10 Mar How Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Home Care Organizations Can Limit Waste and Improve Health Outcomes
A new study reports what those in healthcare have known for a long time. The healthcare system is riddled with waste. So much, in fact, that 25 cents out of every dollar spent in American healthcare contributes absolutely nothing of value.
This article outlines the ways that healthcare systems waste dollars that do not contribute to improved care or patient outcome. It also addresses the manner in which innovate home care providers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania lead to more efficient use of healthcare resources for disabled and senior Pennsylvanians and improve overall quality of life at the same time.
Dollars and cents
The dollar amount of waste in the healthcare system is so staggering that it surpasses the entire annual defense budget of the United States.
The study, published by the Journal of American Medical Association, breaks down the following contributors and cost of healthcare waste in the following categories:
-administrative complexities ($265.6 billion): required tasks including medical coding and billing, record keeping, and other clerical work.
-high or excessive prices ($240 billion): high payments for drugs and excessive reimbursement on services rendered.
-failure of care delivery ($165.7 billion): inclusive of adverse events, such as hospital acquired illnesses, and a lack of preventative care.
-failure in care coordination ($78.2 billion): inadequacies in coordinating care, such as complications that could be avoided.
-over-treatment or low-value care ($101.2 billion): examples include administering unneeded tests or utilizing brand-name drugs when generics are available
-fraud and abuse ($83.9 billion): costs related to deception or misrepresentation of services, or outside of accepted general medical practice.
The studies results are in line with other reports that show similar, if not more, waste in the US healthcare system. The irony in all of this is many of these added expenses are the unintended consequences of processes that are aiming to do the exact opposite- reduce healthcare expenditures, especially when looking at administrative costs.
Interestingly, the greatest contributor of wasteful healthcare expenses (administrative costs) also have the fewest resources available for identification and improvement, according to the study authors.
Effectively reducing waste
Healthcare stakeholders should work together to identify and reduce some of the inefficiencies that exist across the healthcare continuum. Due to the intricacies that intertwine healthcare partners, a coordinated and forward-thinking effort will allow enterprises to identify the main drivers of waste and work on creating long-lasting solutions that can positively reduce waste in the system.
Also, organizations should have a strategic plan in place to look inward at their own processes, as there is no shortage of opportunities for leaders to identify obstacles to reducing waste, and ultimately improving the profitability, quality, and efficiency of care delivered.
Home care can make the difference
Home care agencies help to limit waste and healthcare expenditures in the system in a variety of ways. First, the home care system has minimal administrative expenses due to a lack of health insurance coverage of home care. Home care is very beneficial to its members and contributes to both quality of life and care to patients, so it is unfortunate that insurance coverage is often lacking. That being said, this lack of payer coverage does help keep the system efficient.
Additionally, the rise of home care agencies is coinciding with an emphasis on keeping patients residing in their own homes in the healthcare system. This is creating a platform in which patients are increasingly brought out of institutional care to receive care and support in their home setting. Due to the high cost of institutional care, this helps keep costs under control, often dramatically. Also, as previously mentioned, it’s a win-win for the patient since almost all individuals prefer to reside in their own homes as opposed to nursing homes or assisted living facilities (when able to do so safely).
Improving health outcomes and patient satisfaction
With this increase in focus on at-home care settings, the best home care agencies are partnering with healthcare systems in ways that also improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction. For example, Chosen Family Home Care in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania provides a culturally competent model of care for its patients which leads to greater patient satisfaction and improved outcomes. By being more comfortable with a carefully matched and culturally sensitive caregiver, happiness with their care will improve across the spectrum and this increase in satisfaction is often aligned with an improvement in health as well.
Next, innovative providers of home care like Chosen Family have implemented unique and effective programs to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities. Chosen Family, for example, is one of the only providers of LGBT-focused home care in America, providing LGBT-friendly care right here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley.
Organizations like Chosen Family have a personalized and stigma-free model of care which understands the health disparities and challenges that afflict the LGBT community. Chosen Family works to address the health disparities of the diverse LGBT community to better serve the needs of the vulnerable patient population at large and within the LGBT community as a whole. Review Chosen Family’s free “Dignity and Pride” report to better understand the needs and challenges of the LGBT community in home care.
Integrated care while aging in place
Finally, the best home care organizations also have programs designed to better integrate care and improve health outcomes overall. For example, Philadelphia area providers of home care like Chosen Family Home Care have unique programs such as a fall prevention program. These can be implemented right at home to increase the ability of seniors and disabled community members to be independent and safe in a domiciliary setting.
Hospital readmission reduction
Other ways health outcomes can be better coordinated and addressed is through a hospital readmission reduction program. Patients tend to be at greatest risk for hospital reentry right after being discharged (within 30 days). Therefore, when home care agencies have effective readmission reduction programs, healthcare outcomes are directly impacted and improved. These generate huge cost reductions to the healthcare system and improve patient safety on many levels.
To summarize, the healthcare system as a whole is structured in a way that leads to huge amounts of spending and accompanied financial waste. The healthcare system is recognizing more and more the way that high-quality home care limits waste and effectively uses medical dollars to improve health outcomes and helps patients age gracefully and successfully, right at home.