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The Health Sciences Blog covers the latest trends and advances in life sciences and healthcare.

Please press "1" to confirm

How
many of us receive text messages from our hair salon to confirm the hair cut
for tomorrow? How many of us receive robo-calls on Saturdays and Sundays
reminding us that Johnny has an orthodontic visit at 7AM on Monday? Are these a nuisance? Or are they methods of
ensuring that appointment slots are filled, revenue is maximized, and client
satisfaction is not impeded?

I
balance the slight annoyance of having to say, “Yes, I’ll be there,” or
pressing “1” to confirm, with the bigger concern. If I had a provider or a
stylist that was so poorly managed that his/her schedule left time slots unfilled,
then I would have to wait six weeks for an appointment.

Recently,
Britain’s National Health Service issued a sanction on one of its facilities
because of poor staffing ratios and extended wait times. This was not uncommon
in the single payer environment nor really any environment in which there were
no financial constraints managing the appointment queuing process.

Single
payers figure, “If there is no penalty for a no show, then, hey, I’ll schedule three
appointments and I’ll go to the one that works for me.” Not only did this
create unexpected capacity for services (there were providers, but the patients
didn’t show up), multiplied the already taxed patient waiting process, but also
increased overall patient dissatisfaction.

If I am told that the next appointment is in six
months, but I know there are no shows, I’ll march myself to the provider and
wait. Yep, wait. Oh yeah, I’m taking a chair in the waiting area, a parking
spot in the parking lot, and I’ve taken off from work.

This
blog is not a conversation on the decisions that led to the run up with
Britain’s issue, but rather a discussion on how we as participants, consumers, and
patients have a certain level of service expectation. I don’t care if my
provider is a commercial provider with a $50 deductible or a military nurse
practitioner whom I saw when I was in the service 16 years ago.

I
have an expectation that the services and the analytics will facilitate my
provider making the best decision for me at the point of service. And I have an
expectation that he/she will manage his/her patients and appointment queues
efficiently. I’ll endure the press “1” to confirm the known guarantee that I
have an appointment and that it is timely.

So
that brings the discussion around to population health and patient centric care.This
must be so not just in a marketing
campaign for a “Patient-Centered Medical Home,” but truly thinking about the
analytics that support the patient, from queueing theory, to primary care
assignments, to care coordination follow ups and to post admission
rehabilitation.

Systems,
healthcare organizations, payers, providers, intermediaries, states, counties, and
national governments should adjust their view to enable population
health analytics. These statistics can be aggregated and drive these systems from the individual patient level up to the system level.

Join
me in this discussion #AcceleratingtheEvolutionofHumanCare

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