With healthcare’s movement to value-based payment requiring cross-continuum patient engagement, health systems will be held increasingly accountable for the performance of post-acute care providers to whom they send patients.
The significant cost and quality variation among post-acute care providers, coupled with limited data on post-acute costs and outcomes, can have serious financial repercussions for a health system’s bottom line and even more serious effects on patient outcomes.
As our healthcare delivery system migrates from treating illness to emphasizing prevention and wellness, long-standing siloes among acute and post-acute organization simply aren’t sustainable. Health systems must create integrated partnerships with post-acute care providers to determine when, how much, what type of post-acute care is most appropriate. We’ve found significant interest among healthcare leaders around creating these essential partnerships – in a recent Premier survey, 85 percent of health system leaders reported they are considering creating or expanding partnerships with preferred post-acute care providers.
When it comes to creating an effective post-acute care network, however, it’s important to consider some key strategies that establish a strong foundation for success:
- Determine roles and accountability: The buck has to stop somewhere, and establishing main points of contact on the network developer’s side are necessary to ensure direct communication, designate accountability, lead decision-making efforts and oversee conflict resolution methods.
- Begin to understand consumption, costs and outcomes through data: Deep data regarding the local post-acute providers offers a foundation to design effective cross-continuum thinking that can address the gaps between the care settings, build new practices where necessary, and help inform who, where, what and how care will be delivered for each patient.
- Start the dialogue with post-acute care providers: After taking a deep dive on preliminary data and gaining a sense of how a post-acute network would be managed and developed, the next step is to begin the conversation with post-acute providers in the community and gauge both their interest and capacity around collaboration.
- Establish a narrow network with preferred providers: Health system leaders must be equipped with the right information to identify, vet and credential potential partners that are willing to adopt value-based measures, engage in best practice, and promote a culture that values safety, quality and patient-centeredness.
- Improve care together for the patient: Health systems and post-acute providers must both recognize that significant changes will be needed in both entities to improve internal processes and establish best practices. This means working closely toward a shared vision that makes care better and safer for patients, while also reducing clinical inefficiencies and creating new practices that foster collaboration and prevent siloes in care.
For a deeper dive on this emerging trend, be sure to learn more about these best practices and how Premier’s team of experts can help you navigate during this time of change.
Mr. Edeburn is a Principal with Premier Inc., with more than 15 years of healthcare consulting experience, specializing in acute, primary, post-acute, and senior care services. He is a nationally recognized expert on aging services and post-acute care. His areas of expertise include strategic planning, acute/post-acute integration, provider network development, and managed care.