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Improving Patient Care and Delivery through the Triple Aim

by Jack Donahue on November 21, 2017 at 11:25 AM


Leaders within the healthcare industry are rethinking how care is being delivered, the associated costs and how to put a greater emphasis on patients’ perspectives to ensure that their experiences are the best they can possibly be. The below quote truly conveys the shift taking place and how innovation will ultimately be inspired by patients’ needs:

“Part of me thinks that innovation, real innovation in healthcare delivery, needs to happen from the bottom to the top.” –Malcolm Gladwell

An initiative referred to as Triple Aim was developed by the Institute of Healthcare and Improvement (IHI) to respond to these challenges and encourage innovation. The overall goal of Triple Aim is to enhance the healthcare system by providing solutions that address three key factors: improving population health, enhancing patient experience and decreasing per-capita costs. As one considers potential solutions, there are two innovative areas worth noting.

  1. Using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are often overlooked but should be more closely considered. In the hospital setting, for example, sepsis is the number one costliest condition and leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals. With sepsis, each hour of delayed treatment decreases the chance of patient survival by almost 8%. Machine learning solutions are starting to be used by many hospitals throughout the country to accelerate the identification of sepsis. In line with the Triple Aim, patients are able to receive the appropriate treatment before their condition becomes serious. For this same reason, fewer hospital resources (costs) are being utilized as a result. 

  1. Providing Care at Alternative Locations

In emergency medical services (EMS), initiatives such as Mobile Integrated Health / Community Paramedicine (MIH/CP) are enhancing provider coordination. MIH/CP is “designed to assist low-income and elderly populations who otherwise have few alternative sources of healthcare support…with additional training in the management of chronic disease, communication skills and cultural sensitivity.” Forward-thinking EMS agencies are starting to partner with hospitals and insurance companies for payment to identify and proactively visit high-risk patients. They are also utilizing nurse triage and transporting to urgent care clinics for less acute 911 calls. In these scenarios, the goal is for the patients to get the right level of service, in the right place and at the right cost.

Learning how to balance all three components of Triple Aim is no easy task, but it is necessary if healthcare organizations want to attain significant improvements in the delivery of care and achievement of patient satisfaction.

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This post was written by Jack Donahue

Jack Donahue is the Executive Vice President of EMS at Intermedix. Prior to joining Intermedix, Jack is the Senior Manager at Arthur Anderson. Jack holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame. He also holds both a Master of Business Administration and an Executive Masters in Health Administration from the University of Florida.

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