Why Health Systems Struggle With Remote Care

4 weeks ago

By Paul Huffman, Chief Revenue Officer, MD Revolution

Remote care has now become commonplace across many health systems. Most healthcare organizations are ramping up investment and adding care management programs to treat and manage a myriad of conditions for their patient populations.

At MD Revolution, we’ve helped a number of health systems adopt remote care. Along the way, we’ve noticed common mistakes health systems make.

Through this guide, I’ll cover some of the common mistakes made by health systems as they select, implement, and evaluate remote care solutions across their organization, including the number one mistake that we see health systems make.

Introduction

With over 700 successful implementations under our belt, we have learned some best practices and some pitfalls that health systems have encountered when starting or expanding their remote care strategy.

Health Systems, Remote Care, and COVID

Pre-COVID, health systems had a wait-and-see-approach to new billing codes for remote care, creating hesitancy in the marketplace. But that all changed during the pandemic. During and after COVID, health systems scrambled to implement remote care using existing tools, technologies, and integrations. Innovation paused as hospitals struggled to keep up.

But today, the landscape is different. Innovation has restarted. Patients are more comfortable with remote care. Health systems are more experienced providing remote care. Demand is unprecedented, and there’s tremendous opportunity in the space for patients and providers.

Say NO to the “Pilot Program” Mindset

The number one pitfall I’ve witnessed across all our implementations is the “pilot program” mindset. It goes like this. A health system rolls out remote care to a subset of patients or specialty treatment areas. They assume that, over time, they’ll continue to increase the size and scope of the program. This way, they can mitigate risks and continually improve the way their organization implements remote care.

This approach falls short. Here’s why.

Initiating a pilot program is just as demanding as implementing a fully scaled program. In reality, a small pilot program only draws out the process and leads to a lack of commitment from providers. That’s because they aren’t seeing the ROI required to buy-in or the ultimate goal, to champion. Providers become champions when they have seen measurable improvements in patient outcomes, those outcomes are sustainable and repeatable, and they’re seeing more than marginal changes to patient satisfaction. This only occurs when you start with a high number of patients.

Without provider buy-in, the administrator that spearheaded the failed initiative has swung and missed, effectively consuming their political capital.

When we work with health systems, we often make adjustments based on specialty area, patient population, inpatient vs. outpatient, etc., but we do so in a way that stretches across the system’s patient population.

So, think big. Implement remote care across specialty areas and patient groups. Otherwise, you may miss the full benefit of remote care.

Separate EHRs require a bridge to solve for complexity

A health system isn’t just one building, it’s an interconnected network of inpatient and outpatient facilities. Patients go from one facility to the next depending on the treatment they need at any given time. It makes sense then to have seamless integration of EHRs across the system, but oftentimes, that is not the case, and it makes it difficult to optimize the patient experience.

We recently experienced this with a large health system in Memphis. They had one EHR for their outpatient facilities, another for their inpatient facilities and remote care service lines offered at both. They asked MD Revolution to help improve the continuity of care within their systems. This makes sense, because when we can connect the dots between hospital discharge and ambulatory outpatient centers, that’s where we can be most effective in a health system. Without having a third party to bridge the gap between systems, health systems typically face a program that is living in silos and not properly coordinated. Goals for patients in the hospital may differ than goals to prevent them from entering a facility (or returning).

In today’s landscape EHRs are largely built or organized with the payor and patient setting in mind. This presents complexities when program and individual patient goals are not aligned. More times than not, this disconnect detracts from more important questions, such as: how do we improve our care quality and improve our patients’ experience?

We get it; in today’s reality, connecting EHRs across the system is often a long, complex process. Interoperability between systems is a critical connection that is needed for both outpatient and inpatient providers. But that’s not the case for all, and post-COVID speed to implementation is a completely different animal from what we were used to seeing. In my experience, from my years of running my own CCM company to where my team at MD Revolution has taken remote care programs now, EHRs need to effectively communicate with each other, and outcome data needs to have the ability to aggregate from all platforms.

Communicating between inpatient and outpatient facilities improves data sharing and data collection. It improves continuity of care. From a remote care program standpoint, it improves enrollment by making the process more convenient for patients and giving it a cohesive feel, including more touchpoints with clinicians who can help improve the patient experience. This approach supports transitional care management and we’ve seen statistically significant reductions in readmissions to inpatient facilities.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we talk about solutions to common problems health systems face in executing remote care. If you’d like me to personally send you a copy, send us a message in the chat on this page.

About the Author

As Chief Revenue Officer, Paul brings more than 20 years of executive healthcare experience working within outpatient clinics, large health systems, and multi-specialty practices. Paul leads a team focused on corporate growth and business development for MD Revolution’s partnership strategy, marketplace footprint and share growth plans. To ensure customer continuity, Paul also leads the company’s experienced account management team, servicing hundreds of practices and large health systems.

Paul is the former Co-Founder and President of Falcon Care, LLC where he grew the organization into a leader in care management with the implementation of onsite preventative service programs within outpatient centers. Prior to Falcon Care, Paul served as VP of Sales and Delivery for Symbiosis Health (acquired by StatPay) and VP of Sales for a large Chicago laboratory with responsibility for building the sales function and driving strategic growth initiatives.

Outside of work, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife and three children in Chicago and following Indiana University basketball team.

About Us

Our trusted solutions can meet the needs of health systems large and small looking to implement remote care:

RevCare Software as a Service

RevCare, our purpose-built care management platform and a connected ecosystem of integrated EHRs, data partners, and devices, is utilized by large practices, health systems, and healthcare organizations that execute remote care with their own clinicians.

RevUp Care Program

RevUp, our end-to-end remote care management program, combines our best-in-class care management platform, connected ecosystem, and patient app with our experienced clinical care services team that supports your organization from enrollment to billing.

Both solutions have proven to be highly successful, and we can even support you in transition if you prefer to switch. Stay tuned as we explore the different approaches to executing successful remote care programs in healthcare organizations. If you’re ready to execute remote care in your organization now, reach out for a brief conversation. My office hours are open.