With maybe a few exceptions healthcare providers have chosen their profession because they care about people. Doctors, Nurses, and supporting healthcare staff would be fibbing if they said a smiling patient didn’t make them feel good about what they do.
But these days, smiling patients and positive patient experiences are affecting more than healthcare providers. Patient experiences can directly affect the profit margin of hospitals according to a Press Ganey analysis.
This is where the continuum of care model for healthcare enters the big picture.
While the term Continuum of Care was introduced in the 1980s by HUD in the context of health and human services, it has since been adopted by the healthcare industry. As it has been embraced by healthcare, the model has evolved to become the standard to help improve communication in care transitions, reduce healthcare costs, and bolster positive patient treatment outcomes.
Following a patient from preventative care, through medical events, to rehabilitation, and on to health maintenance helps ensure that patients are receiving:
- the right care,
- at the right time,
- in the right facility,
- from the right providers.
Continuity of care coordination + effective communication that includes the patient = personalized care.
Truly personalized care has a way of turning into a positive patient experience and by extension, positive health outcome.
Taken to the next level, patients who have a positive experience are more likely to
- pay their medical bills,
- use a medical facility again, or
- recommend a medical facility.
It follows then that receiving timely income for services and repeat business positively affects the bottom line.
Additionally, satisfied patients may be more inclined to give higher scores on a HCAHPS survey which also helps the revenue stream of a facility.
It’s no secret that the higher a facility scores the more insurance companies will reimburse them. Not to be forgotten, HCAHPS scores can and do influence whether potential patients will use a facility down the road.
According to a Press Ganey analysis1, a hospital can see an average increase in profit margin of 1% with a five-point increase in overall HCAHPS hospital rating. That is big!
Positive Experiences with Continuum of Care
The continuum of care, deliberately coordinated healthcare services, and patient experience, the sum of all interactions a patient has with a healthcare system, are inextricably intertwined.
Here are some key features of the relationship between the continuum of care and patient experience.
Communication and Information Exchange: Perhaps the most important and overreaching feature of the continuum of care is communication and the timely exchange of information. It is here that the technology of EMR and EHR is a critical piece of the big picture. When healthcare providers share information and collaborate, it,
- minimizes the risk of overlooking an important detail in a personal history or testing results,
- reduces the chance of duplicating diagnostic testing and
- mitigates the risk of re-prescribing medications that have been ineffective.
Care Coordination and Seamless Transitions: Following on the heels of communication in importance is coordination of care. This feature of the continuum calls for providers to embrace a more holistic view. It is essential for a seamless transition between different healthcare settings, such as from hospital to rehabilitation or primary care physician to specialist. Coordination across disciplines helps ensure that patients do not experience lapses or gaps in treatment that could adversely impact a positive outcome.
In a landscape plagued by rising supply and equipment costs, falling revenue rating outlooks, and staffing shortage, coordinating care can help maximize resource allocation.
Patient Engagement: According to a 2022 National Institutes of Health article, “engaging patients in collaborative care, shared decision-making with their providers, and chronic disease self-management have improved health outcomes and lead to increases in function, reduced pain, and decreased costs.” 2
The features of the continuum of care do not stand alone but work together to make care personal.
Personalized care, empathy, and respect all contribute to positive patient outcomes.
Minimizing Costs with Continuum of Care
In addition to contributing to positive patient outcomes that can impact profitability, the continuum of care model offers features that can minimize costs.
The preventative care aspect of the continuum of care model focuses on regular check-ups and screenings. By identifying and addressing health issues at an early stage, diseases and conditions can be treated sooner, minimizing the need for expensive treatments.
With coordination of care patients receive timely and proper follow-up care following hospitalization or treatment. Ensuring post discharge support and monitoring helps reduce the risk of hospital readmission and supports a positive outcome.
With its holistic approach to healthcare, the continuum of care helps to improve the health and well-being of individual people.
Healthy people make healthy populations.
Healthy populations save everyone money.
To conclude, the continuum of care and patient experience are interconnected. By embracing the continuum of care model and focusing on continuity of care, effective communication, care coordination, patient engagement, and personalized care, healthcare providers can help ensure a positive patient experience throughout the healthcare journey.
And, studies have shown that positive patient experiences can directly affect the profitability of a clinic, hospital, or IDN.
The CME Experience
CME can supply healthcare facilities with the medical equipment and tools that add to a positive experience in either the acute care or primary care setting. As a national medical equipment distributor, we have relationships with over 2,000 manufacturers giving us the flexibility to:
- Help you choose medical equipment that supports a focus on patient comfort.
- Help you stay on budget.
- Help you manage and schedule the delivery of assembled medical equipment when it is convenient for you and your patients.
Learn more about our white-glove Direct-to-Site logistics and delivery services on our website or click the CHAT button to start a conversation with a CME expert.
About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipment, turnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers. With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.