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Getting Value from Your Healthcare Services?

Value in Healthcare

You may ask yourself is this even possible? Well in a sense, yes. Can you mandate what you get for your dollar? No, not yet. If you want to see the possibility for it move in this direction, read on.

Being a patient is being vulnerable and many people are afraid to tell a nurse or the doctor about a problem they are having as they fear retaliation. Value can mean a physician who listens to your complaints, concerns or other issues and responds accordingly. The same can be said for any healthcare facility. This industry is engaging in customer satisfaction.

Your input is needed! When problems occur it is important to share so that providers know what you expect from them. Your opinion is critical as many times the staff at the hospital, clinic or doctor's office do not see how the system works from your point of view. It is also imperative that your concerns, complaints and other issues are made in writing. Healthcare services can only notice change when it is documented and reported. If we want the system to be better, it is up to each of us to make our concerns heard! Even Medicare is moving towards value based payment system.

Congress' passing of the Medicare Modernization Act, Deficit Reduction Act, (MACRA) and other provisions, has begun to transform itself from a passive payer of services into an active purchaser of higher quality, affordable care. Further future efforts to link payment to the quality and efficiency of care provided, would shift Medicare away from paying providers based solely on their volume of services. Learn more about the plans for Value Driven Healthcare at Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS MACRA)

Here are 9 ways you can address issues and challenges when you use the healthcare system. Providing your feedback is necessary to ensure change occurs!

  1. Healthgrades is a site that you can review your doctors, hospitals or other healthcare facilities.

  2. Most physician offices have an Office Manager who is in a position to hear patient concerns and take action. The Office Manager is usually in the background so you will have to ask to talk with that person. Don't be intimidated; it is like asking for a supervisor when you call a vendor on the phone, and you are not getting the information you need.

  3. If you are a patient or a caregiver in the hospital and have a concern, ask for the Hospital Patient Advocates or the Patient Representative. Today, most hospitals have Hospital Patient Advocates who are in place to address patients and their caregiver concerns or complaints. Hospital Patient Advocate is available in place to resolve issues and bring these matters to the people in charge who can correct situations.

  4. When you are asked to share your opinion in a survey please take your time and answer the survey honestly and make recommendations that can improve the system. Sometimes you can see a solution better than the people who work in the system. There is lots of attention paid to patient surveys as reimbursement is tied to them.

  5. To ensuring patients and caregivers have a positive patient experience, many organizations now have put into place, a Patient Experience Officer. The Patient Experience Officer many times can be a physician or someone in a high-level position who is responsible for addressing concerns from patients and caregivers. Check to see if the hospital you use has a Patient Experience Officer.

  6. Many organizations have put into place Patient and Family Council Meetings. In these groups, patients and caregivers come together and share information with the principal members of the team to improve processes and services.

  7. Organizations are taking an active role in educating patients, caregivers and all who use the healthcare system on Patient Safety. Many Patient Safety Offices and Risk Management professionals know that getting the patient more involved in their care is critical to decreasing medical errors.

  8. One organization doing good work in this area is PULSE: Patient Safety, Advocacy, and Support. PULSE provides patients, and the family and friends of patients, the opportunity to partner with their health care providers, to help to ensure the best possible outcomes in a person’s medical care.

  9. If you are a person who doesn't like to complain, rock the boat or just don't have the energy to deal with all this. A private Patient Advocate can provide all the services above on your behalf as well as providing you a communication liaison between family, doctors, nurses, healthcare facilities and regulation agencies. Find an advocate for yourself or another Patient Advocate Directory

I urge you to use your voice and be part of the process to ensure our healthcare system is delivering value in the services and products they offer.

(Some of this information originally provided by and article by Anne Llewellyn)

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