By Stericycle Staff | Mar. 12, 2015

We’re all familiar with the idea of healthcare reform – an idea that entered mainstream thought when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed into law in 2010. But an idea that is having just as much of an impact on healthcare delivery is that of healthcare redesign, which occurs from within, at an operational level.

How can health systems and physician practices truly redesign healthcare? A couple of approaches have been published recently.

Utilizing human-centered design for healthcare

In a recent Healthcare IT News article, two brand strategists specializing in healthcare discuss how technology can serve a critical role in improving the patient experience. However, technology is not a panacea; the first task is identifying the patient’s needs and developing solutions using human-centered design.

The authors point out that technology allows providers to translate medical information into ideas that patients can understand. It also connects providers and patients to information efficiently. Finally, technology records information for future access—and it can even be automated to keep patients engaged in their own care. The authors recommend redesigning healthcare technology into a highly reliable point of support for the person who can do the most to improve the patient’s health: the patient. It is possible to design technology to provide them with access to the right information in the right context at the right time and effectively connect them with their own health information and care team.

Models for improving chronic care

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, health care/system redesign ‘involves making systematic changes to primary care practices and health systems to improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of patient care.’ Frameworks, models and concepts such as the Chronic Care Model and the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) can be used independently or together to achieve this.

AHRQ focuses the following areas of healthcare redesign:

Health literacy and cultural competency – clear communication and removing literacy-related obstacles that stem from racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences

Health risk assessment – the process of collecting information from patients to form a snapshot of the patient’s overall health, identify health risk factors and develop a personalized prevention and treatment plan

Patient-centered medical home – includes five critical functions: comprehensive, team-based care; patient-centered care; coordinated care; quicker and better access to care; and a systems-based approach to quality and safety

Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) – groups of primary care clinicians and practices working together, in real-world settings, to investigate questions of importance to primary care practice

Practice facilitation – a support service provided to a primary care practice by a trained individual or team, using a range of quality improvement and practice improvement approaches to build the internal capacity of a practice to improve over time

The reason why healthcare redesign is important, according to AHRQ, is the current structure of America’s health care system makes it difficult for patients to access affordable, effective care—particularly for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, which are among the most common, expensive and preventable health problems Americans experience.

Eliminating gaps in care

A key objective in redesigning healthcare to better manage chronic diseases is eliminating gaps in patient care. Communication solutions that keep patients engaged in their own care, such as Portal Support, Class & Event Registration, Confidential Messaging and Post-Discharge Services can help healthcare organizations to redesign their patient care regimens to ensure the best possible health outcomes. Contact us today at 866-783-9820 to learn more about how these solutions can help you transform care.

Author: Stericycle Staff

Stericycle has been delivering communication services to North American companies for over 25 years. Since 2011, we’ve been blogging about how to deliver best-in-class communications to patients and consumers – providing practical advice and current best practices for both healthcare and commercial organizations. We hope you enjoy and keep reading!
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