Among other things discussed at the NAACOS (National Association of ACOs) Fall Conference 2023, one thing definitely caught everyone’s attention: the need to unburden the delivery of care among care practitioners. Things have gotten worse with Covid-19 and now, more physician groups are actively seeking care technologies that support their daily workflows and make life easier for frontline care teams.
ACOs have contributed a great deal to value-based care by improving healthcare quality for patients while reducing costs. However, the healthcare industry has increasingly been shaken up by very high levels of physician burnout. ACOs must direct their attention towards solutions that address the needs of exhausted providers. Innovation is critical for them to operate effortlessly amid challenging routines, deliver better patient outcomes and work more efficiently at the same time.
Addressing Physician Burnout is Key
Physician burnout needs to be addressed, as this is closely tied to provider well-being, healthcare costs and the overall patient experience. ACOs have made valuable contributions to the value-based care initiative, by generating massive cost savings and improving the quality of care provided to patients. However, these organizations will not see the full value of their efforts if they do not take steps to address physician burnout. According to the Medcape’s physician burnout report, burnout is on the rise among physicians in the U.S. They define burnout, as providers not getting any joy out of their work, low job satisfaction, feelings of negativity and very poor sense of personal accomplishment.
This is serious, as burnout reaps negative outcomes for physicians themselves, for the patients they serve and the overall organizations they are a part of. Suicide rates are higher among physicians, and studies mostly cite job stress as a factor. Some say burnout is reaching a crisis in the healthcare industry. Consequently, the industry is expected to face a massive physician shortage of up to 90,000 providers by 2025. Therefore, ACOs success under value-based care hinges on improving physician experience and reducing burnout, as this is closely knitted with patient experiences and providing quality care outcomes. Ensuring provider satisfaction is crucial for any organization participating in value-based care. In order to achieve that goal, one must alleviate administrative burdens by leveraging technology that improves provider satisfaction and simplifies their daily workflows. The goal is to use technology that makes the challenging jobs of providers easier and actually helps lower burnout among physicians.
At Hucu.ai, we support physician groups in leveraging communication technology and help them incorporate it into their daily workflows with the most user-friendly solution. ACOs must embrace technology, such as electronic patient communication, telemedicine, among others as this saves providers a great deal of their administrative hours and helps them in their busy routines.
There is hope for burnout!
Hucu.ai is part of the value-based revolution. In order to deliver on the promise of higher quality, lower cost care, value-based care providers must have collaboration and communication across the care continuum. However, besides improving the quality of care outcomes, communication technology can be a valuable tool in terms of addressing and lowering burnout among physicians. Hucu.ai is providing advanced patient-centered messaging that improves staff efficiency and reduces burnout. With staffing shortages on the rise, the only way physician groups can grow is by lowering burnout and retaining staff members. Hucu.ai brings the entire organization into one place organized by patient, subject or department, that increases teamwork by balancing synchronous and asynchronous communication. At Hucu.ai, we strive for culture development among organizations which naturally happens when care teams are communicating well with each other. A strong, positive culture is key for tackling burnout in the care community.
Lessons learned from Transitions to Value-Based Risk Models
At NAACOS 2023 this year, we heard from many provider organizations who have successfully transitioned to risk-based contracts under value-based care. Health systems such as Crouse Health and Ardent Health Services spoke about their first hand experiences on navigating this transition with confidence and improving patient care while achieving financial successes. There is no doubt that participation in value-based risk models is rising. Their value-based care strategies center around maximizing support to their providers, creating an infrastructure that backs value-based arrangements across payers. Their goal is to support individual markets, optimize resources, streamline their internal operations and leverage innovative technologies for increasing care delivery.
Recently, Kaufman Hall Managing Directors Mathew Bates, Nora Kelly and Max Timm sat down to have a discussion on the rise of risk–based contracting in value-based healthcare arrangements and what providers need to be mindful of in order to ensure successful outcomes. Risk-based care models are evidently on the rise, and employment of physicians by non-traditional health systems has risen over time. According to them, this is a tremendous cultural shift, one which requires greater trust and collaboration among both payers and providers. Accountable care organizations are playing a key role in accelerating the care continuum shift towards greater value. But such complex contracting options make it challenging for ACOs to achieve success. In this model, groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers voluntarily come together to provide quality care to patients and cover the total cost of care for the patients it serves.
In order to expand available services, ACOs have built their teams in ways that make coordinated care a reality. The care coordination efforts of ACO providers are positively affecting patient outcomes. Relationships forged through care coordination efforts ensure patients having greater confidence in their treatment measures and greater trust in ACO providers. This allows the ACO to become the patient’s go-to option for care as opposed to the emergency department and other settings beyond the ACO’s network of providers. Likewise, most ACOs are increasing access to patient care. They put mechanisms in place for providers who were willing to work extra hours or on weekends in order to ensure patients come to them for their needs and don’t seek that help someplace else. These services or capabilities are helping ACOs generate greater value-based revenue, increase provider satisfaction and ultimately improve the quality of patient outcomes and experiences. As more provider organizations get on-board value-based care, they certainly need to invest in technologies to ensure successful outcomes for all. For instance, patient engagement technology such as Hucu.ai can ensure greater visibility for providers monitoring high-risk patients via telehealth services. At the same time, these tools save providers hours of valuable time, increase job satisfaction and productivity, which they can channel towards more pressing matters.