Finding the Real Key to Success with Collaborative Care

I recently sat down to talk with Drex DeFord, President of Drexio Digital Health, to discuss where health care currently stands on patient engagement and collaborative care.

As DeFord looked back on his 30-year history in health care, he’s seen firsthand the massive growing pains we’ve experienced as we’ve moved from essentially a sick care system to really taking care of patients’ health. The move to value-based care is a challenging one and requires organizations to engage and collaborate with patients in ways they weren’t used to doing before. Plus, DeFord described that the biggest challenge for most organizations is having one proverbial foot in fee-for-service and one in value-based reimbursement.

Most of these organizations find themselves “high centered” in the transition and stuck between the current fee-for-service world and future value-based reimbursement world. Health systems generally have at least a small portion of their population in at-risk contracts and some have significant portions of their population in an at-risk contract. This is certainly a cause for concern for many hospital CIOs.  Balancing the transition from one reimbursement model to the other is one of the hardest challenges CIOs face today.

However, DeFord cautions that you can’t just throw technology at the problem. You can’t just convert a train wreck of a process into a technical process and expect things to go well. Making your current, poorly designed processes faster is not a good approach. Instead, DeFord suggests a simple people, process, and technology approach. He argues that health care is a people-based business and while technology is important, it’s how the technology facilitates the people that ultimately matters.

DeFord further highlighted the most important person in health care: the patient. He suggested that if you’re a CIO not involved in your patient committees and interacting with patients, you need to go and spend time with them. Engaging a patient in our new technology-enabled world is 1000 times easier than before. DeFord suggested we extend that engagement to provide better social services and engage with outside agencies or we can’t truly put the patient at the center.

While these are important changes, he did acknowledge that these changes aren’t easy. However, instead of focusing on trying to solve every problem, DeFord suggested that healthcare CIOs take an incremental and thoughtfully designed process to get from where they are to where they want to be.  Plus, technology keeps changing, so previous issues that were thought impossible become possible.

DeFord also highlighted high-level areas like mobile, patient report cards, bots, analytics, and interoperability as key to collaborative care. Plus, he talked about how we get the right data pushed to the population health managers, doctors, and patients so they can do the right thing easily.

Healthcare has always been a team sport and technology will facilitate those teams to work more effectively. DeFord finishes by suggesting that changing the culture of your organization to be focused on the patient is the real key to your success with collaborative care.

Watch the full video interview with Drex DeFord below to learn even more about collaborative care and patient engagement.

How is your organization doing with collaborative care and patient engagement?  What else needs to be done to embrace these efforts more fully?