February, 2017 vol. 1 - In This Issue:
I've been thinking a lot about issues that are really holding us back from transformative change in health care. I believe two fundamental issues have to be addressed before outcomes (the health of our country) can improve: cost and culture.  Cost of care is number one in American concerns; therefore, policies to improve transparency, reduce complexity and ensure fair and consistent pricing for care should be high priority. Culture is harder, but equally important. "Patient-centered care" must move beyond lip service and an emphasis on satisfaction to behavior change such as listening to the patient's values and preferences, "no wrong door" access policies, and coordinated, integrated health care. 

Percentage of Persons of All Ages Who Delayed or Did Not Receive Medical Care During the Preceding Year Because of Cost

In 2015, approximately 6% of persons of all ages (20.1 million) in the United States delayed medical care during the preceding year because of worry about the cost, and 4.5% (14.2 million) did not receive needed medical care because they could not afford it. 

Improving the Health of the United States With a "Winnable Battles" Initiative

I n 2010, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 6 focus areas termed Winnable Battles, in which concerted effort could lead to substantial health improvement in a short time.  Teams selected a limited set of strategies that could enable rapid progress, established ambitious targets, aligned efforts within the CDC, and worked with federal and other partners to leverage each entity's capacity.

How Can Healthcare Professionals Define Patient Engagement?

Patient engagement is a widely used buzzword throughout the healthcare industry, but for too long has been only that - a phrase with little tangible definition.

But coming to an industry-wide consensus on the meaning and scope of patient engagement can help guide future efforts to improve care, argues a new  study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Why Don't Patients Follow Their Doctors' Advice?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in September 2016 that one in four Medicare participants age 65 or older-that's 5 million people-do not take their blood pressure medicine as directed. In fact, 20 to 30 percent of prescriptions for chronic health conditions are never filled, and about half are not taken as prescribed, according to the CDC.

Patients' failure to follow their medical treatment regimens is a common and costly problem with potentially dire consequences.

Let's talk about improving communication in healthcare

Healthcare providers don't talk to each other enough. Members of the care team-physicians, nurses, social workers and even caregivers-don't spend enough time communicating with each other about the patient's needs, and no one from the care team spends enough time communicating with the patient. The increasingly complex needs of patients, an explosion of medical knowledge, and seismic shifts in healthcare systems have set the stage for a need for more effective communication. Additionally, today's new models of care are focused on maintaining health rather than responding to acute illness. Success demands team-based approaches that are centered on close collaboration among all types of providers from across the care continuum. As a result, achieving the triple aim of improving quality, lowering costs and enhancing the patient experience can only be done with a significantly altered and improved communication strategy.

The day I zipped my lips and let my patients talk

"W e have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak," said Epictetus. It's clear that the Greek philosopher wasn't a physician in 21st century America. If you watch doctors - and many researchers do - they speak more than listen.

Studies have shown that doctors interrupt or redirect patients within the first half minute of talking.

Passion + Quality = Change That Matters
I embrace the powerful opportunities in our evolving health care landscape. I founded Momentum Health Strategies to be a catalyst for change through continuous learning, diverse engagement and thoughtful policy and practice initiatives. I deliver innovative, strategic thinking and a passion for improving the patient experience. My personal drive and dedication to high-quality results will help you navigate the competitive terrain you face and convert your vision to action.

Momentum Health Strategies

Jennifer L Bright, MPA
(703) 628 - 0534