The Affordable Care Act continues to be challenged and defended. The federal government’s healthcare insurance exchange did not meet expectations upon launch. Media hacks and politicians on both sides of the aisle are cramming the airwaves with opinions, condemnations, and promises. Everyone thinks they are right and the other guy is wrong. I get it. I understand. And I’m worn out from thinking about it. In the rush to assign blame and seek advantage, I think we have lost sight of the real objective – affordable healthcare for everyone.
Let’s stop arguing about the ACA. Regardless of opinion, it is the law. Only by allowing the law to follow its course will we be able to determine the real impact of the Affordable Care Act and its success or failure.
I think we need to change our focus and begin working on things that will help us achieve the objective – affordable healthcare for everyone. We know the problem is founded upon continually increasing costs, inconsistent quality of care, and poor personal well-being. We intuitively understand that no amount of legislation can fix it.
So, why don’t we attack the problem with the tools we have to fix it? Specifically, I’m asking “how can we, in the telecommunications industry, make a difference?”
To begin finding solutions, consider that Cost, Quality, and Wellness are inextricably linked. Think of it as a stool with Cost, Quality, and Well-Being making up its legs. All must be balanced for the stool to be firm and dependable.
- As Quality goes up, cost goes down (it’s less expensive to stay healthy than to become healthy.)
- As Well-Being goes down, cost goes up (reactive care requires more time, effort, and money than proactive care.)
- As Quality goes down, Well-Being diminishes (poor care results in greater patient acuity and costs) and patients are less likely to become or stay healthy.
It takes a balanced approach and one that we, in the telecommunication industry, can contribute towards. By way of example, consider the impact proactive contact center services can have on Quality, Cost, and Wellness.
- Giving patients instructions in advance of their appointments helps everyone to be properly prepared. Reaching out to patients with instructions (e.g., taking appropriate fluids, fasting) assures scheduled procedures are conducted on time, results are predictable, and patient are satisfied. Unnecessary costs are minimized, care is more accurate, and strong patient interaction directly contributes to their well-being.
- On average, more than 75% of patients visiting the Emergency Department are not admitted. Following up with these individuals within the first 24 hours of their ED visit gives healthcare providers the ability to assist patients to find and schedule appropriate physician care. It helps reduce costs by assuring individuals receive appropriate follow-up treatment, improves care by minimizing complications, and benefits patient wellness by making certain their needs are addressed by the correct healthcare professional, which the hospital might prefer to be one of their own resources.
Providing affordable healthcare care for everyone is complicated. It requires our attention if the objective is to be met. We need to start with what we know best. In Arrow SI’s case, it is telecommunication and how to practically apply it to reduce cost, improve care, and increase well-being. The tools and know-how exist. We simply need to apply them.