June 8, 2023

Finding the right focus: 3 steps to ACO patient success

With more than 1.3 million people living in long-term care facilities, this enormous and vulnerable population requires great care, cost, and—most importantly—innovation. Our current Medicare system tends to focus on short-term patient stays, which see a higher reimbursement rate versus long-term care patients. Increased hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) visits, and readmissions indicate these long-term care individuals aren’t getting the care they need to help prevent these acute episodes. 

There’s notable room for improvement in how we currently support this population. Bringing these individuals into the fold of an ACO designed with long-term care in mind can provide a better quality of life while managing utilization and coordinating patient care. This makes sense for everyone at the ACO table: patients, providers, long-term care facilities, and their medical staff. 

 So how can we think differently about long-term care? This three-pronged approach offers the best path to success: 

1. Practice preventive versus reactive medicine.

Employing wellness visits and chronic disease management with patients in these facilities has excellent potential to improve their quality of life and lighten hospital demand-for-care burden and the financial burden systemwide. When the ACO team supports the provider and patient, the symptoms of those with chronic diseases can be addressed and helped before they become life-threatening.

2. Use technology in treatment.

Point-of-care technology is essential to inform and direct clinician care during visits. Theres a huge opportunity to use technology to greet patients coming to a facility, fill gaps in care when physicians aren’t as readily available, and bridge care for patients who do need the ED or to be admitted. 

3. Be transparent with your data.

Tracking care by the numbers has a direct effect on patients. Collecting and assessing data from claims and operations and from individual and group performance makes it possible to adjust course and influence behavior changes in real-time to benefit a patient’s experience and outcomes.

To learn more about harnessing the right clinical knowledge, support, financial partnership, and technology for long-term care, read this in-depth feature in Provider Magazine from Sound’s own Dr. John Dickey and Mike Camacho.

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