New innovations in healthcare are transforming an industry that’s long overdue for an overhaul. We’re seeing major changes in the way care is delivered, paid for, and optimized in order to better serve patients, providers, employers, and insurers. To help you stay up-to-date on all the latest news, we wanted to share a few of our favorite stories related to innovation in healthcare.
Primary care has been rapidly declining since the 1950s, when the “fee for service” model was introduced. The financial incentive to increase utilization of their most expensive services was strong, and health systems were motivated to embrace the new model. With primary care providers positioned as gatekeepers, a new health system was created with high utilization and a significantly reduced quality of care.
The high utilization model translated into packed waiting rooms, as patients struggled to get in to see their providers. When they were able to be seen, visits were rushed, and the care was superficial. People seeking immediate care flooded emergency rooms, which were not intended to treat minor ailments. The market adapted, and more urgent care centers were opened. Though an improvement, this did not address the problem in its entirety. Explains Ryan Schmid: “The access issue was partially solved, but now people were getting disjointed care with no preventative care and little to no condition management.”
Today's world is busy, and people are under more pressure than ever to keep up with obligations, whether they be work, family, or social related. Many feel that they simply don't have the time to prioritize their own health. Just the act of getting to a clinic and meeting with a provider can take up a significant portion of the day. For many, busy schedules are an impediment to regular medical visits. For others, the cost, access, and/or lack of healthcare benefits all act as hindrances in receiving care.
Whatever the reason, not seeing a provider for regular check-ups can pose serious health consequences. Even if a concern seems minor, if not addressed early, it could turn into something more serious down the road.
Dedicated behavioral healthcare is an integral part of every Vera care center. Why? Because the most effective primary care combines physical, psychological, and social approaches to treat a patient’s whole health.
Over 20% of the US population is impacted by behavioral health issues. Behavioral health offers a way to reach that population with real solutions for improving their overall health. And, when behavioral health is integrated into a primary care setting, patients are more likely to engage and succeed.
The current healthcare model is mired with frustration and dissatisfaction. With appointments lasting on average 15 minutes long, the wait times often exceed the appointments themselves. Providers are unable to give sufficient time and attention to each patient. Rather than offering diagnosis, consultation, and treatment, providers are instead hindered by a restrictive referral process.
An effective primary care model doesn't have to work against the existing healthcare system or hospitals. Rather, introducing primary care centers within a hospital network can foster an effective partnership that enhances the overall healthcare experience. By keeping most services “in-house” with a dedicated team, primary care creates more streamlined processes while driving down costs.
For decades, managed care has been the framework for benefit plans. With the promise of centralizing patient care within a single provider system or network, its aim is to contain costs while improving patient health outcomes. However, rather than fully delivering on its promise, the most significant outcome of the managed care model is that it controls access to care.
Isolated Wellness Programs:
With rising healthcare costs, employers needed to get creative with reducing these costs. Some examples may include company wellness programs, promoting healthier lifestyles, and significant savings offers. Popular wellness programs include on-site fitness centers, gym memberships, weight-loss programs, and nutritional education.
With high deductible insurance plans, many patients are forced to wait to see a provider until they have a serious health concern. Without receiving routine care, these patients become part of the pool of high-risk patients, driving costs up even more.
Read more on the failing healthcare innovations and how Vera is working to cultivate a better health system in our blog.