Archive for the ‘Case Management’ Category

Guest Post: The Provider’s Responsibility for Building Patient Relationships

July 31st, 2018 by Dr. Delanor Doyle

A foundational element of healthcare is the relationship between a patient and their PCP.

One of the foundational elements of healthcare is, or at least should be, the relationship between a patient and their primary care physician (PCP). And yet, it seems many Americans are not fully utilizing their PCP and instead are turning to emergency rooms or urgent care clinics for non-urgent conditions and illnesses. In fact, only 9 percent of emergency department visits result in a hospital admission. This means it is likely that many of these cases could have been avoided by seeking the care of a PCP.

Emergency department visits not only result in hefty costs to the patient and their employer, but also create wastes of time and resources in the healthcare system. The impact in terms of costs, for the patients can have many down-stream consequences. In fact, a recent report by the U.S. Federal Reserve found that four out of 10 adults in the United States could not cover an unexpected $400 expense. In some cases, this amount can easily be reached for a single emergency room visit between out-of-pocket costs for the visit, medications and laboratory services —especially when dealing with out-of-network issues. Providers should work to keep patients out of emergency rooms and urgent care facilities and to emphasize the importance and purpose of the PCP in the patient’s healthcare journey.

Until the 1940s, about 40 percent of all physician visits were house calls and while today patients don’t have this same expectation, providers should treat patients with that same level of personalized, individual care that builds a strong relationship. Providers can consider implementing the following best practices with their patients:

Every Discharge Deserves a Follow-Up

In many cases the PCP is not the provider who admitted or cared for the patient while in the hospital. However, it is imperative that the PCP insist on receiving information about the patient’s admission, so that he or she can be a part of the discharge plan. The patient should be seen back in the practice within three to five days after discharge —even if they were seen just prior to going into the hospital. In fact, this should be scheduled for the patient prior to hospital discharge. Timely follow-up appointments have been associated with a decreased risk of readmission. A converse association also exists. A study published in Clinical Interventions of Aging found only half of patients discharged following heart failure had a follow-up appointment scheduled and the readmission rate was significantly higher in those that had no follow-up scheduled.

Follow-up appointments allow for the provider to engage or re-engage the patient and ensures the patient is aware of any care transition recommendations. Concerns regarding disease process, expectations and convalescence should be addressed at this time. Working to schedule all patients for timely follow-up post discharge eliminates the risk of the patient forgetting to schedule the appointments themselves. Many patients report a higher sense of satisfaction with the communication between themselves and their provider and with their overall care.

Encourage Virtual Care Options

For after-hours needs, do your patients know there are virtual care options they can use in lieu of going to the emergency room or urgent care clinics for non-urgent concerns? Many patients are simply unaware of these services or aren’t sure how to use them so they don’t consider it as an option. According to the National Business Group on Health, only 8 percent of employees utilize telemedicine services, yet the cost of healthcare benefits is expected to increase an average of 5 percent due in part to pharmaceutical costs but also to site of service issues as well. Spend a few minutes during the visit to educate patients on the services available as well as when to use them.

Promote Health Plan Resources

Unfortunately, many patients are also not familiar with the services or programs offered by their health plans. These materials are good resources for preventative care measures and offer proactive suggestions for patients. For example, their insurance provider might offer diabetes educational materials and resources. Most health plans have programs for diabetes and other chronic conditions. If members are encouraged to access the materials available online, telephonically and in print they might be more likely to seek out that information and if contacted by the health plan they will be much more likely to engage. It is important that patients begin to get a sense that the health plan and the providers are collaborating for the patient’s benefit.

We are still in a fee-for-service world but moving toward fee-for-value. This is being driven by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and all the major health plans. To be successful in this new world, improved patient outcomes should be a major focus for providers. Strategies that engage the patient and simplify the healthcare experience when and where it is needed most are going to be produce the winners in this new era. The literature is replete with strategies that can produce population health success, but few are shown to be consistently correlated to economic success combined with improved patient satisfaction and outcomes. The exceptions have been those that employ heavy care coordination in a face-to-face venue and that address the social determinants of disease.

Fully leveraging these strategies is going to require the development of trust between the patient and provider so that patients know we are not just treating a disease but caring for the whole person. When that level of trust is reached it becomes easier to influence utilization of the PCP practice and other more appropriate levels of care instead of the ED. Similarly, it becomes easier to impact the readmission rate in one’s own panel of patients.

About the Author:

Dr. Delanor Doyle

Dr. Delanor Doyle

Dr. Delanor Doyle is the chief medical officer of Texas Health Aetna. Leveraging the strengths of two leading organizations, Texas Health Aetna is blurring the lines of traditional health care plans and health systems to create a truly integrated solution that’s simple to navigate and puts the member’s experience first. The local health plan is committed to providing affordable, high-quality health care services and delivering customized care to members throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. For more information about Texas Health Aetna, visit www.texashealthaetna.com.

Integrated Case Management Scripts Keep MSKCC Patient Care Team on Same Page

February 1st, 2018 by Patricia Donovan
Healthcare Scripting

MSKCC scripting improved the consistency of patient communication and staff efficiency.

To help ensure its patients receive consistent messages, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) has developed a series of scripts for use by its integrated case management team. Here, Laura Ostrowsky, RN, CCM, MUP, MSKCC director of case management, describes some scripting scenarios employed by the state-of-the-art specialty hospital.

There are a variety of ways we’ve done scripting. For example, there was a time when a case manager would meet with a doctor and the doctor would say, “I think we need to set up hospice for this patient.” The case manager then would go into the patient’s room and say, “I’m here to help you to set up your discharge plan. I know you’ll be going to hospice.”

And then the patient would say, “What are you talking about?”

One thing all case managers know is that when you go into a patient’s room, especially if someone told you they said something to the patient, you first must confirm what the patient understands about that previous conversation. If it turns out that they didn’t understand what you were told to talk about, then you don’t have that conversation. You go back to the staff member that sent you in there and discuss it. Perhaps you schedule a family meeting to discuss that issue.

We also developed scripts not only for preadmission staff, but for all staff trying to get approvals from insurers for high-cost medications and for procedures. We work with them to identify how to answer questions from the insurance company or insurance case manager so that those tasks can be handled by the doctor’s office or admitting department rather than by case management.

The approach of our length of stay reduction teams, while not exactly scripted, is concerned about consistency of message. The teams came up with the steps and planned the patient education material with the imperative that we never overestimate a length of stay, but rather err on the short side.

The imperative is that everybody speaks to the patient the same way. The case managers make a point to tell the team, “Don’t make promises we can’t keep.” That’s not exactly scripting, but it keeps everybody on the same page. For example, don’t tell a patient they are going to have plenty of help at home. Or that they will get home care and someone will be there every day, because you don’t know if that is going to happen.

Instead, you can say to the patient, “We are going to see if you are eligible for home care. I am going to send the case manager in to see you. They will check your benefits and go over eligibility. We will do our best to get you the services you need.”

Source: Integrated Case Management: Elevating Quality and Clinical Metrics with Multidisciplinary Team-Based Care

integrated case management

Integrated Case Management: Elevating Quality and Clinical Metrics with Multidisciplinary Team-Based Care details the framework and implementation of the service-based multidisciplinary program MSKCC adopted to ensure that the care it provides to more than 25,000 admitted patients each year is both cost-effective and cost-efficient.

Infographic: New Hypertension Guidelines

November 24th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

New blood pressure guidelines have been released by the American Heart Association. People with readings of 130 as the top number or 80 as the bottom one now are considered to have high blood pressure, according to these new guidelines.

An infographic by the American Heart Association details the guidelines.

Since the January 2015 rollout by CMS of new chronic care management (CCM) codes, many physician practices have been slow to engage in CCM. Arcturus Healthcare, however, rapidly grasped the potential of CCM to improve patient outcomes while generating care coordination revenue, estimating it could earn up to $100,000 monthly for qualified patients treated in its four physician practices—or $1 million a year.

Medicare Chronic Care Management Billing: Evidence-Based Workflows to Maximize CCM Revenue traces the incorporation of CCM into Arcturus Healthcare’s existing care management efforts for high-risk patients, as well as the bonus that resulted from CCM code adoption: increased engagement and improved relationships with CCM patients.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Monitoring and Managing Chronic Disease

November 22nd, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Patients with chronic conditions rely on their healthcare teams to help them manage their health, according to a new infographic by West Corporation.

The infographic examines the steps providers can take to monitor and manage chronic disease among their patient populations.

In the sphere of value-based healthcare, chronic care management (CCM) is a critical component of primary care and population health management. Targeting the Triple Aim goals of better health and care for individuals while reducing spending, CCM is viewed as a stepping-stone to success under Medicare’s Quality Payment Program that launched January 1, 2017.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Chronic Care captures tools, practices and lessons learned by the healthcare industry related to the management of chronic disease.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Data Analytics, SDOH Screenings Flag Disengaged and 12 More Patient Engagement Trends

October 5th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

More than 70 percent of healthcare organizations have created formal patient engagement initiatives, according to 2017 benchmarks from the Healthcare Intelligence Network.


To identify individuals that are poorly engaged in their health, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of healthcare organizations mine clinical data analytics, according to the 2017 Patient Engagement Survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network, while 37 percent screen patients for social determinants of health related to housing, care access, transportation, nutrition and finances.

Patients who screen positive for social determinants of health (SDOH) and individuals with diabetes are typically the most difficult populations to engage, according to 2017 survey benchmarks.

Thirty-five percent of respondents to the September 2017 survey said the presence of SDOHs, which the World Health Organization defines as “conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age,” pose the greatest challenge to health engagement, while 26 percent said a diabetes diagnosis presents the top clinical challenge to engagement interventions.

One-quarter report some resolution of SDOH factors resulting from engagement efforts.

To improve engagement, 75 percent of respondents rely on education of patients, family and caregivers, supported with telephonic outreach (13 percent) and home visits (13 percent).

Efforts by 71 percent of respondents to create a formal patient engagement program underscore the critical role of engagement in healthcare’s value-based care and reimbursement models, particularly in regards to chronic illness.

In other survey findings:

  • Patient experience rankings are the most reliable measure of engagement program success, say 43 percent.
  • For one quarter of respondents, patient engagement is the primary domain of case managers.
  • Eighty-three percent saw quality metrics improve as a result of patient engagement efforts.
  • Half attributed a drop in hospital emergency room visits to their patient engagement interventions.

Download an executive summary of the 2017 Patient Engagement Survey.

18 Success Strategies from Seasoned Healthcare Case Managers for New Hires

September 14th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

Advice from case management trenches: “Don’t do more work for your patient than they are willing to do for themselves.”

What does it take to succeed as a healthcare case manager? For starters, patience, flexibility and mastery of motivational interviewing, say veterans from case management trenches.

As part of its 2017 Healthcare Benchmarks Survey on Case Management, the Healthcare Intelligence Network asked experienced case managers what guidance they would offer to new hires in the field. Respondents were thoughtful and generous with their advice, highlights of which are shared here.

It’s important to note that in total, a half dozen veterans identified motivational interviewing as an essential case management skill.

We hope you find these tips useful. We invite all experienced case managers to add your tips in the Comments below.

  • “It’s hard work but satisfying. It takes a good year to get all resources and process, so don’t give up.”
  • “Learn the integrated case management model and get ongoing coaching in motivational interviewing.”
  • “Listen, think, develop, coordinate, adhere to plan benefits, and be honest.”
  • “Communicating and developing a relationship with members are key.”
  • “Be aware of and utilize telemedicine.”
  • “Be prepared to help patients with non-medical matters. Develop a trust bond, almost as a family member, and your medical-focused concerns will be that much easier to handle.”
  • “Always remain flexible. Listen and meet the patient where they are at in their disease and life process.”
  • “Understand both the clinical and financial impacts of healthcare on the patient.”
  • “Establish a good working relationship with your manager. Ensure you understand job expectations and identify a mentor.”
  • “Time management is crucial.”
  • “Stay visible within the practice; interact regularly with the care team; share examples of success stories.”
  • “Compassion and empathy are a must.”
  • “Don’t become overwhelmed by all that needs to be learned. Strive for sure and steady progress in gaining the knowledge needed.”
  • “Don’t let a fear of the unknown hold you back. Learn all that you can.”
  • “Get a good understanding of the population of patients you are working with. Study motivational interviewing and harm reduction.”
  • “This is a wide body of knowledge. Each case is different. It takes six months to a year to be fully comfortable in the practice.”
  • “Establish boundaries with your patients, and don’t do more work for your patient than they are willing to do for themselves.”
  • “Earn the trust of your patients and providers. LISTEN to your patients.”

One respondent geared her advice to case management hiring managers:

  • “Hire for coaching mentality and chronic disease experience.”

Excerpted From: 2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Case Management

2017 case management benchmarks

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Case Management provides actionable information from 78 healthcare organizations on the role of case management in the healthcare continuum, from targeted populations and conditions to the advantages and challenges of embedded case management to CM hiring and evaluation standards. Assessment of case management ROI and impact on key care components are also provided.

HINfographic: Case Management Trends: Face-to-Face Patient Encounters Edge Out Telephonic

September 6th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

As integrated care management takes hold, patients are much more likely to interact with a case manager at their healthcare provider’s office today than they were four years ago, say respondents to the 2017 Case Management Survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. The embedding or colocating of case managers within points of care rose from 54 percent in 2013 to 66 percent this year, the survey found.

A new infographic by HIN examines the top case manager-patient interactions, case management monthly caseloads, details on return on investment for case management programs and more case management trends.

At the point of care or behind the scenes, care coordination by healthcare case managers helps to elevate clinical, quality and financial outcomes in population health management and chronic care, the all-important hallmarks of value-based care.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Case Management provides actionable information from 78 healthcare organizations on the role of case management in the healthcare continuum, from targeted populations and conditions to the advantages and challenges of embedded case management to CM hiring and evaluation standards. Assessment of case management ROI and impact on key care components are also provided.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

MSKCC Integrated Case Management Enhances Efficiency, But Never At Patients’ Expense

August 29th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

MSKCC’s service-based interdisciplinary team adheres to the four C’s of team-based care.

With a reputation synonymous with state-of-the-art cancer care, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) shouldn’t have much to prove.

But like most healthcare providers, with the dawn of value-based care, MSKCC began to face tougher competition from hospitals with managed care contracts and limited networks. To attract and retain payors, MSKCC had to demonstrate that its care was both cost-effective and cost-efficient.

“Under managed care, you had to be able to prove your worth,” explains Laura Ostrowsky, MSKCC’s director of case management. “And worth was more than just best care, it was best care in a quality-effective manner.”

To accomplish this, MSKCC adopted a multidisciplinary, team-based care coordination approach, Ms. Ostrowsky explained during Integrated Case Management: A New Approach to Transition Planning, an August 2017 webinar now available as an on-demand rebroadcast.

Transition planning used to be referred to as discharge planning, she noted.

Integrated case management is at the heart of MSKCC’s service-based strategy, with MSKCC case managers  assigned by service. “That means that if a case manager is based on the tenth floor, which houses breast and GYN services, and one of those patients is in the ICU, they’re still being followed by the breast or GYN case manager.”

The variety of care settings is one of a half dozen reasons integrated case management is necessary, Ms. Ostrowsky added.

Communication among all team members is key, she continued, outlining the four ‘C’s’ of team-based care—so much so that some scripting has been created to keep all team members on message with patients.

However, a commitment to standards in communication and other areas should never override a patient’s need. “The clinical issues should always take priority,” Ms. Ostrowsky emphasized.

A day in the life of an MSKCC inpatient integrated case manager runs the gamut from reviewing and assessing new patients to orchestrating transition planning. “Our patients go out with all kinds of services, from infusion care to home chemotherapy to wound VACs.” Some patients are transferred to post-acute facilities, while others face end-of-life issues that include hospice care, which could be inpatient or home.

Hospice care was one area of focus for MSKCC—in particular, getting providers to speak frankly with patients about hospice and incorporating those services earlier on in the patient’s diagnosis when appropriate, both of which required a cultural shift. “Our patients didn’t come to Memorial to be told that there’s nothing that we can do for them,” she explained. “And our doctors didn’t come to work at Memorial to send people to hospice. They came here to cure cancer.”

In taking a closer look at end-of-life services, Ms. Ostrowsky found that physicians tended to refer to hospice later than she hoped that they would. “I wanted to really look at our length of stay in hospice as a way of identifying the timeliness of referral.” A longer hospice stay allows the patient to form relationships with their hospice caretakers rather than feeling abandoned and “left to die,” concluded Ms. Ostrowsky.

By placing case managers in inpatient areas and encouraging key case management-provider conversations that she shared during the program, MSKCC improved hospice referral timeliness and grew hospice length of stay. In turn, these quality improvements correlated with higher patient (and family) satisfaction.

Integrated case managers have also been key in identifying patients who can benefit from LTACH services and moving them there sooner, she added. “We can decrease length of stay within the hospital and get [patients] that kind of focused care that they need sooner.”

Listen to Laura Ostrowky describe the surprise question that can improve timeliness of hospice referrals.

HINfographic: Care Coordination Trends: Oversight of Complex Comorbid Spans Continuum

May 17th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Care coordinators organize patient care activities and share information among vested participants to achieve safer and more effective care, per the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). And for 86 percent of respondents to the 2016 Care Coordination survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network, care coordination takes place across all care settings, including the patient’s home.

A new infographic by HIN examines patient care coordination touchpoints, patients by diagnoses prioritized for care coordination and care coordination touchpoint frequency and reimbursement models.

2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Care CoordinationCare coordination involves deliberately organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all participants concerned with a patient’s care to achieve safer and more effective care, as defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Care Coordination examines care coordination settings, strategies, targeted populations, supporting technologies, results and ROI, based on responses from 114 healthcare organizations to the September 2016 Care Coordination survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

HINfographic: Social Determinants of Health: Screenings Abound, But Support Services Scarce

April 26th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Social determinants of health like food insecurity, unsafe neighborhoods and even loneliness can impact quality of life and population health. Although more than two-thirds of healthcare organizations now screen populations for social determinants of health (SDOH) as part of ongoing care management, one-third are challenged by a lack of supportive services, according to the December 2016 SDOH survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

A new infographic by HIN examines priority populations for SDOH screening, the greatest SDOH need and SDOH integration and tools.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Social Determinants of HealthInitiatives such as CMS’ Accountable Health Communities Model and other population health platforms encourage healthcare organizations to tackle the broad range of social, economic and environmental factors that shape an individual’s health. To underscore the need to address social determinants of health, Healthy People 2020 included “Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all” among its four overarching goals for the decade.

In one measure of their impact, 2015 research by Brigham Young University found that the social determinants of loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Social Determinants of Health documents the efforts of more than 140 healthcare organizations to assess social, economic and environmental factors in patients and to begin to redesign care management to account for these factors.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.