In the News: Oct 17–24

App-Based Service Helps Patients Locate the “Right” Doctor

A recent Healthcare Dive article discusses how artificial intelligence can help connect patients with the “right” doctor based on patient preferences. By adopting elements of dating apps, a new app-based service allows patients to select characteristics and attributes they look for in a doctor or a visit and then connects them to doctors that meet their criteria.

Consumerism is growing in health care, and the app was developed to meet the on-demand experience consumers seek. Within the first 9 months, 40% of patients scheduled a follow-up appointment with the same doctor they originally scheduled an appointment with through the app.

Sg2 believes consumers have more options than ever when it comes to accessing care. Defending and gaining market share in this new consumer ecosystem now demands health systems better understand factors influencing consumer decision making and redesign their offerings to be more responsive to consumer needs. To learn key factors converging into a new consumer ecosystem, fixes aimed at common consumer pain points and tools to deepen understanding of consumer needs, read the Sg2 report Reinventing the Patient Journey: A Consumerism Update and Outlook.

Collaboration Can Help Address Rural Health Provider Shortages

A recent Patient Engagement HIT article discusses key needs for family physicians to address shortages in patient care access in rural areas. It is estimated that 57 million Americans live in rural areas, with the majority experiencing considerable physician shortages. Findings from a 2019 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation survey revealed 45% of respondents cited cost as a barrier to care, while 23% of respondents said geographic barriers interfered with care access. The American Academy of Family Physicians supports solutions to the rural health crisis that involve the deployment and expertise of family practice physicians.

Rural residents need certain specialty care services such as access to maternity, emergency and primary care—services which family practitioners can support. Advanced practice practitioners can help to strengthen care networks by expanding the scale and scope the practice, thereby reducing gaps in coverage. Changes to payment structures are also critical to strengthening rural health access. Almost 83% of rural family physicians accept new Medicaid patients compared to about 67% of urban physicians, which is a financial inequity payment models ought to address.

As rural communities face access challenges, opportunities arise for leading health systems to collaborate with rural providers. To learn more about how health systems and rural providers can successfully collaborate to expand access to rural patients, please read the Sg2 Expert Insight Collaborating With Rural Providers to Find Growth.

Approximately 25% of US Health Care Spending Is Due to Waste

A recent Modern Healthcare article highlights a JAMA literature review finding 25% of US health care spending can be cut to reduce waste, which is lower than previous estimates due to the conservative approach of looking at Medicare-only data.

The drivers of waste included 6 categories: administrative complexity, pricing failure, failure of care delivery, overtreatment or low-value care, fraud and abuse, and failure of care coordination. Addressing these contributing factors can lead to an annual savings of $191 to $282 billion annually. Leaders in the field stated that addressing politics, irrational pricing, enhanced regulation of health care monopolies and value-based partnerships will be key strategies moving forward.

Health systems must prepare for the accelerated and aggressive push toward value-based care—as value-based initiatives are scaled, a more advanced org structure will be needed. To learn management models for organizational needs at various stages of value-based care adoption, read the Sg2 report Organizational Structures to Advance Value-Based Care.

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