Primary care was created as a way to improve on the healthcare system and get patients the care they needed. Unfortunately, what primary care became was complex, frustrating, and ill-suited to the evolving needs of patients, employers, and insurers. Rather than helping people become healthier through insight and prevention, providers were instead forced to react to symptoms and dole out specialist referrals. The focus on production — quantity over quality over care — meant patients weren't receiving the healthcare they needed even as claims (and costs) rose dramatically.
Where the primary care system has failed before, there is still opportunity for improvement — a solid base on which to build, providing a methodology that works for every type of consumer. Advanced primary care is the next natural step in making the healthcare system more efficient at improving health and driving down costs. Learn more about it below.
Power to the Primary Care Providers
Advanced primary care fosters strong provider-patient relationships through empathetic listening and time-rich appointments, then adds valuable services (including care coordination, informatics-based health risk identification, and health coaching) to further improve health and drive down costs.
In this healthcare model, physicians themselves are part of a primary care team that includes other providers like nurse practitioners, allied staff — medical assistants, RNs and LPNs, phlebotomists, social workers, and more — and embedded health coaches to help guide behavior change. Together, they work to treat whole patient health, not just their symptoms, and get patients to take control of their own well-being.
Through advanced primary care, we have the ability to see expanded panels with the right types of care providers working with patients to increase their own self-activation and health management.
Advanced Primary Care: An Alternative to Specialty Treatment
In advanced primary care, many of the services patients look for from specialists can be performed by the primary care team. This reduces the number of referrals, keeping most patient healthcare centralized to one place and one team who can provide the consultation, diagnosis, testing, and treatment they need. Core services include:
Planned Care: annual whole health evaluations, comprehensive physical exams, biometric screenings, health risk assessments, injections and immunizations, travel medicine, and provider-dispensed medications
Unplanned Care: episodic sick and urgent care, along with suturing and basic wounds, sprains, infections, colds and upper respiratory issues, urinary tract issues, and asthma
Occupational Health: medical services that treat work-related injuries and provide care coordination, employment assessments, drug and CDL testing, and workplace safety
Disease Management: managing chronic medical conditions of high-risk, high-cost patients through education — helping affected patients understand their disease, its causes, exacerbating factors — to improve quality of life.
Health Coaching: health coaches trained in empathetic listening and the transtheoretical behavior change model provide the guidance and support patients need to own and manage their own health
When outside care is necessary, the primary care team can provide low-cost, high-quality specialist referrals along with care coordination. This includes scheduling, follow-up, and integration of any additional treatments or prescription medications into the patient's health plan. By doing this, the care team is able to minimize any gaps in communication or care, and stay up-to-date on each patient's needs.
Advanced primary care cuts down the dependence on specialist care, which results in lower costs and a more streamlined, efficient way of delivering healthcare to patients when they need it.
Advanced Primary Care with Vera
Vera is able to build an advanced primary care team to meet the unique needs of a population. If the community needs a Spanish-speaking team or extended hours, that can be arranged. This type of data helps steer all our programming and health services to make them as effective and enriching as possible.
If the primary population is composed of Medicare Advantage, for example, the primary care team might include a specialized nurse and social worker to help attend to the specific needs of that patient set. Since Medicare Advantage patients have more high-risk needs in general, they are admitted to the hospital more frequently. They have a lot more medication, and they need more follow-ups. They may even need transportation and meal support.
No matter the population, advanced primary care enables us to be nimble in meeting patient needs to maximize efficiencies, utilization, and cost-savings.
That's the beauty of advanced primary care: when done right, it provides the appropriate care within the right environment and at the right price.
Join the health revolution
The bottom line is that advanced primary care is the next, best stage in primary care. It's proven to improve health at individual and population scales while reducing costs, claims, and headaches.
Advanced primary care has the potential to jump-start a massive health revolution. It's a healthcare solution that works for every type of consumer. Learn more about it by downloading our free eBook.