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If Healthcare is Going to be Delivered to the Home, We Need to Learn from Other Industries and Optimize Our Approach: Introducing Care Traffic Control

Author

Tiffany Pack


Published

September 08, 2023


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By Kevin Hiler, Chief Information Officer

As more health plans deploy remote teams to deliver care to individuals in the places they call home, it’s time to revisit an Achilles heel that typically plagues all facets of the healthcare system: merging data and technology to make intelligent and insight-based decisions.

Data is something the healthcare system has in excess. The problem is that we aren’t always able to translate that data into insights that inform the delivery of care. Specifically for home-based care, common challenges include the fact that providers don’t have up-to-date data at the point of care. Also, learnings are not being triangulated between in-person visits, health data and what care teams are seeing when they engage individuals in the home. Data sources are not efficiently combined, and we fail to leverage data to its fullest potential. We could see clear patterns for specific patients that signal help is needed because they are trending in the wrong direction. Too often, those signals are neither sent nor received.

Other industries have it figured out, fortunately. Below are two best practices that are commonplace outside of healthcare. There is much we can, and should, translate to healthcare delivery in the home.

Best Practice #1: The Command Center

When there’s a storm or other emergency situation, the power company can quickly deploy resources to address it, because they have a command center that is built for rapid response. In healthcare, the same type of capability would be very valuable. If you’re able to monitor patients and receive an early warning of someone whose condition is worsening, you could deploy the appropriate clinical resource and rapidly address the issue in a timely manner.

Best Practice #2: Route Optimization

We don’t usually think about how Amazon works. We just know they get us what we want when we need it. There is a lot of smart infrastructure behind the scenes to make this function well. Amazon isn’t dispatching one truck to deliver one package. There’s an entire ecosystem involved, and each driver’s route is being optimized based on a number of variables.

In healthcare, when delivering remote care to patients in their homes, how can you be smarter about leveraging resources based on actual needs? For one, you could optimize the route so that if a patient needs a physician, he or she gets one, but if a community health worker is more appropriate for the next visit, that resource is sent instead. Also, should a patient have an issue that requires a provider to visit sooner than their scheduled appointment, optimized routing can be deployed so that the patient may be seen quickly.

The combination of a command center and route optimization is something we describe at Emcara Health as Care Traffic Control. Leveraging data in this way allows you to be both more responsive and more proactive at the same time. Consider the following scenarios and you’ll readily see the power of this concept.

What’s the most efficient schedule for your care teams? You can analyze preferred order of visits based on geospatial data and specific needs.

Is there an accident on the highway? You can reroute care team members who are making rounds.

Is a member of your team behind schedule? You can adjust the remaining schedule to prioritize those who have time sensitive needs.

Receive new information on an individual that prompts the need for an urgent visit? You can adjust course and prioritize this member.

Secure a new piece of data that is important for a scheduled visit? Have it in the care team’s hands before they engage.

Have a better understanding of what each individual on the schedule specifically needs? You can deploy exactly the right resource to each individual.

Does a member who is not on the schedule for a month need support more quickly? Adjust the schedule to see them sooner.

Did the remote care team determine an important follow up for the member when they see their primary care physician again? It will be ready for the PCP at time of visit.

How far away are you from deploying Care Traffic Control when it comes to home-based care for your population? Answer the following questions to assess your readiness, based on your current data and technology capabilities.

>> Are you able to leverage AI and machine learning capabilities to improve health outcomes

>> Are you able to integrate both clinical and SDoH data on each patient for a more holistic view of their health status and needs?

>> How do you identify your most vulnerable members? What algorithms do you use to understand which combinations and change of conditions are most troublesome?>> Do you have data scientists and actuaries on staff to help you think outside the box and innovate when it comes to data and technology?

>> How do you use data to identify and manage the delta in care between visits?

>> Can you maximize the connection between the provider and the patient by ensuring information is available at the point of care?

>> Are you investigating ways to merge multiple sources of data and attempt to predict what might happen next for individuals across your population?

>> Have you invested in an infrastructure where your remote care teams can respond to changing conditions in real-time?

>> Are you able to parse what’s normal for a specific member, versus what’s normal for someone with a specific condition, so you can be more personalized and accurate with interventions?

Chances are you didn’t fare as well as you hoped with the questions above. If you want more guidance on building a technology platform that allows you to smartly leverage data and deliver better care to members who need it most, contact Emcara Health today at connect@emcarahealth.com for a free consultation.

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Kevin Hiler

Chief Information Officer

Kevin Hiler is the Chief Information Officer for PopHealthCare and Emcara Health. Kevin has over 20 years’ experience in consulting and industry providing IT strategy, operational and financial leadership; organizational transformation; and IT application design and management. His experience spans multiple aspects of the healthcare industry, financial services, consumer products, manufacturing, and hospitality industries throughout the US and globally. Prior to joining PopHealthCare and Emcara Health, Kevin held positions including Vice President, Technology Solutions for FirstLight Home Care, Senior Director of IT Shared Services at Kindred at Home and Global Director of Business Application Management Services for Halyard Health.

Kevin holds an MBA from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and is Six Sigma Green Belt certified.


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