How COVID-19 Reshaped Healthcare Consumerism & 4 Key Trends to Know for 2021

How COVID-19 Reshaped Healthcare Consumerism & 4 Key Trends to Know for 2021

What You Should Know:

– NRC Health today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer
Trends Report, which surveyed 2 million healthcare consumers against the
backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

– The latest report highlights the major trends that came to light last year, and how they will continue to impact the healthcare industry in 2021 and beyond – from declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of telehealth, a rise in wearable tech, and a broader focus on social media marketing.

– Hospital leaders will also find value in learning how
to recapture patient volumes lost in 2020 and how to bring more human
understanding into the care experience.


NRC Health, a provider of in-depth
customer intelligence in healthcare, today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report. For its
third-annual industry review, NRC Health surveyed millions of healthcare
consumers against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From
declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of
telehealth, a rise in wearable tech and a broader focus on social media
marketing, NRC Health’s latest report shines a light on consumers’ evolving
preferences and behaviors related to key healthcare trends and offers insight
into how provider organizations can recapture patient volumes in 2021.


COVID-19 Accelerated the Trajectory of Consumerism in
Healthcare

“It cannot be overstated just how dramatically COVID-19 has accelerated the trajectory of consumerism in healthcare,” said Helen Hrdy, Chief Growth Officer, NRC Health. “The onus falls on healthcare leaders to move the industry forward by ensuring patient safety, building consumer trust and bringing more human understanding into every care experience. Those organizations that are willing and able to evolve with the times will be best-positioned for success in the aftermath of COVID-19.”

“For years, consumers have made consistent appeals for autonomy, convenience, and freedom of choice,” said Hrdy. “As unsettling as it’s been, COVID-19 has brought some of these consumerist-driven measures to the forefront. While healthcare leaders have proven they can be nimble and adaptable, even in the face of crisis, consumers want a partnership with their providers and a care experience that exceeds their expectations moving forward. But only with the right data and the right understanding, can we ensure that healthcare is capable of adapting.”


4 Key Healthcare Consumerism Trends to Know in 2021

1. Consumers favor convenience, provider rapport over brand loyalty

Consumer loyalty is a major driver of health system
profitability, but unfortunately for hospitals and health systems, overall
brand preference among healthcare consumers continues to decline, from 31% in
2018 to 36% in 2020. More than a third of consumers expressed no particular
preference for a healthcare brand, when compared against independent
practitioners, and 62% anticipate their brand preferences to change after the
pandemic.

Ironically, providers themselves are in the best position to
earn back consumer trust. An analysis from NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback
database shows that consumers report an overwhelming fondness for their
providers, especially since the outbreak began. To capitalize on that goodwill
and bring patients back into the healthcare fold, all evidence points to
convenience. Almost half of consumers say a convenient location is the number
one factor in their healthcare decision-making.


2. Patient deferment rates will continue to rise

Prior to the pandemic, healthcare deferral rates were
approaching a five-year low. But with consumer anxiety at an all-time high due
to the pandemic, those rates rose significantly in 2020, up from 22.4% at the
end of March to 30.4% by the end of June. Forty percent of patients who delayed
care in 2020 cited the coronavirus as the reason, while 17.2% said they prefer
to manage their care on their own for now.

Delaying care can have a number of repercussions, from
threatening hospital revenue streams in the near term to causing far more
serious outcomes for consumers in the long term. Patients 75 and older
accounted for nearly 68% of all care delays, revealing a huge challenge for
health systems as they try to recruit this generation back into regular care.


3. Future of care delivery looks
uncertain after rapid telehealth adoption

Lagging in widespread adoption for years, the pandemic fast
tracked virtual care delivery from optional luxury to operational necessity.
Fortunately, consumers have been receptive to the shift, with an overwhelming
92% reporting positive telehealth experiences during this time. However, only
27% of consumers say they will consider telehealth as a potential alternative
for future visits, underscoring what is still an uncertain future for virtual
health and overall care delivery beyond the pandemic. Prioritizing provider
time and attentiveness, as well as financial transparency, will be key as
healthcare organizations work to cultivate effective telehealth practices long
term.


4. Patients and providers still disconnected over digital
innovations

Telehealth
may have brought healthcare into consumers’ homes, but it is by no means the
only avenue to reach customers outside of the healthcare facility. By and
large, consumers are enthusiastic about digital innovations that bring them
closer to their provider — even as these innovations are underutilized by
healthcare organizations.

Wearable
tech
, for example, has become a huge part of the average consumer’s daily
life in regards to how they manage their health and wellness from home. Yet
only 50% of providers are asking about wearable tech data during appointments,
despite the fact that 57% of consumers believe this data would be useful in
conversations with their healthcare providers.

Social media is another under-used digital venue for patient
interaction. Even though 72% of Americans have some kind of social media
profile, many health systems have not yet found an optimal strategy for
engagement. And while currently, only 23% of Internet users are actively
seeking health information on social media, that number is likely to soon rise
as 70% percent of consumers expressed interest in getting healthcare
information via social channels. Another 62% said they trust the health information
they get on social media, so long as it comes directly from their provider.
This was especially true during the worst of the pandemic, when consumers
trusted news from local healthcare organizations more than any other sources.


Five ways to disrupt U.S. healthcare from Cotiviti’s Jordan Bazinsky

The complex makeup of the U.S. healthcare system has led to challenges in managing quality and cost at scale and resulted in a poor cost-to-value ratio, particularly in comparison to other developed nations. In an interview published in Authority Magazine, Cotiviti executive vice president and chief administrative officer Jordan Bazinsky delineates the specific shortfalls of the U.S. healthcare system and offers viable solutions, including the adoption of a single patient identifier.

Healthcare Headlines: February 2020

<h2 class="heading-medium">US On Track For One Of The Worst Flu Seasons In Decades
</h2>
<p>This flu season is on track to be as severe as the deadliest flu season in the United States in more than 40 years. Check out the latest hospitalization rates, year-over-year comparisons and a nationwide map of influenza activity.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/01/07/flu-update" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about US On Track For One Of The Worst Flu Seasons In Decades">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">5 Trends For Hospitals To Watch In 2020
</h2>
<p>Stay on top of the legislative news cycle in 2020 by knowing these anticipated trends from key healthcare leaders. Their predictions include surprise billing, consolidations and more.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/5-trends-for-hospitals-to-watch-in-2020.html" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about 5 Trends For Hospitals To Watch In 2020 ">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Treating Patients With Chronic Conditions</h2>
<p>Primary care physicians are often relied upon by their patients suffering from chronic, complex medical conditions. However, PCPs often don&rsquo;t have enough time to provide these patients with the counseling and life-coaching that treatment of these conditions often require. Read about a technique called motivational interviewing, which allows physicians to more quickly learn what&rsquo;s going on in their patients&rsquo; lives so they can tailor their care to each patient.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.medicaleconomics.com/news/top-challenges-number-7-treating-patients-chronic-conditions" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Treating Patients With Chronic Conditions">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">What To Expect In 2020: An Even Greater Focus On Social Determinants Of Health
</h2>
<p>With this fall’s presidential election on the horizon, 2020 will likely see an increased focus on the relationship between traditional healthcare service providers and the non-medical needs that influence a patient’s health outcomes. One key and central question to making this all work: Will emerging reimbursement models accelerate investments in these social determinants of health?&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/strategy/what-expect-2020-even-greater-focus-social-determinants-health" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about What To Expect In 2020: An Even Greater Focus On Social Determinants Of Health">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Health Policy In 2020 Will Be Made In The States
</h2>
<p>With legislation in Congress likely to be blocked by partisan division and interest group opposition, it is anticipated that much of the movement and decision making in healthcare this year will be in the states. Check out this article for more on what could be occurring in your state.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.axios.com/health-care-2020-states-california-utah-tennessee-trump-d57a6a5b-a3b6-45b8-87b8-53060c217aaf.html" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Health Policy In 2020 Will Be Made In The States">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Investment In Medical And Health R&amp;D Not Keeping Up With Needs Of Nation, Report Finds</h2>
<p>While investment in medical and health research and development continues to grow, R&amp;D spending still represents only about 5 cents of every health dollar spent. This key finding in the 2019 U.S. Investments in Medical and Health Research and Development, a new report from Research!America, indicates that the total investment isn’t tracking with disease burden. Read this piece for more on this report and its recommendations on curtailing certain diseases.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/investment-medical-and-health-rd-not-keeping-needs-nation-report-finds" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Investment In Medical And Health R&amp;D Not Keeping Up With Needs Of Nation, Report Finds">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Hand Hygiene Protocols For ICU Patients May Reduce Infection Risk, Study Suggests</h2>
<p>New study by the Cleveland Clinic finds that hand hygiene practices for patients in the intensive care unit may be just as important for preventing infections as clinician hand hygiene. See the findings published in Infection Control &amp; Hospital Epidemiology to ensure proper practices in your practice.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/hand-hygiene-protocols-for-icu-patients-may-reduce-infection-risk-study-suggests.html" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Hand Hygiene Protocols For ICU Patients May Reduce Infection Risk, Study Suggests">Read more</a></p>

Five Healthcare Trends in 2020: Your Cheat Sheet

<div class="right-align">
<a class="btn btn-blue _gt" data-category="Hospital" data-action="Click-Button" data-label="Blog-Five Healthcare Trends in 2020: Your Cheat Sheet" href="https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/kindred-hospitals-healthcare-trends-in-2020.pdf?sfvrsn=acbf8dea_2" title="Five Healthcare Trends in 2020: Your Cheat Sheet" target="_blank">Download this article as a PDF</a></div>
<br />
<p>In 2020, our nation&rsquo;s healthcare delivery and payment environment will continue its multi-year evolution. While some key trends will continue and expand, 2020 also brings new trends that will have a significant impact on healthcare providers across the continuum.</p>
<div style="background-color:#c5dde5;padding:20px;">
<p><strong>The top five trends to watch in 2020 are: </strong></p>
<ol>
<li><a href="#Consolidation">Consolidation </a></li>
<li><a href="#Disruptors">System Disruptors </a></li>
<li><a href="#Consumerism">Consumerism</a> </li>
<li><a href="#Growth">Growth in Medicare Advantage</a> </li>
<li><a href="#Post-Acute">New Post-Acute Models</a></li>
</ol>
</div>
<br />
<p id="Consolidation"><strong>1. Healthcare Consolidation</strong></p>
<p>The continued &ndash; and growing &ndash; trend toward integrated production, including nontraditional partners, helps define an age of major transformation across the healthcare industry. <strong>While mergers and acquisitions between hospitals, health systems and physician practices may be waning, consolidation among unlikely partners has accelerated.</strong> These types of relationships include the ongoing integration between CVS and Aetna and the announced deal between Walmart and Amedysis.</p>
<p><strong>Why It Matters: <br />
Greater consolidation and integration across the healthcare system has the potential to play a vital role in improving patient treatment as traditional silos of care are broken down.</strong> These new partnerships are emerging in a value-based healthcare environment as they help reduce inefficiencies in care and improve care coordination for patients. While the intention is that these new organizations will improve clinical outcomes and clinical decision support for patients post-discharge, there are still risks that monopolistic entities retain the benefits of scale and efficiency rather than passing along reduced healthcare costs to consumers. In 2020, it will be important to watch for some controls in the forms of new regulation to ensure the benefits go to the consumer. In fact, in November 2019, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), under the direction of Congress, began an initial investigation as to the effects of hospital mergers and healthcare provider consolidation.</p>
<hr />
<p id="Disruptors"><strong>2. Healthcare System Disruptors
</strong></p>
<p>A rapidly growing trend is the rise of &ldquo;disruptors&rdquo; within healthcare &ndash; these are outside sources that have not traditionally been tied to healthcare, but are seeking to radically reform the system.</p>
<p>One of the most notable disruptors is Haven, the nonprofit stemming from the joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and J. P. Morgan, which is aimed at improving the healthcare for their collective 1.2 million employees. Another disruptor to the status quo is Best Buy and their expansion into home healthcare, with the intent on enabling seniors to &ldquo;age in place&rdquo; through the use of technological wearable devices, remote monitoring tools and, eventually, new care coordination services. These are just two examples of organizations seeking to address the nation&rsquo;s healthcare challenges with innovative solutions.<sup>1</sup></p>
<p><strong>Why It Matters: </strong><br />
First off, it is important to recognize that these healthcare disruptors are all new and non-traditional participants in the healthcare marketplace. <strong>They are leading a trend to interrupt and dislocate the status quo and forge new pathways to improve healthcare services in America. By nature they will upend the healthcare industry, but the timing and exact impact is unknown.</strong></p>
<hr />
<p id="Consumerism"><strong>3. Consumerism
</strong></p>
<p>The concept of consumerism is that patients are taking ownership of care decisions based upon costs, their understanding of the full scope of options available to them based on research and trustworthy sources of information, and leveraging their use of technologies. <br />
<br />
Within this trend, consumers are increasingly searching for the best value at the lowest cost that is the most convenient to their lives. In response, healthcare providers have been asked to respond with more price transparency and demonstrated quality outcomes.<br />
<br />
Additionally, new technologies &ndash; such as wearable devices &ndash; provide consumers new ways to engage in their own healthy living and in managing certain conditions. <strong>This is important because research demonstrates that increasing a patient&rsquo;s participation in their care plan is associated with improved healthcare outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.</strong><sup>2<br />
</sup></p>
<p><strong>Why It Matters:</strong> <br />
<strong>With more than 80% of consumers researching their healthcare options online and the increased reliance on the reputation of a hospital, physician or provider before making healthcare decisions, costs and publicly-reported quality scores are increasingly important.</strong> This elevates the need for all health settings and health professionals to manage their online reputation, to ensure the highest quality outcomes that are reported on sites such as Medicare compare and to increase transparency in terms of the patient&rsquo;s out-of-pocket costs.
</p>
<p>The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed &ndash; but not finalized &ndash; new price transparency measures where all hospitals will have to &ldquo;publish the prices they negotiate with payers for standard services and items&rdquo; in order to help educate patients as to costs. However, the &ldquo;shoppable prices&rdquo; that CMS has proposed be made available will have little context for patients, and will not provide relevant data such as expected out-of-pocket costs.</p>
<hr />
<p id="Growth"><strong>4.&nbsp;Growth in Medicare Advantage&nbsp;</strong></p>
<p>Enrollment in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans has more than doubled over the past 20 years&ndash; growing from 18% in 1999 to 36.7% in 2019.<sup>3</sup> The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the share of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will rise to about 47 percent by 2029.<sup>1 </sup></p>
<p>More and more Americans are choosing to enroll in Medicare Advantage rather than traditional Medicare because of the perceived convenience and additional benefits touted by the managed care organizations. However, providers are increasingly finding that MA plans are discounting or ignoring physician decisions for the best and most clinically appropriate level of care for patients. Rather, plans are focusing on cost over optimal patient outcomes.</p>
<p><strong>Why It Matters: <br />
With health services and setting-specific care being denied by MA plans, patients, their families and physicians are increasingly appealing the plan&rsquo;s decisions.</strong> However, the appeals process can lead to delays in patients receiving the most appropriate care and significant additional administrative burden for physicians and care providers. Congressional leaders are taking notice, and in an initial effort to improve the Medicare Advantage appeals process, they have introduced the Improving Seniors&rsquo; Timely Access to Care Act (HR 3107). The legislation would reduce provider administrative burdens and increase transparency surrounding the use of prior authorization in MA, enable &ldquo;real time&rdquo; decisions by the plans, and seeks beneficiary protections based on evidence-based medical guidelines to ensure continuity during a course of treatment. <br />
<br />
<strong>Expect more Congressional activity and pressure from hospitals and health systems throughout 2020 to protect patient access to high-quality care in a timely manner.</strong></p>
<hr />
<p id="Post-Acute"><strong>5. New Post-Acute Models</strong></p>
<p>In 2020, both Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and Home Health Agencies (HHAs) will undergo significant overhauls to their Medicare payment systems. In October 2019, SNFs began a new system known as the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) and in January 2020, HHAs will undergo a reform to a new system known as Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM). Under both PDPM and PDGM, rehabilitative therapies are no longer the driver for Medicare payments; rather, Medicare payments are tied to the complexity of patient needs rather than the volume of services delivered.</p>
<p>However, providers must be mindful that CMS expects the same, or better, outcomes for patients under this new payment model.</p>
<p><strong>Why It Matters: <br />
</strong>In the early stages of PDPM, many SNF operators responded with layoffs or significant changes to the employment of qualified physical and occupational therapists and speech language pathologists. <strong>Despite the fact that therapies will not be a driver of reimbursement levels under the new models, they will still be essential to drive quality care and patient outcomes.</strong> In fact, therapies have been shown to have a huge impact on reducing lengths of stay and readmission rates, and improving functional outcomes and quality of life.</p>
<hr />
<p><strong>How Kindred Can Help </strong></p>
<p>We specialize in the treatment and rehabilitation of the post-intensive care and complex medical patients requiring continued intensive care, including specialized rehabilitation, in an acute hospital setting. </p>
<p>Our interdisciplinary team of skilled and specialty clinicians in our long-term acute care hospitals can be the right partner for you for your patients who have been in an ICU or critical care unit or who are chronically ill and at the greatest risk for hospital readmission. </p>
<p>With daily physician oversight, ICU/CCU-level staffing and specially trained interdisciplinary teams, we work to improve outcomes, reduce costly readmissions and help patients transition to a lower level of care.</p>
<p>Additionally, Kindred remains an advocate to help shape new health policies as Congress and the Administration seek to establish value-based healthcare payments and delivery reforms.<strong></strong></p>
<p><strong>If you have a critically ill patient in need of care after a hospital stay, call a Kindred Clinical Liaison for a patient assessment. Our experts will help you determine the most appropriate care setting for your patient&rsquo;s next stage of treatment. If you are unsure of who your Kindred representative is, please visit us online at <a href="https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/our-services/transitional-care-hospitals" target="_blank">www.kindredhospitals.com</a>&nbsp;to find our hospital nearest you.</strong></p>
<hr />
<p>References </p>
<ol>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">Bryant, Bailey, <em>&ldquo;Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart Leading Retail&rsquo;s Race into Home-Based Care,&rdquo;</em> homehealthcarenews.com, September 29, 2019, https://homehealthcarenews.com/2019/09/best-buy-amazon-and-walmart-leading-retails-race-into-homebased-care/ </span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">Coulter A, Ellins J. <em>Effectiveness of strategies for informing, educating, and involving patients.</em> BMJ. 2007; 335(7609):24&ndash;7. </span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;"><em>Kaiser Family Foundation: Medicare Advantage, </em>June 2019, https://www.kff.org/medicare/fact-sheet/medicare-advantage/&nbsp;</span></li>
</ol>
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Healthcare Headlines: December 2019

<h2 class="heading-medium">CMS Is Changing How It Pays Doctors To Coordinate Care
</h2>
<p>CMS has finalized rules that modify how physicians get paid to encourage primary care physicians and other clinicians to spend more time coordinating care for their patients. The intention is to help address the social determinants of health, increase patient adherence to treatment, and improve the continuity of care. Check out this article for all payment updates, including the physician fee schedule.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/payment/cms-changing-how-it-pays-doctors-coordinate-care" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about CMS Is Changing How It Pays Doctors To Coordinate Care">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">CDC Updates Core Elements Of Antibiotic Stewardship Of Hospitals
</h2>
<p>With the March 30, 2020, deadline requiring all acute care and critical access hospitals participating in Medicare to have antibiotic stewardship programs, CMS has updated its <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/core-elements/hospital.html" target="_blank">Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs</a>. The updates provide examples of leadership commitment to antibiotic stewardship programs, highlight priority interventions and process measures, and emphasize the key role that pharmacists and nurses play in improving antibiotic use in hospitals. Read to see if your antibiotic stewardship program follows these best practices.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.aha.org/news/headline/2019-11-18-cdc-updates-core-elements-antibiotic-stewardship-hospitals" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about CDC Updates Core Elements Of Antibiotic Stewardship Of Hospitals ">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Research Report: Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies Meeting New Needs For Hospitals</h2>
<p>Recent research shows that hospitals implementing remote patient monitoring technologies are looking for vendors who can offer patient-centric software and solutions that engage the patient in their own care. The following characteristics are the most compelling criteria: patient-centric, focused on patient engagement and empowerment, tools for patient/provider interaction, and consumer-based hardware. See how the technology is evolving to meet more needs. &nbsp;<a href="https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/klas-remote-patient-monitoring-technologies-meeting-new-needs-for-hospitals.html" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Research Report: Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies Meeting New Needs For Hospitals">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">CMS Urged To Cut Prior Authorization Red Tape
</h2>
<p>The AHA is asking CMS to give providers a break on prior authorization stating, &ldquo;the approach some health plans have taken negatively impacts patient care and adds significant additional cost and burden to the health care system.&rdquo; Read all of the association’s recommendations, including the request for a standardized form and response process.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/cms-urged-to-cut-prior-authorization-red-tape.html" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about CMS Urged To Cut Prior Authorization Red Tape">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Key Culture Traits Of Consumer-Centric Hospitals
</h2>
<p>As hospitals and health systems continue to work toward meeting, and exceeding, patient and family expectations of their interactions with health care, some are finding success by promoting a consumer-centric culture. Three healthcare consultants dig into this idea and provide three key takeaways to achieving a consumer-centric culture. Find out what they are and more on this strategy here.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/consumerism/3-key-culture-traits-of-consumer-centric-hospitals.html" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Key Culture Traits Of Consumer-Centric Hospitals ">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">3D-Printed Living Skin With Blood Vessels Created By Scientists
</h2>
<p>Scientists have created 3D-printed skin complete with blood vessels, which they hope could one day prevent the body rejecting grafted tissue. The research team combined cells found in human blood vessels with other ingredients, including animal collagen, and printed a skin-like material. Read more on this breakthrough and the patients it can help.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.newsweek.com/3d-printed-living-skin-blood-vessels-scientists-1469507" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about 3D-Printed Living Skin With Blood Vessels Created By Scientists">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Mobilizing Public Health To Support Elders&rsquo; Longevity And Thriving
</h2>
<p>Statistics about the aging population show that we are at a critical moment in preparing to support the aging population. Public health perspectives describe this substantial threat and propose to implement strategies to prevent or mitigate the suffering. Check out these considerations, including how population-based data is being used.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20191112.332366/full/" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Mobilizing Public Health To Support Elders’ Longevity And Thriving">Read more</a></p>

Healthcare Headlines: November 2019

<h2 class="heading-medium">Medicare Shared Savings ACOs Generated $1.7b In Savings In 2018
</h2>
<p>CMS announced that the 2018 Medicare Shared Savings Program generated $1.7 billion in total savings. It also reported that ACOs in the shared savings and risk-based models saw reductions in per-enrollee spending. ACOs that took on downside risk generated more savings than ACOs that did not. See the full report for more on how ACOs are trending.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/finance/medicare-shared-savings-acos-generated-17b-savings-2018" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Medicare Shared Savings ACOs Generated $1.7b In Savings In 2018">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Number Of Certified Physician Assistants Surging
</h2>
<p>The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 31% growth in the PA profession from 2018 to 2028, which the federal agency characterizes as "much faster than average" compared to other occupations. With the anticipated physician shortage, many think that physician assistant participation in clinical care teams is the solution. Check out the full analysis for more on the shifting role of PAs.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/welcome-ad?toURL=/clinical-care/number-certified-physician-assistants-surging" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Number Of Certified Physician Assistants Surging">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">CDC Updates Guidelines To Prevent Infections In Health Care Personnel
</h2>
<p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/healthcare-personnel/exec-summary.html" target="_blank">update</a>&nbsp;to its 1998 guidelines to prevent and control infection in the health care workplace. While the guidelines are intended for health care leaders and staff who address workplace health and safety, the guidelines themselves apply to a broader range of health care settings than before. Read the full guidelines for more on ways to prevent infections in your setting.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.aha.org/news/headline/2019-10-21-cdc-updates-guidelines-prevent-infections-health-care-personnel" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about CDC Updates Guidelines To Prevent Infections In Health Care Personnel">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">More ACOs Taking On Downside Risk, Analysis Finds
</h2>
<p>Research shows that ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program are increasingly moving toward downside financial risk through value-based contracts. The percentage participating in downside risk programs has grown from 2% the first performance year of the MSSP (2012) to approximately 30%. Check out the full article for more on these trends and the implications of downside risk.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20191020.962600/full/" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about More ACOs Taking On Downside Risk, Analysis Finds">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">60% Of Younger Patients Will Switch Healthcare Providers Over A Poor Digital Experience: Survey
</h2>
<p>Half of consumers say they are frustrated about their provider&rsquo;s lack of adoption of digital administrative processes, such as online bill pay, access to insurance information and digital pre-appointment forms, according to a recent survey. What&rsquo;s more striking is that many patients are willing to ditch their healthcare providers for their slow adoption of modern technology &ndash; 41% said they would stop going while 1 in 5 said they had already stopped or switched providers over a poor digital experience. Read the full article to avoid these pitfalls.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/60-younger-patients-will-switch-healthcare-providers-over-a-poor-digital-experience-survey" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about 60% Of Younger Patients Will Switch Healthcare Providers Over A Poor Digital Experience: Survey">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Rapid Expansion Of Telehealth Comes With New Challenges
</h2>
<p>The growth of telehealth is being met with regulatory risk that is largely due to the interplay between state regulations and federal policies, and the fact that state regulations widely vary from one to the next. See the full text to learn more about how these challenges, especially those related to reimbursement, are inhibiting the full potential of these new delivery methods.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.statnews.com/2019/10/21/telehealth-rapid-expansion-offers-challenges/" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Rapid Expansion Of Telehealth Comes With New Challenges">Read more</a></p>
<h2 class="heading-medium">Knock Pressure Injury Rates Down To Zero: 5 Ways
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<p>In 2018, the Dermal Defense Team at Temple University Hospital set out to achieve zero Stage 3 and Stage 4 pressure injuries developed by patients after a hospital admission. Through education, risk assessment, and other prevention protocols, the goal was met. Learn the 5 strategies they used to achieve success in preventing pressure injuries.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.psqh.com/news/knock-pressure-injury-rates-down-to-zero/" target="_blank" aria-label="Read more about Knock Pressure Injury Rates Down To Zero: 5 Ways">Read more</a></p>

Treating Sepsis in a World of Value-Based Care

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<p>A recent study indicates that <strong>the incidence of sepsis among hospitalized patients is increasing by 8.7%</strong> per year.<sup>1 </sup>Due to the severity of the condition, these patients are at a high risk of returning to an acute care setting to receive the appropriate clinical treatment.</p>
<p>To improve patient outcomes and decrease the possibility of costly readmissions for this at-risk population, providers should not only continue to enhance their internal clinical capabilities but also team with post-acute partners with expertise in treating sepsis.</p>
<p><strong>In this whitepaper, we outline the latest statistics and resources regarding sepsis and the post-acute strategies providers should consider to enhance outcomes for this critical population.</strong></p>
<div class="center-align"><img src="https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/images/default-source/blog-images/the-kindred-continuum/hd-sepsis-infographic.jpg?sfvrsn=9d6a8cea_0" data-displaymode="Original" alt="The incidence of sepsis among hospitalized patients is increasing by 8.7% per year" title="The incidence of sepsis among hospitalized patients is increasing by 8.7% per year" /></div>
<h2><strong>The Sepsis Crisis</strong></h2>
<p>Sepsis is a major problem. Here is what we know:</p>
<ul>
<li>Between 750,000 and 1.7 million Americans develop sepsis each year.<sup>2,3</sup> </li>
<li> The sepsis mortality rate is between 25-35%, meaning more than 270,000 people die from sepsis each year.<sup>3</sup></li>
<li>Sepsis accounts for more than 50% of hospital deaths.<sup>1</sup></li>
<li> Mortality increases dramatically with greater disease severity: 10&ndash;20% for sepsis, 20&ndash;40% for severe sepsis, and 40&ndash;80% for septic shock.<sup>1</sup></li>
<li> In a global study, sepsis was identified during the ICU stay in 29.5% patients, including 18.0% who exhibited sepsis at ICU admission.<sup>4</sup></li>
<li> Sepsis is very expensive to treat, with an annual price tag of approximately $17 billion.<sup>2</sup></li>
<li> Sepsis readmissions cost the U.S. more than $3.5 billion per year, or an average of $16,852 per readmission, according to a study published in March 2019 in Chest Journal. For reference, the annual readmission cost for the four conditions Medicare&rsquo;s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program aims to reduce &mdash; acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, COPD and pneumonia &mdash; is $7 billion combined.<sup>5</sup></li>
</ul>
<img class="float-right" src="https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/images/default-source/blog-images/the-kindred-continuum/hd-sepsis-info2.jpg?sfvrsn=ef6a8cea_0" data-displaymode="Original" alt="Sepsis readmissions cost the U.S. more than $3.5 billion per year, or an average of $16,852 per readmission" title="Sepsis readmissions cost the U.S. more than $3.5 billion per year, or an average of $16,852 per readmission" />
<p>Innovative treatments and care strategies are required to combat the growing impact of sepsis, especially in light of healthcare&rsquo;s continued push toward value-based care, which puts heightened pressure on managing total care costs and readmission rates.</p>
<p>To that end, this focus on reducing readmissions and total cost of care highlights the need for those in charge of discharge and placement after a hospital stay to accurately determine the most clinically appropriate post-acute setting for each unique patient. </p>
<p><strong style="color: #4183aa; font-size: 20px;">Resources and Case Studies to Help Improve Sepsis Outcomes</strong></p>
<p>To combat the growing rate of sepsis in hospitalized patients, providers should evaluate how this critical population is cared for. Fortunately, there are several existing resources providers can use as a base to build their own protocols:</p>
<ul>
<li><strong><a href="http://www.survivingsepsis.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Surviving-Sepsis-Campaign-Hour-1-Bundle-2018.pdf" target="_blank">The Surviving Sepsis Campaign Bundle: 2018 Update</a></strong><strong>:&nbsp;</strong>The Surviving Sepsis Campaign launched a new one-hour bundle for sepsis patient management that outlines the most critical steps to take within the first hour of sepsis identification.<sup>6</sup> </li>
<li><strong><a href="https://www.advisory.com/research/physician-executive-council/tools/2019/the-sepsis-cvr-starter-kit" target="_blank">The Sepsis CVR Starter Kit</a></strong><strong>:&nbsp;</strong>This kit can help providers build a successful sepsis care variation reduction (CVR) strategy, including tips on governance and care standard design resources.<sup>7</sup> </li>
<li><strong><a href="https://www.advisory.com/research/physician-executive-council/studies/2014/ten-imperatives-to-reduce-sepsis-mortality" target="_blank">Ten Imperatives to Reduce Sepsis Mortality</a>:&nbsp;</strong>Check out this online list from The Advisory Board for ways to build a system of care that promotes early identification, coordinates care team responsibilities and delivers timely treatment for every sepsis patient.<sup>8</sup></li>
<li><em> <strong></strong></em><strong>The <em>Journal of the American Medical Association</em> &ndash; findings on New York&rsquo;s &ldquo;Rory&rsquo;s Regulation&rdquo;:&nbsp;</strong><em><strong></strong></em>The recent findings of a multi-year study attributes a drop in sepsis mortality rates in the state of New York since the law was enacted to three practices:<sup>9</sup>
<ul>
<li>More patients receiving evidence-based sepsis care, including early antibiotics and resuscitation </li>
<li>Hospital staff across the state being educated on how to recognize and treat sepsis </li>
<li>Healthcare professionals statewide paying closer attention to sepsis
</li>
</ul>
</li>
</ul>
<p>By identifying areas for improvement, many hospitals have been able to improve their sepsis mortality rates through enhanced early identification and streamlined treatment processes.</p>
<h2><strong>The Clinical Benefits of LTAC Hospitals in Treating Sepsis: Reducing Readmissions</strong></h2>
<p>In addition to looking internally, providers should seek post-acute partners who are capable of identifying and treating at-risk sepsis patients in order to avoid costly hospital readmissions. Long-term acute care hospitals are the most clinically appropriate post-acute setting for treating sepsis because of the condition&rsquo;s severity and the hospital&rsquo;s capabilities.</p>
<p>Sepsis must be treated in a hospital setting and long-term acute care (LTAC) hospitals are well equipped to both identify and treat sepsis. Because LTAC hospitals have the same licensure and accreditation as acute care hospitals, they are clinically capable of treating septic patients, thereby avoiding readmission. In contrast, if a high acuity patient is discharged directly to a skilled nursing facility and then requires sepsis treatment, the patient would need to readmit to the hospital setting for care.</p>
<p>While LTAC hospitals provide care for a very high-acuity niche patient population, they play a vital role in achieving more efficient recovery of patients who have a high risk of readmission due to their clinical complexity. By transitioning these challenging patients to an LTAC hospital, when it is the most appropriate site of care for their needs, a significant portion of financial losses due to readmission penalties for short-term providers can be avoided.</p>
<h2><strong> <strong>Kindred&rsquo;s Sepsis Program: How Kindred Can Help Your Sepsis Patients</strong></strong></h2>
<p>Kindred Hospitals specialize in the post-intensive care treatment of patients with complex medical cases who require continued intensive care and specialized rehabilitation in an acute hospital setting. With daily physician-directed care, ICU- and CCU-level staffing ratios and ACLS-certified nurses, specially trained caregivers, we work to improve outcomes, reduce costly readmissions and help patients transition home or to a lower level of care. </p>
<p> We are committed to pursuing innovations in care delivery and payment models to provide new tools and solutions to our patients and their families as well as to our provider partners. Many of these resources and initiatives are designed to ensure efficient care management for each patient.</p>
<p>One such initiative is our effort to achieve disease-specific certification from The Joint Commission for sepsis in all Kindred Hospitals across the country. The certification recognizes healthcare organizations that provide clinical programs across the continuum of care for sepsis. It evaluates how organizations use clinical outcomes and performance measures to identify opportunities to improve care, as well as to educate and prepare patients and their caregivers for discharge.</p>
<p>We have proven success in treating patients with sepsis. We have already instituted the following sepsis protocol in all of our hospitals:</p>
<ul>
<li> A review of every new admission&rsquo;s chart to establish whether or not they qualify for our Sepsis Program.</li>
<li>An assessment and evaluation at least once every shift of all patients who qualify for our Sepsis Program.</li>
<li>A robust Sepsis Protocol includes STAT interventions for any patient who screens positive, including blood lactate level and blood cultures run prior to administration of antibiotics.</li>
<li>An individualized plan of care and creation of interdisciplinary goals for the patient.</li>
<li>Treatments and therapies based on evaluation of the patient in relation to our assessment of their health.</li>
<li>Extra care and education for the patients and their families while they are enrolled in the Sepsis Program.</li>
</ul>
<p>We are committed to continued clinical growth and furthering our expertise in areas of care this population will demand. </p>
<p><strong> <strong>To learn more about how Kindred Hospitals can help you achieve enhanced outcomes for your critically ill patients,&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/our-services/transitional-care-hospitals/healthcare-professionals/make-a-referral">Contact Us</a>.</strong></p>
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<p>References:</p>
<ol>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">Paoli CJ, Reynolds MA, Sinha M, Gitlin M, Crouser E. <em>Epidemiology and Costs of Sepsis in the United States-An Analysis Based on Timing of Diagnosis and Severity Level.</em> Crit Care Med. 2018;46(12):1889&ndash;1897. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000003342</span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;"> https://www.centerfortransforminghealthcare.org/improvement-topics </span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">https://www.cdc.gov/sepsis/datareports/index.html </span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">Sakr Y, Jaschinski U, Wittebole X, et al. <em>Sepsis in Intensive Care Unit Patients: Worldwide Data From the Intensive Care over Nations Audit.</em> Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018;5(12):ofy313. Published 2018 Nov 19. doi:10.1093/ofd/ofy313
</span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;"><em>Epidemiology and Predictors of 30-Day Readmission in Patients With Sepsis</em> Gadre, Shruti K. et al. CHEST, Volume 155, Issue 3, 483 &ndash; 490 </span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">http://www.survivingsepsis.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Surviving-Sepsis-Campaign-Hour-1-Bundle-2018.pdf
</span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;"> https://www.advisory.com/research/physician-executive-council/tools/2019/the-sepsis-cvr-starter-kit </span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">https://www.advisory.com/research/physician-executive-council/studies/2014/ten-imperatives-to-reduce-sepsis-mortality </span></li>
<li><span style="font-size: 12px;">https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/new-yorkssepsis-protocols-lower-death-rates</span>
</li>
</ol>
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