What 2023 holds for advanced primary care, tech integration, and clinical intelligence

Photo: Premise Health

Premise Health is one of the largest direct healthcare providers in the country. Its approach focuses on clinical expertise, easy access to care, and a seamless and simple patient experience.

Premise has a network of more than 800 wellness centers in 45 states and Guam. Premise’s physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical therapists and other providers deliver care in person and virtually, offering a personalized and digitally connected experience.

Beth Ratliff is COO of Premise Health. Healthcare IT News spoke with her to discuss the shift to advanced primary care and lifestyle medicine, the power of mapping and leveraging patient data and clinical intelligence in transforming primary care, and major trends driving the future of healthcare.

Q. You see a bright future for advanced primary care and lifestyle medicine to better address chronic conditions and prevention. Please talk about what these options are and why you believe they have a strong future.

A. Advanced primary care is a healthcare model that increases patients’ engagement with their own health by focusing on expanded healthcare access, whole-person care, and population-level health outcomes, among several other components.

Over time, it helps people live healthier, which reduces healthcare costs for both employers and employees. Many healthcare providers operate under a fee-for-service or volume-based model. This model rewards healthcare providers based on the number of patients they treat and the procedures they provide rather than the patient’s health outcomes.

In contrast, advanced primary care calls for realigned payment models, which incentivizes providers to focus on patient health outcomes and quality care over volume.
Lifestyle medicine is a clinical approach that promotes the use of health behavior change as the primary way to prevent, treat and reverse many medical conditions. It is often broken down into seven pillars of a healthy lifestyle: nutrition, movement, emotional well-being/stress, sleep, substance-free, hydration and getting outdoors.

Through this method, providers can help patients learn new ways to manage conditions that may affect their lives simply by adopting healthier habits. Focusing on prevention helps patients and employers accrue lower costs over time by reducing emergency room visits, expensive surgeries, and medicines.

I’m excited about advanced primary care and lifestyle medicine because both are helping people get healthier. Good news about the U.S. healthcare system can be hard to come by, and it is gratifying and exciting to see the impact of these approaches to care.

Q. How can mapping and leveraging patient data and clinical intelligence transform primary care?

A. Overall, the goal of incorporating patient data and clinical intelligence into primary care is to focus our proactive efforts and resources on the people and populations who need the most support. When we have access to claims-based data, we can identify who within our population is at risk.

Who has been to the hospital recently, or gotten a frightening diagnosis? Then, our care teams can reach out to them to see what they need. Would having access to a care navigator help? Would they like to connect to a registered dietician or physical therapist?

When we can connect the right people to the right care, we can have a tremendous impact on their lives. At scale, we improve the health of an entire population.

Q. What are some top trends you see driving healthcare in 2023? Especially ones related to healthcare information technology.

A. One of the top overarching trends we are seeing in healthcare is pent-up demand and a resulting “bubble” of care needs. Surveys indicate that employers are expecting higher utilization and chronic condition management needs as a direct result of delayed care, which will lead to higher costs in the coming years.

Many organizations are looking at ways to lower their long-term costs as they face down this trend, while also managing rising inflation in healthcare.

However, employers recognize that if they shift costs to employees it may do two things. One, it may reduce access or lead to deferred care, which ultimately leads to less healthy employees and higher healthcare costs.

Two, it may make them less competitive in a tight labor market. Instead of sharing costs, many employers are looking for ways to consolidate benefits, drive greater utilization, and increase their return on investment.

A related trend is that healthcare technology integration is going to be a big focus for organizations going forward. Benefits proliferated during the pandemic, and the feedback we hear from companies is that many of their employees are unsure what service they even have access to.

Utilization has remained low for many of these tools because of a lack of awareness and engagement. We anticipate more companies will start consolidating and bundling services to streamline access to care.

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Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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