Care plans and program design affects everything from patient progress and retention, to the cost-effectiveness of care teams. If your new program design is inefficient, your care teams will spend more time on administrative tasks and less time fostering patient relationships and less time helping patients achieve program goals. Patients may slip through the cracks, lost in a mess of data as care managers tool jump from email to a spreadsheet to CRM to try to keep track of patients.
Poor program design comes with risks for both patients and care teams:
While there’s plenty to be gained from digital health programs, the rise of technology in health care has introduced a new problem—alert fatigue. Patients and staff don’t necessarily need an alert for every program element, only key elements that affect the patient’s progress. These overused alerts result in health care teams becoming desensitized to their warning signals, making these tools virtually useless.
The Fix: Care plans and programs should be designed to trigger alerts only when care teams need to take action based on the program objectives. Programs that alert care managers to every little change can ultimately frustrate care workers and negatively impact patient outcomes. By using alerts sparingly, care teams will know when they should take immediate action on behalf of their patients.
Can you ever have too much data? The answer is yes – if it’s irrelevant data or the wrong data. While digital health tools allow care teams to do data collection at a whole new level, gathering information from patients’ daily lives, this data doesn’t always translate into improved patient conditions.
Research shows that increased data gathering capabilities can make evidence-based practice more difficult. Unless teams have a way to filter out unneeded data, health care staff will continue to find themselves overloaded with information. This overload can result in care managers not knowing which data they need to focus on and they may overlook important information for the patient’s care.
The Fix: In your program development phase, define what data you need so you can customize what data you collect. By selectively gathering data care managers will have more useful and actionable information at their fingertips. This can save care managers time since they won’t have to manually sort through unneeded information in order to find the patient data they need.
Tools that don’t allow for automation can decrease ROI. If care managers have to manually complete every task and remember which patient they need to interact with and what channel to use, they’ll inevitably lose sight of patients who need intervention and engagement.
The Fix: Program success means care managers don’t spend time on activities that could be automated. Program designers should automate repetitive processes and tasks. For instance, patients can receive an automated survey message each week to monitor their pain levels or care managers can send automated texts based on a recent patient action.
Care managers shouldn’t be spending the majority of their time on manual tasks. They need their time freed up to interact with patients in order to support them on their health journeys. Often, they spend more time than necessary on administrative tasks because they are using disparate tools like spreadsheets, email, phone calls, and CRM or EHR systems.
The Fix: During program implementation, integrate tools so care managers only need to use one system and all other tools are updated in real-time.
Too Many Interactions
Too many interactions or lengthy interactions with their health teams may be overwhelming to the patient. Instead of feeling supported by their care team, they may end up feeling more distant.
Care managers may have ambitious agendas for coaching calls, but sometimes this gives patients very little opportunity to express how they’re doing. This person-to-person connection is vital for keeping patients engaged and motivated in their wellness goals.
The Fix: Plan the right amount of interactions based on a patient’s behavior. For instance, patients may not be adhering to the care plan that could benefit from a reminder or nudge. Also, plan to save time in coaching calls for patients to express their thoughts instead of overwhelming them with information.
Another risk of patient relationship management program design is that care teams can focus on the wrong patients at the wrong time. For instance, if your tools don’t help teams pinpoint patients who need help, care managers may end up scheduling calls or interactions with patients who don’t need assistance at that time.
The Fix: Use clinically proven assessments to monitor the patient’s health status. For example, if a set of patients indicates that their pain has improved, the care manager can correctly conclude that the patients don’t need immediate intervention.
Download “5 Questions to Diagnose if Your Patient Relationship Strategies Are Working” to start saving your care teams time and improve your program’s ROI.