10 May Through the Patients’ Eyes
Continuous improvement in our rapidly changing patient-centric world
by Joseph Neidig, CEO, Tri State Community Clinics
I think a lot about our ever-increasing obligations and how they clutter our lives. Just think about all of the things we would do if we had more time! To that point, the world is continuously improving services in every industry to make our lives easier or more convenient in some way, shape or form. Unfortunately, what often gets squeezed out of our lives is caring for the health of ourselves and our family. This often means seeing a healthcare provider takes a backseat to other responsibilities. More than ever, employers and healthcare providers are looking at ways to tailor healthcare solutions to meet employees’ demanding schedules. Tri State Community Clinics is proud to partner with St. Mary’s Healthy@Work in this effort.
Through our on-site, near-site or multi-site medical clinic services we are able to decrease the barriers to care – making it more convenient and easily accessible to the patient. This convenience has been proven to directly impact the health of employees and their families and significantly reduce the long-term medical costs for employers.
Solutions that work
A recent study at the Mayo Clinic’s Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center in Rochester, Minnesota, offers evidence supporting the effectiveness of employer clinics in improving employees’ overall health and reducing employers’ healthcare costs. Those who frequently visited the center had 40 percent reduced healthcare spending compared to their counterparts who occasionally visited the clinic, according to Dr. John H. Noseworthy, CEO of Mayo Clinic. “We’ve also found that among those who participate more, not only are there financial benefits, but their job satisfaction and their engagement and productivity in the workplace increase and their absenteeism is less.” *
At TSCC, we and our partners have experienced similar results. In a recent Evansville Courier & Press article, it was noted that the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) clinics were “busting at the seams” and utilizing over 100 percent of available appointment hours. In the same article, it was reported that the EVSC was able to save over 10 percent in total healthcare spending. Dr. Chad Perkins, CMO of TSCC, stated, “The real recipe is the more these clinics are utilized, the more they save.”
Another example of increased clinic utilization, lowered healthcare spend comes from the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (EVPL). Over the course of a year, TSCC coaches worked with their employees and family members to improve the health of their total population. Nearly 50% of EVPL’s population have the highest level of health (0-1 risk factors), an improvement from last year when only one-third of their population had achieved this level of health. According to Don Crankshaw, EVPL Organizational Development Officer, during that same time frame EVPL’s total healthcare costs reduced by well over 10 percent (including the costs of the clinic).
The first step – Integrated Health Risk Assessment (IHRA)
The first step to improving employee health begins by identifying health risks using an Integrated Health Risk Assessment which creates immediate and impactful engagement. At TSCC, we assess both in clinic as well as in the work site to make the patient’s assessment as convenient as possible. Patients have access to many of the same friendly and familiar faces they know and trust from using their TSCC health and wellness clinic, and we are there to help walk them through the screening process.
Patients’ results and coaching are immediate. Providers and nurses answer all questions the participant might have about improving their risk factors. At that same time, they are scheduled for a follow-up visit to stay on plan and address any further needs. The TSCC IHRA process strives to be pro-active by engaging the participant in their health and wellness needs. Understanding that the coaching relationship with the patient never ends, our goal is to remain accessible and become a teammate in our patient’s lives.
What’s next? Looking ahead to the future
Every day at TSCC our first question must be, “How can we make the patient’s experience better today?” We understand that expectations are changing. Gone are the days when it was innovative and satisfactory to get people in and out on time, make the appropriate labs and generic medication available and take the time to answer all questions.
When we succeed at offering high quality care that is convenient and easily accessible for our patients it extends beyond a “win” for the individual. The family wins by enjoying a healthier loved one. The company wins with increased productivity, lower absenteeism, reduced healthcare costs and an overall healthier population. But most importantly, we all score the biggest WIN with a healthier, happier community and workforce – and that’s something I personally am very proud to be a part of.