How small-scale, easy-to-implement software solutions equip healthcare to address costly, growing care management populations.

Care Management Microsolutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for care management. And, care management programs are under pressure to pivot quickly to address the healthcare needs created by increased stress and anxiety, financial instability, unemployment, and personal health and safety concerns. Unfortunately, the current generation of care management platforms aren’t equipped to solve these ever-evolving population needs nor do they equip organizations to capture the demands of the market right now.

The types of pivots that healthcare organizations must make in their population health and care management programs require solutions that can go-live on short timelines of 30-90 days. These solutions may be needed for a short time, to focus on solving specific population needs, or to fill a gap until an organization’s core care management platform catches up with feature demand. Or, a pivot in the program or the type of population health need could become permanent, requiring that the information ecosystem maintain capabilities that the care management platform never addressed.

We call these small-scale, easy-to-implement software solutions “microsolutions.” They are an integral feature of any care management program that must evolve and adapt quickly to shifting population health and care management needs whether those pivots are due to a pandemic, a shift in population health like opioid addiction, or other health trends that require special attention and care management strategies.

Why microsolutions are the key to addressing evolving population health and care management needs quickly

Microsolutions can be configured easily, deployed quickly, and tailored to an organization’s specific needs. This flexible and scalable approach to technology allows an organization to meet increased demand for care management and provide better health outcomes while reducing avoidable utilization and costs. These microsolutions enhance and maintain the current care management ecosystem while providing the building blocks for successful high-touch, high-trust, impactful interactions between care managers and patient or member populations.

How microsolutions ensure targeted, timely interactions and interventions

The COVID-19 pandemic created an environment where care management services must engage patients and members at home and in dynamic, creative ways. Microsolutions extend and enhance care management systems and reach patients and members in personal ways, tapping into technology and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.  For example, a self-assessment questionnaire can be queued to devices like an Amazon Echo or Google Nest, creating a touchless interaction that is completely verbally-driven, synchronous or asynchronous. Natural language processing (NLP) can be integrated to analyze the contextual value of patient responses, as well as their emotional state.  To this end, SDLC Partners has created a Home Integration Questionnaire Tool and custom extenders to IoT, giving care management programs additional reach and engagement. Our Daily Emotional Status Tracker and Vlog Module reach patients and members to help them deal with the effects of isolation, increased stress, and anxiety by providing automated, timely, and personalized check-ins, affirmations, and conversations  that promote wellness and positive lifestyle choices.  These microsolutions reach patients and members in personal and private ways, breaking through the barriers that shelter-in-place and being homebound has caused.

Using microsolutions as a cost-saving tool for increased engagement

Particularly heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare departments need flexible, scalable solutions to address the increased resource burden, surge in healthcare needs, and growing patient populations at risk despite cost-saving measures.  Care managers, care coordinators, and other care team members need better data and planning tools to ensure that they use their time engaging patients and members with the highest risk factors, rising risk complications, or time-sensitive needs. SDLC Partners has addressed this need by creating a Call Preparation Module that streamlines real-time interactions, ensuring that these care management sessions are timely, efficient, impactful, and achieve the goal of contact or intervention. Using the right microsolution can ensure that engagement time is spent on achieving better health outcomes while reducing avoidable utilization.

Ensuring microsolutions integrate easily with care management ecosystems

The pandemic has increased the need for care management, which has accelerated the timeline to engage and integrate community partners and collaborations beyond the individual payer or provider organization. The increased demand for behavioral health care management, for example, has highlighted the need for new partnerships with behavioral health systems and support. These partnerships access outside systems and interoperability among systems to ensure a 360-degree view of each patient within the context of their population. Currently, resources have to search through, correlate, and enter data into and from multiple sources manually, leading to a higher chance for errors and resource overload.  Similar data-sharing mechanisms will be needed to integrate telemedicine provider data with disease registries.  Here, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) microsolutions can minimize burdensome and error-prone tasks. Bringing intelligent automation to existing or new care management systems can streamline workflows, minimize errors, and enable care management resources to concentrate on creating rapport and positive change, engaging patients and members towards better health outcomes while lowering the cost burden on the organization.

Wireframe hand turning a knob and selecting RPA mode.66% believe that RPA enables care managers to have more human interactions

60% reported that RPA allows care managers to focus on more meaningful and strategic tasks

We see the value of intelligent automation on care management and population health. In fact, we created two tools – an RPA Data Hound and a Community RPA Tool – to reduce administrative and resource burden, minimize avoidable data errors, turnaround care management tasks and communication faster, and enable care managers to focus on their highest priorities, creating high-trust, high-touch, impactful connections and conversations with patients and members.

Microsolutions ensure care management have timely, reliable data and analysis

Here, again, microsolutions ensure that care management programs are achieving care, quality, and cost goals by providing key analytics capabilities. Monitoring program performance and trends is critical to knowing whether the pivots and organization has adopted are the most effective care management solutions to the adequately address population needs in time. We created a microsolution to help with care management performance management. The Value Calculator Dashboard visualizes and tracks the savings, clinical outcomes, and engagement experience feedback from care management initiatives and interventions in a way that enhances care management operations and provides critical information needed to continue to make timely decision on how to pivot and scale services and solutions aligned to population health and cost containment goals.

Are microsolutions right for your care management and population health goals?

Microsolutions, tailored to an organization’s specific requirements, address the increased need for care management created by COVID-19, giving an organization the ability to pivot resources, engagement, and tools to enable better health outcomes while reducing avoidable utilization and cost.  Microsolutions are designed to fill a gap in care management platform capabilities for a specific issue, population, timeframe, or care goal. They are nimble, scalable, and light, extending and complementing existing solutions as population evolve.

Where to start? We would recommend that you assess your current populations using our Cohort Care Management Value Calculator. It will clearly visualize the potential impact of stress and anxiety that have exacerbated underlying health issues, caused new diagnoses, or pushed your patients and members into higher risk categories. Pivoting and re-tooling your care management program to address the evolving needs of the pandemic requires the right partners, microsolutions, data, analysis, and interoperability.  SDLC Partners has the care management, healthcare, and technology experience to ensure your care management program meets the need, now, and as you pivot your population health programs for the future.

Author
Christopher Shipton
Senior Consultant/CMP, Healthcare Solutions

Christopher has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare information systems from electronic records to revenue cycle management, document management, systems integration, clinical content design, and training and support. He has worked across primary and subspecialty services with some of the largest and most respected healthcare organizations in the United States, including Highmark, Boston Medical Center, Montefiore/Einstein Weiller, Medstar Health, Health First, Baptist Health.

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