Shifting care to shift costs
The shift to value-based care, and the emergence of accountable care organizations, are trends that are driving drastic changes in the way health systems provide sustainable, quality care. As soon as medically able, hospitals transition patients to any number of providers (rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, specialty centers etc.), while maintaining arm’s length oversight for the required amount of days to ensure that the patient has achieved the desired clinical outcomes. Shifting more care from acute to non-acute sites of care is a key enabler of value-based care, because it shifts costs to more efficient settings.
The trend is growing: Almost half of medicines administered by physicians, including treatments for serious diseases such as cancer, occurs in non-acute sites of care, according to a recent survey of physicians, versus ten years ago, when the same kinds of treatments occurred in outpatient settings only a quarter of the time.1
Deep HCP-patient connections must be maintained
We believe that there is a key role for supply chain to enable the shift to lower-cost care settings, by supporting healthcare providers (HCPs) to maintain deep connections with patients and allowing patients to receive better care, no matter the setting.
Clinicians value deep connections with patients, because connections allow them to influence the course of treatment. However, when patients are discharged, often with little more than a printout of instructions and a starter-pack of supplies, clinicians lose this connection. As a result, building provider frustration may create the potential for true value-based care implementation to be jeopardized.2 But we see a role for supply chain to solve this dilemma, by helping to maintain confidence in care through transparency measures, and by allowing HCPs to retain connections with patients and their care.
Enabling successful care transitions is key
A key moment of opportunity to help maintain and even strengthen provider-patient connections is discharge. In addition to outpatient and ambulatory care centers, home-care and hospice facilities are also key places that require supply chain to work with clinicians to ensure successful care transitions.
Reassure clinicians, reduce patient anxiety and show real savings
Supply chain’s role in enabling more outpatient care will be a “boot-strapping” exercise of incremental change. The goal will be to reassure clinicians, reduce stress for patients, and tie gains back to real dollars saved. Key solution areas include:
- Minimizing risk in the minds of physicians: Find ways to empower caregivers, attendants, and busy outpatient HCPs to play a key role in patient recovery, by using supplies properly and reporting outcomes accurately. Cardinal Health’s General Medical products and services related to wound care management are designed to be used by patients and caregivers to effectively reduce the likelihood of life-threatening complications.
- Minimizing stress in the minds of patients: Moving from hospital to home can be stressful for patients and at the same time, financially beneficial. Cardinal Health at-Home provides comprehensive, innovative resources to manage the healthcare needs of patients with chronic conditions in a non-acute setting while still allowing the health system to lower overall costs and benefit through reduced patient readmissions.
- Maximizing transparency via data-sharing between home and provider: Nutritional delivery is an example in which a simple and intuitive interface for a patient or caregiver outside of the facility drives usage rates, and cloud-based data sharing keeps providers informed. Cardinal Health Specialty Products keep patient-use in mind, and where a data cloud is launched, data may flow freely between clinicians and home-care providers. Providers feel informed, and that restores the connections they value. Surgical kitting enables the opportunity for procedural supply chain process improvement and driving efficiencies resulting in cost savings and waste reduction. Users of Cardinal Health Presource save time and increase efficiencies for all procedural kitting needs across the continuum of care.
The goal: Replicating inpatient treatment protocols in outpatient settings
While health systems cannot minimize all risks to zero, effective supply chain management can help HCPs retain a feeling of connection with patients and their treatments and recoveries, even as they discharge from acute to post-acute settings with greater frequency and speed. Supply chain can play a critical role by replicating inpatient treatment protocols in out-patient settings, to reassure physicians, de-stress patients, and contribute to better overall outcomes for the health system.