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Mobile Activates and Engages Patients in a Coordinated Care Plan

· Kim Tucker,

Only 5 percent of patients are responsible for nearly half of all healthcare spending1. These patients may have an advanced illness or multiple chronic conditions that can result coordinated care planin multiple hospital admissions and/or emergency department visits per year. Patients 35 years old and younger, however, represent 45 percent of the population, but only account for one-quarter of spending. The commonality among all these patients is the potential to be activated and engaged in their coordinated care plan through their mobile device.

Smartphone adoption in the United States reached 64 percent in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center2. That kind of market penetration, which is only growing as devices become more affordable, offers healthcare organizations the opportunity to improve outcomes and lower costs through targeted, personalized patient outreach, health education, monitoring, and support. Consider this two typical high-cost, high-risk areas for healthcare systems and how mobile can improve care coordination and treatment plan adherence.

  1. Care transitions. Transitioning between the hospital and home increases the risk for an adverse event, resulting in a costly readmission. Care instructions (via a coordinated care plan) from the hospital may be forgotten, follow-up schedules lost and new prescriptions never retrieved from the pharmacy due to transportation issues. These obstacles could be overcome if this patient were enrolled in a transition program while in the hospital. Equipped with an integrated, personalized smartphone application, the patient would be introduced to a coordinated care plan with a personal care liaison who would educate the patient about how to check-in daily through the app and would follow-up with that patient by phone and through the app after discharge.
  2. Chronic care managementPatients with chronic conditions are responsible for 85 percent of healthcare spending3. These patients have a rigorous coordinated care plan, often requiring medication and lifestyle-choice education and support, as do patients transitioning from the hospital back home. Likewise, with a care liaison and a smartphone application that requires the patient to conduct daily health check-ins with the liaison, an ongoing dialogue and tracking of the patient’s chronic condition maintenance can occur, resulting in better adherence to the treatment plan and fewer complications.

With more healthcare organizations shifting from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement, reducing the costs associated with avoidable readmissions and chronic conditions is an imperative. Mobile activates and engages patients in their coordinated care plan; empowering patients through their smartphone can make them partners in this effort, which directly impacts their out-of-pocket spending as well, resulting in multiple mutually beneficial outcomes.

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