the right direction by partnering with IBM’s Watson. They’ve taken H&R Block’s 60 years of experience and 600 million data points to figure out how to deliver each customer the best outcome--in most cases, a refund. In healthcare, it seems we still have an opportunity to catch up. When seeing a doctor in person, the digital data capture of that appointment has not kept up with advancements in other industries. You often check off your symptoms, review your medical history (sometimes electronically, more likely in a manila folder) and arrive at a solution that we “believe” will address the symptoms outline. The ability to use data, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics is becoming more prevalent in healthcare and will soon transform how you interact with your doctor, how hospitals are managed, and more. There are some great highlights recently mentioned on this topic by The Economist.

Looking to a better future: It seems both industries and experiences are making advancements to move up the likeability chain. Yes, potential policy reform still lingers above both industries, but ultimately improving the experience will rely more on innovation led by the public and private sectors. We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below on which experience you like the most and what these industries can do to move up your likeability list.

P.S. Just one more day left to file. Don’t miss the deadline!


Robert_Zisman.pngMr. Zisman leads the GE Healthcare Camden Group’s US operations team, responsible for recruiting, staffing, marketing, business development, operations and knowledge management. He also leads efforts related to 3rdparty strategic partnerships and collaboration with GE Healthcare Partners consulting businesses around the world in areas such as Canada, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. His previous roles included leading large and complex engagements focusing on improving key performance metrics such as growth, margin, quality, patient satisfaction, and sustainable results. He may be reached at [email protected].

krivopal_M-963748-edited.jpgDr. Krivopal is a vice president with GEHC Camden Group and an accomplished senior physician-executive with 19 years of healthcare experience across the continuum of care. Dr. Krivopal is responsible for developing and leading innovative, value-based programs addressing client needs in healthcare organizations, hospitals, and physician practices focusing on transformational system integration strategies, service line optimization, throughput and clinical leadership development. His experience spans not-for-profit and privately held organizations of various sizes as well as start-up environment in the healthcare information technology space. He may be reached at [email protected]

Topics: Patient Access, Patient Activation, Robert Zisman, Mark Krivopal, Integrated Care Delivery

9 Ways to 'Activate' Patient Engagement

Posted by Matthew Smith on Apr 18, 2016 10:53:06 AM

New payment models reward healthcare systems and providers for improving the health of populations. Providers are understandably concerned about the extent to which they can succeed in such models because so much of patient health is beyond their personal control.

Seventy-five percent of our health dollar is spent on chronic conditions that have everything to do with the choices made by patients, notably diabetes and degenerative joint disease as they relate to obesity. Therefore, engaging patients in the management of their own health is vital to achieving population health improvement.

At a recent national health conference I attended, the speaker asked the audience, “What is the least utilized resource in the American healthcare system?” After a few seconds of silence, as thousands scratched their heads for the answer, the speaker called out, “The Patient!”

Accountable systems and providers will increasingly need to learn how to empower and “activate” patients, rather than encouraging their dependence on the system to provide cures. Similarly, providers and care managers will need to reach out proactively to patients, rather than passively waiting for patients to seek care.

Here are nine key approaches to patient “activation:"

1. Charge Patients with the Primary Responsibility for their Own Care

Some patients have never been encouraged to think of their disease as their personal responsibility. Remind them there are some things they can do for themselves that no one else can do for them. For instance, no amount of insulin or other diabetic medication will overcome the effects of excessive eating.

2. Encourage Patients to Monitor their Own Conditions

Provide glucometers and blood pressure devices and ask patients to log their daily readings and progress. Let them know that you expect them to bring their logs (or devices that store results) to visits so you can monitor their progress. Teach them how to adjust their diets or medication to respond to their daily readings.

3. Encourage Use of a Patient Portal If You Have One (And Agitate Your System to Invest in Portal Technology if it Has Not Already Done So)

Make the procedure for signing up for the portal easy and understandable for the patient. Show them how to use the portal to check their own lab results or request appointments. Let them know that you want them to regularly use the portal so it can become a reliable channel of communication between you and them.

4. Plug your Patients Into Community and National Support Groups for their Condition

The local park district may hold free exercise classes, for instance. Many communities have free smoking cessation clinics. National organizations representing almost every major disease have websites that provide educational support materials and may introduce patients to local support groups for their condition.

5. Consider Group Visits

Group visits have several advantages that accrue to the providers (it saves time and enhances revenue) but one of the best outcomes of group visits is that they greatly increase patient engagement. Patients with chronic conditions gain significant emotional support and encouragement from interacting with other people “like them” who share their condition. Social support is one of the most powerful motivators of behavior. Group visits produce surprising improvements in the health of their members.

6. Pull Patients into the Electronic Health Records ("EHR") Screen in the Exam Room

EHRs threaten direct eye contact of health professionals with their patients. Savvy providers have learned to turn this liability into an asset by bringing the patient “into” the EHR as they work, showing them computer-generated charts, for instance, that trend their blood pressure or blood sugar, or to have the patient verify their medications and doses. The EHR becomes an engagement tool, and patient trust is enhanced when they realize the provider is not hiding information from them.

7. Use In-Office Instructional Videos

Some practices run motivational or educational videos in their waiting rooms or have a learning room with a library of instructional videos on a variety of health-related subjects. A well-organized file of printed educational materials is a low-tech way to achieve the same ends. The more information patients can absorb about their conditions, the more engaged they will be with their self-care.

8. Create an Interactive Website

Numerous providers have created their own webpage or blog and write about topics related to the health of their patients. These providers found that this strategy increased the engagement of their patients and generated new business.

9. Convey an Openness to Questions and Support Initiative

Consider the factors that might harm patient engagement and work to reduce them. Be there to support and respond to patients when they attempt engagement. This requires a positive response when the patient asks about their condition and how to improve it. Old-fashioned paternalism, which thwarts patient questioning, kills patient engagement. Patients respond to praise for even modest health improvements they achieve. 


GE Healthcare Camden Group and Prophet recently hosted a webinar discussing their new patient experience study which was conducted to understand the consumer healthcare experience by assessing the gap between patient and providers’ expectations and perceptions. To view this webinar on-demand or stream it to your device, please click the button below.

Webinar, Patient Experience, Patient Satisfaction

Topics: Population Health, Patient Engagement, Patient Activation

Stimulate Patient Engagement with these 9 Ideas for 'Activation' and Empowerment

Posted by Matthew Smith on Oct 13, 2015 9:57:58 AM

New payment models reward healthcare systems and providers for improving the health of populations. Providers are understandably concerned about the extent to which they can succeed in such models because so much of patient health is beyond their personal control.

Seventy-five percent of our health dollar is spent on chronic conditions that have everything to do with the choices made by patients, notably diabetes and degenerative joint disease as they relate to obesity. Therefore, engaging patients in the management of their own health is vital to achieving population health improvement.

At a recent national health conference I attended, the speaker asked the audience, “What is the least utilized resource in the American healthcare system?” After a few seconds of silence, as thousands scratched their heads for the answer, the speaker called out, “The Patient!”

Accountable systems and providers will increasingly need to learn how to empower and “activate” patients, rather than encouraging their dependence on the system to provide cures. Similarly, providers and care managers will need to reach out proactively to patients, rather than passively waiting for patients to seek care.

Here are nine key approaches to patient “activation”:

1. Charge Patients with the Primary Responsibility for their Own Care

Some patients have never been encouraged to think of their disease as their personal responsibility. Remind them there are some things they can do for themselves that no one else can do for them. For instance, no amount of insulin or other diabetic medication will overcome the effects of excessive eating.

2. Encourage Patients to Monitor their Own Conditions

Provide glucometers and blood pressure devices and ask patients to log their daily readings and progress. Let them know that you expect them to bring their logs (or devices that store results) to visits so you can monitor their progress. Teach them how to adjust their diets or medication to respond to their daily readings.

3. Encourage Use of a Patient Portal If You Have One (And Agitate Your System to Invest in Portal Technology if it Has Not Already Done So)

Make the procedure for signing up for the portal easy and understandable for the patient. Show them how to use the portal to check their own lab results or request appointments. Let them know that you want them to regularly use the portal so it can become a reliable channel of communication between you and them.

4. Plug your Patients Into Community and National Support Groups for their Condition

The local park district may hold free exercise classes, for instance. Many communities have free smoking cessation clinics. National organizations representing almost every major disease have websites that provide educational support materials and may introduce patients to local support groups for their condition.

5. Consider Group Visits

Group visits have several advantages that accrue to the providers (it saves time and enhances revenue) but one of the best outcomes of group visits is that they greatly increase patient engagement. Patients with chronic conditions gain significant emotional support and encouragement from interacting with other people “like them” who share their condition. Social support is one of the most powerful motivators of behavior. Group visits produce surprising improvements in the health of their members.

6. Pull Patients into the Electronic Health Records ("EHR") Screen in the Exam Room

EHRs threaten direct eye contact of health professionals with their patients. Savvy providers have learned to turn this liability into an asset by bringing the patient “into” the EHR as they work, showing them computer-generated charts, for instance, that trend their blood pressure or blood sugar, or to have the patient verify their medications and doses. The EHR becomes an engagement tool, and patient trust is enhanced when they realize the provider is not hiding information from them.

7. Use In-Office Instructional Videos

Some practices run motivational or educational videos in their waiting rooms or have a learning room with a library of instructional videos on a variety of health-related subjects. A well-organized file of printed educational materials is a low-tech way to achieve the same ends. The more information patients can absorb about their conditions, the more engaged they will be with their self-care.

8. Create an Interactive Website

Numerous providers have created their own webpage or blog and write about topics related to the health of their patients. These providers found that this strategy increased the engagement of their patients and generated new business.

9. Convey an Openness to Questions and Support Initiative

Consider the factors that might harm patient engagement and work to reduce them. Be there to support and respond to patients when they attempt engagement. This requires a positive response when the patient asks about their condition and how to improve it. Old-fashioned paternalism, which thwarts patient questioning, kills patient engagement. Patients respond to praise for even modest health improvements they achieve.  

Topics: Patient Care, Patient Engagement, Patient Service, Patient Activation, Patient Portal

9 Ways to Stimulate Patient Engagement Via 'Activation' & Empowerment

Posted by Matthew Smith on Aug 28, 2014 12:30:00 PM
By William K. Faber, MD, MHCM
Chief Medical Officer
Health Directions

Patient Engagement, Patient Activation, Accountable CareNew payment models reward health care systems and providers for improving the health of populations. Providers are understandably concerned about whether they can succeed in such models, because so much of patient health is beyond their personal control. Seventy-five percent of our health dollar is spent on chronic conditions that have everything to do with the choices made by patients, notably diabetes and degenerative joint disease as they relate to obesity. Therefore, engaging patients in the management of their own health is vital to achieving population health improvement.

At a recent national health conference, the speaker asked the audience “What is the least utilized resource in the American health care system?” After a few seconds of silence, as thousands scratched their heads for the answer, the speaker called out “The Patient!”

Accountable systems and providers will increasingly need to learn how to empower and “activate” patients, rather than encouraging their dependence on the system to provide cures. Similarly, providers and care managers will need to reach out proactively to patients, rather than passively waiting for patients to seek care.

Here are several approaches to patient “activation”:

Charge Patients with the Primary Responsibility for their Own Care

Some patients have never been encouraged to think of their disease as their personal responsibility. Remind them there are some things they can do for themselves that no one else can do for them. For instance, no amount of insulin or other diabetic medication will overcome the effects of excessive eating.

Have Patients Monitor their Own Conditions

Provide glucometers and blood pressure devices and ask patients to log their daily readings and progress. Let them know that you expect them to bring their logs (or devices that store results) to visits so you can monitor their progress. Teach them how to adjust their diets or medication to respond to their daily readings.

Encourage Use of a Patient Portal If You Have One (And Agitate Your System to Invest in Portal Technology if it Has Not Already Done So)

Make the procedure for signing up for the portal easy and understandable for the patient. Show them how to use the portal to check their own lab results or request appointments. Let them know that you want them to regularly use the portal so it can become a reliable channel of communication between you and them.

Plug your Patients Into Community and National Support Groups for their Condition

The local park district may hold free exercise classes, for instance. Many communities have free smoking cessation clinics. National organizations representing almost every major disease have websites that provide educational support materials and may introduce patients to local support groups for their condition.

Consider Group Visits

Group visits have several advantages that accrue to the providers (it saves time and enhances revenue) but one of the best outcomes of group visits is that they greatly increase patient engagement. Patients with chronic conditions gain significant emotional support and encouragement from interacting with other people “like them” who share their condition. Social support is one of the most powerful motivators of behavior. Group visits produce surprising improvements in the health of their members.

Pull Patients into the EHR Screen in the Exam Room

Electronic health records threaten the direct eye contact of health professionals with their patients. Savvy providers have learned to turn this liability into an asset by bringing the patient “into” the EHR as they work, showing them computer generated charts, for instance, that trend their blood pressure or blood sugar, or to have the patient verify their medications and doses. The EHR becomes an engagement tool and patient trust is enhanced they realize the provider is not hiding information from them.

Use In-Office Instructional Videos

Some practices run motivational or educational videos in their waiting rooms or have a learning room with a library of instructional videos on a variety of health related subjects. A well-organized file of printed educational materials is a low-tech way to achieve the same ends. The more information a patient can absorb about their condition, the more engaged they will be with their self care.

Create an Interactive Website

We know of numerous providers who have created their own webpage and blog on topics related to the health of their patients. These providers found that this strategy increased the engagement of their patients and generated new business.

Convey an Openness to Questions and Support Initiative

Consider the factors that might harm patient engagement and work to reduce them. Be there to support and respond to patients when they attempt engagement. This requires a positive response when the patient asks about their condition and how to improve it. Old-fashioned paternalism, which thwarts patient questioning, kills patient engagement. Patients respond to praise for even modest health improvements they achieve. 

About the Author

William K. Faber, MD Health DirectionsDr. William K. Faber, Chief Medical Officer for Health Directions, is a physician executive with progressive senior leadership experience. He most recently served as Senior Vice President of the Rochester General Health System in New York, where he guided the development of the system’s Clinical Integration program and assisted more than 150 providers at 44 sites through the conversion process from paper records to an Electronic Health Records system (Epic). Dr. Faber formerly participated in the governance of the Advocate Physician Partners (APP) Clinical Integration program and directed APP’s Quality Improvement Collaborative.
 

 Patient Engagement, Patient Service

Topics: William K. Faber MD, Patient Engagement, Patient Service, Patient Activation

Patient Activation: 9 Quick Tips that Promote Patient Engagement

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 5, 2013 12:12:00 PM
By William K. Faber, MD, MHCM
Chief Medical Officer
Health Directions

Patient Engagement, Patient ServiceNew payment models reward health care systems and providers for improving the health of populations. Providers are understandably concerned about whether they can succeed in such models, because so much of patient health is beyond their personal control. Seventy-five percent of our health dollar is spent on chronic conditions that have everything to do with the choices made by patients, notably diabetes and degenerative joint disease as they relate to obesity. Therefore, engaging patients in the management of their own health is vital to achieving population health improvement.

At a recent national health conference, the speaker asked the audience “What is the least utilized resource in the American health care system?” After a few seconds of silence, as thousands scratched their heads for the answer, the speaker called out “The Patient!”

Accountable systems and providers will increasingly need to learn how to empower and “activate” patients, rather than encouraging their dependence on the system to provide cures. Similarly, providers and care managers will need to reach out proactively to patients, rather than passively waiting for patients to seek care.

Here are several approaches to patient “activation”:

Charge Patients with the Primary Responsibility for their Own Care

Some patients have never been encouraged to think of their disease as their personal responsibility. Remind them there are some things they can do for themselves that no one else can do for them. For instance, no amount of insulin or other diabetic medication will overcome the effects of excessive eating.

Have Patients Monitor their Own Conditions

Provide glucometers and blood pressure devices and ask patients to log their daily readings and progress. Let them know that you expect them to bring their logs (or devices that store results) to visits so you can monitor their progress. Teach them how to adjust their diets or medication to respond to their daily readings.

Encourage Use of a Patient Portal If You Have One (And Agitate Your System to Invest in Portal Technology if it Has Not Already Done So)

Make the procedure for signing up for the portal easy and understandable for the patient. Show them how to use the portal to check their own lab results or request appointments. Let them know that you want them to regularly use the portal so it can become a reliable channel of communication between you and them.

Plug your Patients Into Community and National Support Groups for their Condition

The local park district may hold free exercise classes, for instance. Many communities have free smoking cessation clinics. National organizations representing almost every major disease have websites that provide educational support materials and may introduce patients to local support groups for their condition.

Consider Group Visits

Group visits have several advantages that accrue to the providers (it saves time and enhances revenue) but one of the best outcomes of group visits is that they greatly increase patient engagement. Patients with chronic conditions gain significant emotional support and encouragement from interacting with other people “like them” who share their condition. Social support is one of the most powerful motivators of behavior. Group visits produce surprising improvements in the health of their members.

Pull Patients into the EHR Screen in the Exam Room

Electronic health records threaten the direct eye contact of health professionals with their patients. Savvy providers have learned to turn this liability into an asset by bringing the patient “into” the EHR as they work, showing them computer generated charts, for instance, that trend their blood pressure or blood sugar, or to have the patient verify their medications and doses. The EHR becomes an engagement tool and patient trust is enhanced they realize the provider is not hiding information from them.

Use In-Office Instructional Videos

Some practices run motivational or educational videos in their waiting rooms or have a learning room with a library of instructional videos on a variety of health related subjects. A well-organized file of printed educational materials is a low-tech way to achieve the same ends. The more information a patient can absorb about their condition, the more engaged they will be with their self care.

Create an Interactive Website

We know of numerous providers who have created their own webpage and blog on topics related to the health of their patients. These providers found that this strategy increased the engagement of their patients and generated new business.

Convey an Openness to Questions and Support Initiative

Consider the factors that might harm patient engagement and work to reduce them. Be there to support and respond to patients when they attempt engagement. This requires a positive response when the patient asks about their condition and how to improve it. Old-fashioned paternalism, which thwarts patient questioning, kills patient engagement. Patients respond to praise for even modest health improvements they achieve. 

 

About the Author

William K. Faber, MD Health DirectionsDr. William K. Faber, Chief Medical Officer for Health Directions, is a physician executive with progressive senior leadership experience. He most recently served as Senior Vice President of the Rochester General Health System in New York, where he guided the development of the system’s Clinical Integration program and assisted more than 150 providers at 44 sites through the conversion process from paper records to an Electronic Health Records system (Epic). Dr. Faber formerly participated in the governance of the Advocate Physician Partners (APP) Clinical Integration program and directed APP’s Quality Improvement Collaborative.

 

 Patient Engagement, Patient Service

Topics: William K. Faber MD, Patient Engagement, Patient Service, Patient Activation

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