Top Healthcare Challenges for 2018 (And How Luma Can Help In The New Year)

As the year 2017 makes way for 2018, are you dreading getting back to the grind, or are you excited to crush the biggest healthcare challenges in the new year? After all, when you’ve gone to all of the holiday parties, sung Jingle Bell Rock, and swept away all of the confetti, you get to choose how you approach that fresh page on the calendar.

Recently, the Healthcare Executive Group (HCEG) surveyed executives from providers, health systems, health plans and other industry organizations across the United States. The two-month, web-based survey asked about the biggest healthcare challenges and opportunities executives expected to face in the new year. Then, members who attended the HCEG Annual Forum in September selected and ranked the most pressing issues on the horizon for 2018.

The HCEG Top Ten list inspired us to take a look at the ways we’re helping providers to tackle the industry’s big healthcare challenges in the new year – and we can’t wait to hit the ground running on January 1st.

Price Transparency and Pharmaceutical Costs

When it comes to healthcare pricing and insurance coverage, many patients experience information overload. But at least with insurance, they can be confident that they’re getting the best prices on their prescriptions…right?

Not necessarily. For some generic drugs, patients might actually end up paying more when they use their insurance benefits than they would if they paid out of pocket. That can be due to  differences between the patient’s co-pay amount and the actual cost of the prescription, or it can be the result of price negotiations between insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies.

This lack of transparency in pharmaceutical pricing has been the target of a spate of new legislation, with states like Vermont and California passing laws to address rising pharmaceutical prices. While lawmakers are working to address the issue, consumers still need all of the help they can get to ensure that they’re getting fair prices.

Luma helps by guiding patients to the least costly way to fill their prescriptions. When a patient leaves their appointment, we text them to help with follow up actions. If they need help filling prescriptions, we grab data from a variety of sources to comparison shop, letting them know where they can find the lowest price for their medication.

By streamlining the process of filling prescriptions, Luma also helps to ensure that patients actually take their medications. And that’s one piece of the puzzle for improving outcomes.

If you’re looking to improve your telehealth offering, this on-demand webinar shares some best practices.

Engaging the Savvy Digital Consumer

Engaging savvy consumers isn’t just about online reviews. It’s about empowering patients and building the patient-provider relationship. And that’s important because increased engagement leads to better health and cost outcomes.

Luma allows patients to use text messages to fill prescriptions, schedule their referrals, and get the follow-up information that they need to stay on track. This means that they don’t have to fuss with creating a patient portal login or downloading apps to engage with your practice. No worries about compatibility with different smartphone operating systems or web browsers, either – if they can receive text messages, you can reach them.

From a patient feedback and reputation management standpoint, your digital presence impacts patients before they ever set foot in your practice. As many as 72 percent of patients consult online review sites as the first step in choosing a new doctor, according to one survey.

Did you know that simply asking for feedback guarantees you a neutral MACRA adjustment?

By implementing tools like Luma’s Feedback, we can prompt happy patients to write reviews. We also funnel those rare unhappy patients directly to your practice so you can resolve their issues before they go somewhere else to vent.

Harnessing Mobile Health Technology

When you compare the amount of time the average person spends with their phone to the time they spend with their healthcare providers, it’s pretty clear that mobile technology offers a way to dramatically re-imagine the provider-patient relationship.

With text-based technology, patients can engage with providers when it’s convenient for them, even if that falls outside of office hours. Luma allows providers to share sensitive information by texting patients a link to our secure chat platform, where they can access test results and upload documents. That means no more playing phone tag to share important information.

Mobile technology also allows more flexibility in patient education and care coordination. We recently wrote about using Luma’s Custom Actions to support chronic care management. For example, you could automate reminder messages to patients before or after a procedure. This simple feature improves medication adherence and self-care, resulting in better outcomes.

Luma helps improve outcomes by offering easier appointment scheduling. Streamlined waitlists and referrals mean that patients will actually see the providers they need to see, when they need to see them.

Value-Based Payments

As more payers transition to value-based compensation, patient outcomes have taken on new significance. It’s not just about the intrinsic value of helping patients be healthier; value-based payments attach financial incentives to health outcomes (HCAPH Surveys and QPP for starters).

For this reason, Luma was designed with MACRA in mind (check out our checklist here). Rather than tackling each of these issues in a piecemeal fashion, we provide integrated solutions to help providers engage their patients and empower them to be more involved in their own care. Not only does this improve outcomes, it also helps providers to quantify and report on these improvements.

Are you ready to tackle the healthcare challenges ahead in 2018? From mobile technology to pricing transparency, Luma is here to help you with the big issues, so that you can focus on what you do best: providing great care to your patients.

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