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Patients Self-Management Tools Decrease Health Care Costs
by Charu Raheja, PhD | Printable Version
A study in Health Affairs found that patients who have the knowledge, and confidence to manage their health and health care, report better health experiences than patients who are less active and see the same clinicians.
Additionally, the rising costs of healthcare and new regulations require providers to find ways to decrease unnecessary patient ER visits and other pricey medical options. An article written by “The Self Management Alliance”, provides seven value propositions on the benefits of patient self-management system and why every healthcare provider should consider the use of services such as nurse triage to give patients the ability to make healthcare decisions and take charge of their health.
1. Change Patient Behavior and Lower Health Care Costs
Patients who better understand their conditions and have a method of self-management such as access to a registered nurse are more able to decipher to the appropriate level of care , thus avoiding costly ER visits.
2. Engage Patients more effectively in care
Empowered patients are able to aid in continuity of care by being more willing to follow discharge instructions and contact the appropriate medical professional for questions or further instructions when needed, essentially alleviating the number of patients sitting in waiting rooms.
3. Expand tools for continuity of care
Self- management is an added option to a provider’s list of tools that help with continuity of care through better patient relationships and follow-up. Triage Nurses are able to communicate patient call information with providers, allowing for better patient relationships with their provider and continuity of care.
4. It takes a village.
When the goal is to improve the health of an entire community, providers who partner with other health services like nurse triage are able to benefit the community as a whole by offering 24/7 care. Patients also feel more connected to their provider and are less likely to panic and seek high cost care that is unnecessary.
5. Patients for life
Patients are more likely to stay with a provider who is able to meet their needs in a holistic way. Self-management systems along with nurse triage allow for holistic healthcare.
6. Highest and best use of healthcare workforce
Nurse triage facilitates the best use of the healthcare workforce by alleviating doctor pressure and allowing them to reach the most urgent cases first. Nurses evaluate patients based on their symptoms and determine whether or not a doctor visit is necessary.
7. Meet quality standards and improve patient satisfaction
Self- management systems help achieve high quality standards of care. Studies show that patient satisfaction increases with provider use of patient self-management systems. Increased knowledge for the patient helps them feel capable and confident in their healthcare. Patients report overall greater satisfaction with their care when they feel in control.
Self- management systems can help providers reach those needing the greatest amount of healthcare resources while simultaneously reducing cost. A nurse triage service can also connect patients to their doctors and provide continuity of care when offices are not open. Overall this improves patient satisfaction improves care and allow patients to take control.
 J. Greene, J. H. Hibbard, R. Sacks et al., “When Seeing the Same Physician, Highly Activated Patients Have Better Care Experiences Than Less Activated Patients,” Health Affairs, July 2013 32(7):1295–1305.
Self Management Alliance, Value Propositions for Healthcare Providers, Retrieved from http://selfmanagementalliance.org/why-self-management/value-propositions/#.VdsMttN
TL Connect: What other tools do you find useful for decreasing healthcare costs?
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