Healthcare Executives Must Reinvent Primary Patient Care

Healthcare Executives Must Reinvent Primary Patient Care

Nothing is as important to a strong healthcare system as primary patient care. Strong programs identify problems early on, improving the cost and efficacy of care. Good primary care can expand into maintaining wellness. Build the relationship between patient and doctor and you gain trust that is critical for the caring process. With a solid and trusted center, there is the possibility of a single point of contact for the integration and coordination of care.

But primary care hasn’t adapted sufficiently over decades to keep pace with the major changes seen in healthcare, particularly in recent years. Rising costs, the end of preexisting condition restrictions, and expanded coverage are all pressing on the healthcare system.

An interview with Dr. Peter Anderson, co-author of the book Lost and Found: A Consumer’s Guide to Healthcare, suggests a number of steps healthcare executives can take to reinvent primary care.

Vision and mission, not money

A general mistake found in all types of organizations is the assumption that fixing problems requires more money and other resources. The fallacy is that those in charge may only do more of what hasn’t already worked. Instead, what is needed is a different strategy — a common vision and mission for both healthcare organizations and practitioners. Organizations need to address issues of paperwork, legal costs, and pressure to spend less time less time with patients to do administrative work and push more people through the system. Fail on this front and what is good for the business needs of the organization will push practitioners out the door.

Recognize that change is possible

Practitioners can become discouraged, which is sad because the tools to change healthcare for the better are at hand, says Anderson. Value-based payments that focus on results and not time keeping will help doctors stick out the change process long enough to see results. But because the new process is significantly different from the old, patients will need education on what the changes approaches will be and how they might offer added benefit.

Work with technology

Technology is often brought up in almost any undertaking as a way to improve the current state of things. In healthcare, technology is also critical. But it doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Caregivers must interpret the information and also work with the patients. No matter how vaunted the benefits of tech are supposed to be, ultimately relationships are what makes care and patient improvement really happen.

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