By Gienna Shaw
FierceHealthIT: Community wellness programs, mobile and social outreach, patient engagement--on the face of it, they sound like soft topics or nice-to-haves. How do you make a case to healthcare leaders that they're critical to the success of the ACO model?
Ed Marx: First, I would ask leaders to look at the mission and vision of the organization. They're all similar: Create a healthy community, increase quality of care.
But how do you really do it? If you try to do it only from a healthcare perspective it won't work. It's not about the healthcare system. It's not hospital-centric. It's really community based. Healthcare is a part of it, but not the focus. How do we partner with others in order to enable the mission? You can't do it yourself.
And then it's about moving out of sick care to wellness and well-being. How do we make that happen? A patient may never come to a hospital or the ED or even to a physician practice. So how do we engage others in the community to all work together to make our mission and vision happen?
And then you can go to science. There is science behind it. If you can move that wellness index one percent, you see great benefits. The cost of healthcare to the employer is cheaper; the cost to the health system is cheaper. Companies have higher productivity, people feel better about themselves, people are more well. You're cutting down on Medicaid and Medicare and you can focus on being proactive. I think those are strong arguments to make.