Behavioral healthcare providers and individuals seeking care strive for the same thing: high quality care at an affordable cost. With an increasingly long list of to-do’s in our nation’s healthcare system, industry leaders have already begun to propose several remedies that show high promise for much-needed reforms – especially in the behavioral health sector.
One such proposal is the ‘Triple Aim’ approach – this three-pronged strategy effectively collapses an overly compartmentalized healthcare system and opens a highly-integrated communal door with a goal of: (1) improving the patient experience, (2) improving sustainable outcomes and, (3) lower the costs of healthcare delivery. This approach operates on the foundational pay-for-performance model (also known as value-based reimbursement), rather than a fee-for-service model.
Empowering patients to be involved in the direction of their care is a key to the Triple Aim approach. By implementing principles of population health management and effectively communicating with patients via mediums they prefer, providers and insurers will greatly enhance the ability to deliver healthcare with precision, integrity and in a cost-effective manner.
Research suggests overall patient experience is enhanced when healthcare consumers are engaged in this way and providers continue to individualize care. Financial performance is also strengthened as patients become healthier and readmission rates decline.
Population health management embraces the individual and treats them as a person experiencing an illness rather than a faceless quantity used to justify premium levels, performance or health system costs. Instead, it opens avenues of communication and collaboration across care teams and encourages integrated medicine through methods of interoperability, telehealth, predictive analytics and risk management.
When individuals have access to an extended continuum of care during their process of brain healing and beyond, the probability for maintaining long-term recovery is substantially increased. Extending the care continuum, following up with post-discharged patients and communicating with them as individuals is just one example of effective population health management – a system, that when done right, decreases costs, increases the rate of recovery and, most importantly, saves lives that may otherwise not endure the long and arduous road to recovery.
2017 promises to be a landmark year in terms of the way behavioral healthcare is delivered and reimbursed. The pay-for-performance model is embraced to a greater degree and the landscape is rich with opportunities for providers and their patients – more effective treatments and successful outcomes result in lower costs – i.e. what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Reimbursements for these kinds of extended care continuums have begun and the data shows we are moving more and more toward a widespread integrative and inclusive approach – and this can mean success for everyone.
It is time for America to embrace the principles of the Triple Aim approach and adopt better population health management tactics so we can transition into a new year of health. Achieving this goal will require action from the behavioral health community at-large and include the voices of patients who benefitted from Triple Aim’s holistic approach to integrating every facet of a patient’s care structure.
There’s little doubt we are on the right track and the prospect of reform in behavioral health looks brighter than ever before. That should give professionals and patients alike the confidence to move more boldly in the direction of pay-for-performance models.
With data suggesting Triple Aim not only works but is excelling in providing positive patient outcomes, is there any justification for not continuing to implement and perfect this approach nationwide?
Simply put, no.