As healthcare reform continues to change the landscape of hospital staffing and the industry begins to shift its focus to value-based care, providers are looking at innovative new strategies to address workforce needs, according to a column in Forbes.
Guest columnist, William A. Fera, M.D., principal of the advisory healthcare practice of Ernst & Young LLP (EY) in Pittsburgh, looked at four initiatives the industry is testing:
Working as a team: Under this strategy, patient-focused teams made up of physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses and other "physician extenders" allow all professionals involved to make the most of their training at a lower cost. In addition, the approach addresses the increasing shortage of physicians, he said.
Creating new patient-focused positions: Healthcare's shift toward improved coordinated care and ongoing wellness programs is creating new patient engagement professions, Fera said. These new positions include patient care coordinators, who advocate for patients; chronic disease management specialists, who help coach patients through the treatment process; and community health workers, who are trained by health and medical professionals to help promote healthy lifestyles.
Setting up group appointments: Many organizations are setting up physician consultations with as many as 12 patients with similar medical conditions, like cancer or diabetes. These group appointments address the physician shortage without denying patients time with a doctor, create an atmosphere of support and help patients work together to develop their own strategies for improving their health, Fera wrote.
Using telehealth technologies: Remote monitoring and "care at a distance" healthcare can help extend clinicians' knowledge and services to remote locations that have staffing shortages, according to Fera. He said videoconferencing technology can help patients take a proactive role in managing their health from home.
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