How a user-friendly approach will help build post-acute care model
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), an organization that presents the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the nation with information to improve the healthcare system, knows that a polarizing election year and Congressional control of funding mean that the time to change health care is now. This recognition of need, yet lack of specificity, presents a tremendous opportunity for post-acute providers. With no accepted standard, post-acute providers can pull a page from Steve Jobs’ Apple playbook and define a product their customer didn’t know they needed but now can’t live without.
Hospital systems and physician groups recognize that referring patients to the first available post-acute provider is insufficient, and the imminent prospect of significant financial penalties associated with preventable readmissions has awakened hospitals to the reality that admission-to-discharge can no longer be considered discreet and separable from a continuum of patient care. However, these groups are faced with an array of options to test the waters of care delivery reform, and organization providers/managers are unsure what the ideal post-acute transition for their patients would look like.
So where does the Apple model come in? There are currently “first generation” post-acute care models out there, reminiscent of early MP3 players and laptops. Hospitals and physicians know they could be useful, but they lack a user-friendly interface and unquestionably superior value. Consumers (in this case hospitals and physicians) don’t have a compelling reason to jump to a new way of doing business.
As evidenced by Apple’s market share, there is a significant first mover advantage for early innovators who create the “second generation” product in post-acute care.
“MP3 players existed years before Apple launched the iPod and subsequent demand was created through a user-friendly interface, which converted some of even the most diehard opposition,” said Neal Peyser, senior vice president of consulting at Health Dimensions Group. “By hitching their wagon to early innovators, organizations are guaranteed a steady referral stream for years to come.”
According to HDG, a user-friendly model of post-acute care would include, among other things, a full complement of services represented by an integrated entity, education to hospital and practice-based clinicians and performance feedback, as Apple consistently considered feedback to revise subsequent versions of their products. Similarly, post-acute systems should establish joint operating committees with hospital and physician partners to identify and correct service shortcomings and gaps in care transitions.
“This is no longer about ‘winning the patient’ for your facility, but helping other caregivers make the decision that is in the best interest of the patient,” said Peyser.