How can you boost Outcomes?
As we transition from a few for service model and go toward a value-based medicine and quality of care, have you asked yourself, “What does this actually mean for me?” Patient outcomes will be measured. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) will tie doctors’ reimbursement to quality metrics, including reports on patient results. Some feel that it’s the responsibility of doctors to ensure better quality while many physicians feel that a link between outcome and reimbursement means that high risk patients won’t be accepted for care in the practice.
“The biggest problem with this whole discussion is that it focuses on medication-based treatment and outcomes rather than on the real causes of disease, which are the real determinants of outcome: lifestyle habits, including diet, activity, sleep, and stress resilience,” a preventive medicine specialist asserted in a Medscape article.
The secret is in ramping up compliance.
How do you encourage patient compliance?
One of the biggest ways that induces patients to take their medication and make the heath choices that you have suggested is by getting them to understand- not only their options but the reasons behind them. Most importantly, patients must feel that they have made the choices or that at least they are in agreement with them. If you force a prescription on a patient that is not on board, the script will never be filled, let alone taking the medication.
The answer…Content Marketing
- Copies of articles of the medical condition and treatment options
- Enroll patients in your newsletters that keep patients abreast of current treatments
- Have a portal or way that patients can stay in touch with you, the physician
- Answer all questions asked in a prompt manner
- Set up an auto responder or automatic reminder online or text about patient’s next follow appointments
- Set up an auto responder or automatic reminder online or text about when to renew medications
- Let patients know about any reactions possible from medications
- Inform patients about alternative therapies
- Have online support groups, forums or chat rooms that you can chair from the practice Facebook page
- Create consistent blogs that keep you in your patients’ minds
A recent Medscape article suggested “providing patients with reminders, ranging from phone calls to emails and texts; simplifying dosing by reducing the number of times a patient has to take a drug, and, if possible, decreasing the number of drugs they have to take; making patients an active part of treatment by soliciting their input (for example, on reactions to medications); showing patients the importance of investing in—and taking—medications (as many would rather spend their money elsewhere); and improving patient confidence in managing chronic symptoms.”
“I will start to limit my practice to those who are compliant with my recommendations,” a pulmonologist commented. “I won’t be able to see anyone with more than one problem, or who needs to take two or more medications, or who has allergies with a significant family history. Just those who have plenty of money and time to purchase and obtain their medications and exercise and sleep appropriately.”
Many respondents used analogies to illustrate the absurdity of holding physicians responsible for their patients’ behavior. “Will I be able to hold the grocery store responsible for my bad cooking?” an internist wrote.
The thing is that many steps as listed above, have not been tried yet. With compassion and frequent contact with patients, we as physicians may be surprised by how interested people actually are in following the proper steps. Especially with the touch of a caring hand, patients like to know that the physician cares and has vested interest. Patients statistically do not like to let down a physician that truly cares for them.
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