Article by McKesson
Adapting to changes in the healthcare industry is about more than meeting regulations. It means constantly making choices that benefit the patients you serve. This is likely the reason you got into healthcare in the first place—whether you’re a drug manufacturer, clinician or pharmacist.
Today’s model of value-based care reflects this need to put patients first. Here are ways that three different sectors of healthcare can adapt to patient-centered changes.
1. Switch to Electronic Co-Pay Assistance
For drug manufacturers, making sure patients can afford your drug is always a concern. But now, more than ever, co-pay assistance also needs to be convenient and fast for patients. Switching to electronic co-pay assistance helps you streamline the entire process. It also gets patients on their medication right away and offers several other benefits for your company. Megan Wetzel discusses these benefits in “Optimizing Co-Pay Assistance Programs to Improve Medication Adherence.” Wetzel is the product manager for RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions. She points out that electronic co-pay assistance helps with the following:
- Drug formularies. It reduces the need to have new medications included on health plans’ and PBMs’ approved list of formularies in order to make drugs affordable.
- Patient acquisition. Patients who are prescribed high-cost specialty drugs for the first time can afford to start treatment right away.
- Medication adherence. Patients can stay on their medication because it’s more affordable.
- Brand reputation. Electronic co-pay assistance helps to boost your brand’s reputation in the marketplace. (Prescribers and patients are more likely to use medications that are affordable.)
You want to help your patients get the most from your co-pay assistance. You want them to be able to start their medication right away—and stay on it—to improve their health. To achieve these goals, switch to electronic co-pay assistance.
2. Score Higher on Quality Measures
Quality measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have become more important than ever for nursing homes. They are one of three areas that CMS uses to decide your star rating. You can earn as many as five stars based on how well you perform in those three areas. Patients who go to skilled nursing facilities with higher star ratings have lower mortality rates. They spend fewer days in the nursing home. And they have fewer hospital readmissions. So what can you do to improve your score—and provide better care to patients? Patty Baicy answers this question in “How Your Nursing Home Can Score Higher on Quality Measures.”Baicy is the director of the clinical resources team for McKesson Medical-Surgical. She points out that there are 17 measures in the quality domain. She lists ways your nursing home can score higher on them by focusing on the following areas:
- Engaged leadership. Quality measures need to be a priority for executives and senior management. Relay those priorities to staff and residents by regularly engaging with them.
- Staff education and participation. Everyone needs to know what the quality measures are and how to achieve them. Not just your nurses, but your dietary, housekeeping and maintenance staff, too.
- Holistic care. Aside from the medical aspect of patient care, you should take a holistic approach to their health, too. Consider things like nutrition, socialization, mobility and independence.
- Effective products. Make sure you have the right medical supplies to deliver the best outcomes for patients. Proper inventory management is key.
Use these ideas to score higher on quality measures—and deliver better care to patients in your nursing home.
3. Embrace Direct Patient Care
For independent pharmacies, embracing more one-on-one patient care can help you adapt to the future of healthcare. Patients want to be able to go to your pharmacy and be treated for basic medical issues, not just refill their prescriptions. More and more pharmacists are expanding their roles as providers to step up to the plate. Karen Merrill speaks about this in “Embracing Direct Patient Care at Your Independent Pharmacy.” Merrill is the regional director of franchise operations for Health Mart. She lists several things you can do right away to offer more direct patient care:
- Offer a year-round immunization program. Your pharmacy should offer flu shots, but you can also offer vaccines year-round for things like pneumonia or shingles. You can also offer travel vaccines.
- Provide wellness screenings. Make sure your pharmacy offers screenings for common conditions like strep infections.
- Offer point-of-care testing. Your pharmacy should also do point-of-care testing for your patients for things like blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels.
By starting with some basic clinical services, you can provide more direct patient care to the community you serve. You might also consider offering medication therapy management or counseling. This gives you the opportunity to speak with patients directly about any concerns they might have. The more time you can spend with patients, the more you can help improve their health. In every area of healthcare, focusing on patient needs is paramount. When you can adapt to healthcare changes in ways that benefit your patients, everyone wins.