How Today’s Healthcare Providers are Achieving All Four Quadruple Aims Without Overhauling Their Entire Operation
The Triple Aim framework, developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in 2007, has helped many healthcare systems optimize performance and improve patient care with its three-pronged approach. Modern providers have added a fourth aim to this framework, and it’s benefitted all involved.
The three areas of focus, improving patient experience, reducing the per capita costs of health care, and improving the health of populations overall, have created healthier populations, less complex and much more coordinated care, and stabilized (and in some instances reduced) the per capita cost of care. We all know healthcare systems are constantly changing, and everything from patient expectations to staff capabilities and provider priorities have changed since the Triple Aims first became popular.
“Thankfully for providers and staff, modern technology has emerged to help meet each goal of the new Quadruple Aim framework.”
Today, a fourth aim — improved clinical experience — has led to the creation of the Quadruple Aim framework. Health systems have recognized that without an improved experience for staff and providers, the three other patient-centric aims will be harder to realize. Thankfully for providers and staff, modern technology has emerged to help meet each goal of the new Quadruple Aim framework.
Improving Patient Experience
Today’s patients live in a world where technology makes our lives easy and connections to businesses we interact with fast. Amazon lets buyers see when a package is within 10 stops of being delivered. Alexa smart speakers light up different colors to notify owners of new updates. Patients have begun to expect digital convenience as well. Health systems and patient experience professionals need to focus on aligning their Patient Experience (PX) with the increasing convenience of modern customer experience.
“If patient experiences don’t meet changing expectations, patient outcomes will be directly impacted.”
Accenture found 44% of patients whose experiences didn’t live up to their expectations “felt stressed/upset,” and 34% said they were “less likely to seek care next time.” If patient experiences don’t meet changing expectations, patient outcomes will be directly impacted. Five key perspectives are playing a big role for today’s providers as they make this shift towards the Consumerization of Patient Engagement. Treating patients as consumers for specific interactions, planning the entire patient journey, prioritizing the right touchpoints for digital technology and automation, working through a phased approach to avoid changing the wrong aspects of care, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement are building stronger patient experiences and creating truly modern health systems.
Reducing Per Capita Costs
Every provider is aware of the continual balance between providing the best care possible, treating patients effectively, and keeping costs manageable. Some costs intrinsic to the healthcare process can feel out of providers’ control, but many can be directly addressed and consolidated to reduce costs for all involved.
According to Rectangle Health, 76% of patients want to manage their healthcare digitally. Patients want to engage through digital channels, and the modern wave of self-service solutions are ready to meet their needs. Whether it’s patients accessing their EMR files, connecting to healthcare outreach like newsletters and hospital updates, or other patient interactions, self-service solutions deliver the fast, easy to access interactions that keep patients connected and enhance engagement with material.
“By reducing the time staff spend on bureaucratic paperwork and back office tasks, modern self-service automation reduces costs for providers and patients.”
On top of patient engagement, more fundamental officework is primed to be digitized and optimized. Every day thousands of patients walk into appointments and meetings with healthcare providers. New patients fill out pages of paperwork, returning patients confirm billing and insurance details, and the entire process takes much longer than it should. Modern self-service can streamline this process and even have patients complete these tedious tasks before they arrive at an appointment or procedure.
By reducing the time staff spend on bureaucratic paperwork and back office tasks, modern self-service automation reduces costs for providers and patients. Even simple jobs like mailing out newsletters or procedure follow up can turn into massive costs at scale. Shifting these operations to digital automation is one way to help handle the costs of care.
Improving Population Health
Every healthcare provider is part of a local community, and everyone in that community could potentially become a patient. Examining and understanding what factors could drive members of each community to engage with health systems is the first step towards proactively delivering care to any population.
“Proactive care and patient education plays a critical role in maintaining population health overall.”
Proactive care and patient education play a critical role in maintaining population health overall. Proactive patient touchpoints like messages helping patients complete various appointment preparation procedures at the right time, outreach educating populations on the importance of relevant vaccines and at-home care, appointment reminders letting patients confirm, cancel, or reschedule to fit their schedules and reduce the barriers to entry help patients achieve the best outcomes possible and improve patient satisfaction (with the added benefits of reducing patient churn and patient leakage).
Improving Clinical Experience
Empathy and expertise make live interactions a perfect fit for low volume, complex touchpoints where staff skills with patients and a caring tone bring real value to the patient journey. With advances in automation solutions today, high volume, straightforward touchpoints (think scheduling appointments, conveying instructions, explaining directions around a facility, etc.) should now be handled by automated self-service solutions. By automating these processes, in an effective manner with staff input, clinics can be freed to focus on the reason healthcare professionals get into the profession: directly helping and caring for patients.
“If health systems target repeatable, standardized processes with end-to-end automation, staff can see these tedious tasks taken off their plates with improved operational efficiencies, benefitting staff and providers.”
If health systems target repeatable, standardized processes with end-to-end automation, staff can see these tedious tasks taken off their plates with improved operational efficiencies, benefitting staff and providers. Patient education and appointment follow-up are a great example of areas many hospitals have already automated for the benefit of all involved. Getting mailers and other information into the hands of patients and members in the past has involved a labored, multi-step process. There’s a much better way to handle this same task with modern automation. Instead of sending physical mailers, hospitals can apply digital automation today. This kind of patient education is an ideal use case for automation as it greatly enhances efficiency, reduces staff burden and burnout, and improves patient outcomes as patients have easier access to the information they need for success.
Meeting the three demands of the Triple Aim framework has created a wave of improvement across the healthcare system since 2007. Keeping that momentum going and paying attention to the needs and experiences of clinical staff as well is critical to the continued success of healthcare providers today. Modern automated solutions are ready to help modernize and improve all four of the Quadruple Aims in healthcare, as long as providers are ready to introduce and implement self-service in an efficient, effective manner.