In the News: Oct 31–Nov 7

Mobile Health Clinic Expands Care to Vulnerable Populations

A recent Patient Engagement HIT article highlights the importance of providing accessible care through mobile health clinics to vulnerable patient communities. Marginalized communities face extraordinary barriers when trying to seek care, but bringing care directly to these communities establishes trust and changes the way they manage their health. By providing mobile health clinics as an option within the community, hospitals and health systems can help fill existing gaps within the continuum of care, while also tackling social determinants of health.

Mobile health clinics help vulnerable populations receive the care they need in a convenient environment while improving outcomes. These clinics contribute to overall health industry cost savings, help prevent visits to the ED and create a community health network where patients feel safe seeking out care at any time.

Considering partnerships within the community is a way to begin addressing social determinants of health, as so many clinical outcomes are dependent on them. To learn more about how health systems are extending care beyond their medical campuses, please read the Sg2 Expert Insight Extending Health Care Beyond the Medical Campus: Addressing Social Determinants of Health.

US Oncologist Shortage Poses Risks to Women’s Health

A recent FierceHealthcare article reviews a study by professional medical network Doximity that discusses the growing shortage of oncologists in the US. Citing cancer as “one of the most pressing health issues that women face nationally,” report co-author and Doximity vice president of strategy and insights Amit Phull emphasized that not addressing the growing oncologist shortage could significantly impact large patient populations and areas where shortages are to be most drastic.

Drawing from several data sources, the study compared information related to locally trained oncologist workload, age and supply, mapping responses across US metropolitan statistical areas to identify areas with the greatest risk of shortages. The study found the top 5 areas likely to see oncologist shortages (Miami; North Port, Florida; New York City; Los Angeles; and Washington, DC), are also areas with the highest percentage of oncologists aged 65 and older and nearing retirement. In areas with current oncologist access challenges, shortages driven by retiring oncologists may further exacerbate those challenges and lead to lags in patient care, especially for female patients suffering from breast and lung cancer.

Oncologist shortages are among the many near-term challenges on provider systems’ radars, as they may impact ongoing programmatic planning and sustainable growth. To keep abreast of other recent cancer and women’s health developments, as well as Sg2 expert opinion (eg, impact of proposed radiation oncology bundled payment model, strategic considerations for fetal care programs), please read the Sg2 Expert Insight Service Line Roundup: Cancer, Medicine and Women’s Health.

Facebook Launches Preventive Care Access Platform

A recent Patient Engagement HIT article highlights the launch of Facebook’s new Preventive Health platform designed to encourage proactive health care choices and increase consumerism among Facebook users. The initiative is the outcome of a partnership between Facebook, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and aims to reduce preventable illnesses related to cancer and heart disease.

Preventive Health is fully integrated into the Facebook mobile app and allows an individual to identify recommended preventive care measures based on standard age, gender and demographic data. The platform will encourage flu shots and various vaccines recommended by the CDC, and users will be able to create their own “to-do” lists related to preventive health tasks, as well as price shop for cost-friendly screenings. Information regarding low-cost care and federally qualified health centers will also be available for users who do not currently have health insurance. Facebook and its partners are hoping the easy-to-use platform will empower consumer-driven care and lower the number of avoidable chronic illnesses among its users.

Understanding consumer decision making and how patients access care is crucial to maintaining market share within today’s health care landscape. Becoming more consumer-oriented will help organizations satisfy changing patient needs along their System of CARE. To learn more about adapting your organization to the new consumer ecosystem, please read the Sg2 report Reinventing the Patient Journey: A Consumerism Update and Outlook.

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