Amid upheaval, providers must stay focused on Triple Aim

Female doctor talking to male patient in hospital bed
All eyes are on healthcare reform, but providers shouldn’t lose sight of the Triple Aim, industry leaders say. (Getty/monkeybusinessimages)

Even as all eyes are on healthcare reform legislation in the political arena, providers shouldn’t lose sight of the Triple Aim.

Regardless of whether Republicans succeed in their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, providers must keep striving for better quality for populations of patients at a lower cost that's delivered with greater efficiency, a group of six healthcare leaders wrote in a blog post for NEJM Catalyst.

“Bill or no bill, we still need to move forward and continue our focus on improving health and healthcare for our patients and our communities while reducing costs,” they wrote. “Now is the time to double down on our work.”

RELATED: Providers often overlook the patient-centric care piece of the Triple Aim 

The six leaders outlined “critical steps” for each of the three elements of the Triple Aim:

  1. Population health: Preserve and ensure patients have access to preventative care and work with payers to offer more affordable care. Develop community partnerships so that initiatives have significant impact.
  2. Improved patient care: Engage with patients to ensure care meets their personalized needs and is aligned with their values. Share ways to improve care between providers, and put a focus on care coordination.
  3. Lower costs: Focus on high-value care and eliminate waste. Engage with payers on ways to keep premiums from rising.

These steps, the writers note, overlap. For instance, preventative care is crucial to both caring for populations and keeping costs under control. They also said the Triple Aim is just a starting point, and providers can build from there.

RELATED: Healthcare leaders stress value of ACA's push for innovation

Much of the policy debate around the ACA has centered on the individual insurance markets, but many providers have benefited from the law’s push to innovate delivery and payment models. Some have even pushed for the ‘Quadruple Aim’ to improve quality, which includes a fourth goal of improving caregivers’ experiences.

Providers that want to improve patient and family involvement in achieving the goals of the Triple Aim are recruiting patient advisors and emphasizing a “culture of engagement” in their organizations.