Moving behavioral health reimbursement toward value

| August 1, 2016

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The shift from the fee-for-service payment structure to fee-for-value payment models is no easy feat. But the transition is proving to be an even more monumental task for behavioral health. Payers tend to view mental health as distinct from physical health and often “carve out” mental health treatment from provider contracts, despite the frequent overlap between mental and physical illnesses.

Spotlight

Mercy

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

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HEALTHCARE ANALYTICS

The Hidden Stress of the Pandemic

Article | February 14, 2021

Tempted to throw in the towel on your New Year’s resolutions? It’s a natural reaction during this unprecedented year. I’m here to tell you it’s okay—and you probably don’t need them anyway. You’re in good company if you’ve given up on the big shifts. According to widely-cited research study, only 19% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. In addition, this may not have been the best time to make changes, given all that’s going on with the pandemic. Also, worthwhile to consider the following insights on the unease with making big changes these days. According to research published in Molecular Psychiatry, when you go through prolonged challenging times (and the pandemic certainly qualifies), chronic stress can change the architecture of your brain and make you feel worn out, anxious, fearful, or depressed. These aren’t the best conditions for making major changes. You may also face “change saturation,” or in other words, you’ve had to make so many transitions, you just can’t make any more. To prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed, focus on attainable aspirations. Here are a few recommendations. DREAM ON A SMALLER SCALE Success for the next 12 months may be closely tied to a less-is-more approach. Instead of seeking a whole new career, maybe you can set your sights on getting assigned to a new project at your current company. In other words, consider how you can tweak your behaviors rather than overhauling them. Cultivate gratitude. Appreciate the little things. When you’re more tuned into what you have, you’re less focused on what you still want. This “enough mentality” can be helpful to your mental health. You don’t have to make big changes to achieve satisfaction or happiness. Contentment starts with gratitude. Avoid perfectionism. Often, the fuel for big changes is a feeling you or your situation are not perfect. Remind yourself that perfection is a myth and focus on what’s working. This will help you find fulfillment with your present reality (even if it’s not all you aspire to). Make a list, then edit down. Another great way to keep your ambitions reasonable is to make a list of all you want to accomplish and then eliminate everything but the top three items. A surefire route to frustration is to expect too much and put unrealistic pressures on yourself. Instead, focus on just a few vital things you want to accomplish, rather than a long list that does not empower you. After you’ve accomplished the first three goals on your list, you can always come back to the others, but give yourself a fighting chance to achieve the most integral top three, first. MONITOR YOURSELF Keep yourself accountable through specific techniques—and pay attention to events that may cause you to slide backwards. Research in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin explains that 40% of your behaviors occur in similar situations, which is to say familiar circumstances encourage the repetition of choices. Therefore, if you’re able to adjust one potentially repeated behavior, it can make a difference. Create routines and conveniences. When you want to nurture a behavior, make it a default so you’re not thinking consciously about it. Research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found when you repeat behaviors in a consistent context, it helps with habit formation and these take hold much more effectively. You can use this to your advantage. Instead of making a conscious choice each morning whether you want the donut or the smoothie, have the sliced fruit ready to go and the blender on the counter so when you arrive bleary-eyed to the kitchen in the morning, you’re just doing what’s already laid out. Start each day with the routine of responding to quick-hit emails. Rather than deciding what to work on first, just create a routine where you’re repeating behavior that works without as much conscious thought. Plan ahead. When you can plan for things, you can usually control them more effectively. If you’re going to be in a situation that might create challenges for your new behaviors, make a plan. Perhaps you’re going to the grocery store and you can make a plan to avoid the cookie aisle. Or if you’re back in the office, avoid the calorie-tempting socially distanced happy hour with colleagues by leaving right on time and get a head start on the big project you’re working on. Anticipating what might present challenges will help you overcome them. FIND SUPPORT Support can be the difference between making small changes and not succeeding at all. Find a source that works for you. Find friends. Create a virtual group of people also trying to make changes. Perhaps there’s an online group where you can exchange healthy recipes or provide mutual encouragement for regular trips to the gym. Also tap into your existing network and ask your friend to check in with you to see if you’ve had your workout for the day. Seek out colleagues who can nurture the writing skills you want to develop. Find people who encourage you, provide feedback, and remind you about your ability to succeed. Use technology thoughtfully. There are a wide variety of virtual solutions to help you shift your behavior. Download the app that allows you to track your water intake or the app that will send you notifications if you haven’t moved enough in the last hour. Look for apps that can help you learn the new language you’ve been wanting to add to your skill set or that can connect you with colleagues who have like-minded ambitions. Behavior shifts are most likely to occur with planning, reminders, and feedback. So, find apps that provide these three kinds of support. Give yourself permission to do less for now and know you can always do more later. In the meantime, stay strong and be satisfied with a little progress for now.

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How COVID-19 is Impacting the Healthcare Industry and its Workers

Article | February 14, 2021

The one clear consensus that has emerged from this doubt and anxiety-filled time is that our society will be forever changed by COVID-19. In the recent days, we have seen a general movement toward telecommuting and digital solutions to accommodate the drastic changes caused by this global pandemic. The healthcare industry, which is arguably impacted the most, is no exception to this trend. But while the movement to digital healthcare started well before the outbreak, it has been a slow journey, fraught with many regulations that have slowed its market penetration. With the current system so overwhelmed, a transition from the face-to-face model of care to a digital model has become vitally necessary, forcing it to happen sooner rather than later. Places that have already embraced the digitalization of healthcare practices have demonstrated the benefits of updating the old-fashioned model. A digital approach to healthcare can have unlimited applications, from telemedicine to a digital system for tracking available hospital beds. All of these applications not only save time but also potentially peoples’ lives by eliminating unnecessary contact between infected and healthy patients as well as their caregivers.

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Healthcare Marketing Tips for 2021

Article | February 14, 2021

2020 was very challenging for those working in the healthcare sector. As Covid-19 is looking unlikely to go away anytime soon, healthcare marketing strategy is crucial in 2021. Do you know that one in every 20 Google searches is health-related? Also, almost 90% of 18-24-year-olds trust the health information they get on social media channels. Consultations and appointments are being carried out online. Information on all medical things is available digitally and things in the medical industry are changing rapidly. Updating yourself and adapting healthcare marketing trends is more than a necessity. This blog provides some of the useful healthcare marketing tips for you in 2021 in light of Covid-19. These tips will help you stay ahead of the competition in these chaotic times. Be Aware of the Covid-19 Impact on Healthcare Marketing Due to the unexpected effect Covid-19 had in the healthcare sector, healthcare marketers have to integrate the latest healthcare marketing trends in 2021 in their campaigns. Here are some tips: Demand for Healthcare Information There is a huge demand for healthcare information, especially related to the pandemic. Engaging people with relevant informational and educational content is crucial. This content can be made on handwashing, mental health, being safe, staying healthy at home, etc. Reputation is Key The key to healthcare marketing is reputation building. Encourage and make patients leave positive feedback online. Learn and improve if you get any negative feedback. Almost 90% of patients use online reviews before consultation or booking an appointment. So, it is vital to have a safe and robust reputation in 2021. Be Transparent Being transparent, you can become a trusted source of information. You can achieve it by keeping your patients updated on any scaling back of operations and policy changes. Answering the queries of patients online will also increase your reputation. Invest in SEO The demand for relevant user-generated content and organic searches has not gone away during the pandemic, it has just shifted. Many businesses reacted to the pandemic by pausing marketing campaigns. In 2021, you will have to keep adapting to the new normal in your healthcare marketing. Since the pandemic outbreak, most consumers are using search engines to look up symptoms, checking reviews of various healthcare providers, and making appointments. Here are some tips for ranking highly on search engines in 2021: Link Building Linking the business website with other quality websites of the same category will increase your reputation and rankings on search engines. Mobile optimization Mobile optimization of your healthcare business website is essential in healthcare marketing. It is more important than ever in 2021 to stay connected with your patients on the go. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you will miss out on a massive number of patients, especially during this pandemic time. Blogs Another essential thing in healthcare marketing is to create engaging and relevant content for your potential clients. Engaging, informational, and educational blogs will increase your online visibility in the healthcare industry and rankings in the search engines. Local SEO People searching for something, including healthcare providers, ‘near me’ is a trend. Optimizing your healthcare marketing content and being visible on Google My Business platforms will help you get ranked in search engine result pages. Create a Seamless Patient Experience The global pandemic has drastically changed the way the world works during 2020. These practices expect to be with us in 2021, too, perhaps even beyond. Therefore, the patient experience also has changed hugely. The pandemic has brought out new customs like online appointments due to recent social distance and other safety measures. As an effective healthcare marketing practice, it is essential to communicate with your patients in time to make any changes to your healthcare procedures. Update your website Ensure you update all the essential information about scheduling, appointments, new procedures, and phone consultations clearly on your business website. You can even add a Covid-19 section with FAQs on your website. FAQs can be about what patients can expect and how you are operating safely. Personalize email and text notifications Sending out new safety protocols, appointment reminders, and any changes to your policy via email or text is the best way to communicate with your patients. It can be an effective way of healthcare marketing during the pandemic. It will also ensure that you do not leave out any patients. Mobile app experience Creating an app for your healthcare business will provide your patients with an excellent customer experience. It allows patients to see test results, schedule appointments, chat with consultants, and upload images. Moreover, it will be a great healthcare marketing initiative as it will be valuable in the future of healthcare marketing too. Update your social media Updating your social media channels regularly with how you are operating during the pandemic will create a clear communication channel with your patients. Healthcare content is key Creating reliable, educational, and informative content for meeting user demand is critical for healthcare marketing in 2021. The best way to engage and inform patients is through video content. Video content is also easily accessible for potential customers to consume. It can be in the form of explaining a healthcare issue, what to expect at your appointment, or a Q&A with an expert. Educational, informative, and engaging video creation and distributing it in various channels can be an effective healthcare marketing tactic in 2021. You can also publish statistics, studies, blogs, and news articles to project yourself as an expert in the healthcare industry. Healthcare marketing is all about building a strong reputation and driving up potential customer engagement. The priority in 2021 is to stay on top of your healthcare marketing. We at Media 7 offer bespoke services for the healthcare industry. We generate leads, convert them, and make them your happy customers forever. To know more, visit Media 7 website. Frequently Asked Questions How does social media help in healthcare marketing? Social media is a practical means to establish and manage public awareness and reputation. As part of an overall healthcare marketing plan, social media helps healthcare marketers interact with the public to attract new patients. How do you create a successful healthcare marketing strategy? The first step in creating a successful healthcare marketing strategy is to understand your target audience. After understanding the audience, you can have a step-by-step online marketing process, such as building a website, making your presence on social media, etc. What are the benefits of healthcare marketing? Some of the benefits and advantages of healthcare marketing are improved competitive advantage, networking, visibility, absence of misinformation, creating, communicating, and providing value. It also helps in building up a sustainable relationship with patients.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Blockchain in the Healthcare Industry

Article | February 14, 2021

Prioritizing health and managing it, has become highly important because our lifestyle is continuously evolving in ways that take a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, the major issue for the patients lies in the inaccuracy of treatment due to the lack of complete health records in any hospital. With the recent changes in privacy legislation and data management, patients are even unable to retrieve their own health records. For example, someone had an accident and was taken to the emergency room. The first thing they will need to do in their condition is to fill the hospital’s form. Then, for the treatment, if the injured person is conscious enough, doctors ask questions like if they are allergic to some medicines or do they suffer from diabetes or any other disease. Besides, what if the individual denies having allergies or diabetes in their half-conscious state? And the previous hospitals where they have already had treatment before have denied sharing the medical details of the person either due to privacy issues or data corruption. Well, it can create a lot of fuzz. Solely, to improve the health industry without compromising the security of the individuals, blockchain has remained in the discussion. It has the potential to address the operability challenges present in the healthcare industry. But, what is blockchain, what are its underlying fundamentals, why blockchain, and what are its advantages? Today’s blog will help in understanding every aspect of blockchain and its impact on the healthcare industry. So let’s get started! What is Blockchain? Blockchain is a P2P or peer-to-peer distributed or decentralized ledger technology. It stores a chain of data called blocks of information. These blocks are chained together by cryptographic signatures. These signatures are called hash that is stored in the shared ledger and backed by a connected processes network - node. These nodes reserve a copy of the complete chain and get continually updated by synchronization. Though, to include blockchain in the process it’s necessary to hire a developer who has prior experience and knowledge about its architecture and can work with the components efficiently as blockchain is a designed pattern that consists of three major constituents - a distributed network, a shared ledger, and all the digital transactions. a. Distributed Network As discussed before, blockchain is built on peer-to-peer networks. While having no central point of storage, it makes the information on the network less vulnerable to being lost or exploited. Unlike the traditional client-server model that has a centralized storage point or controlling party, all the information in the blockchain network is constantly recorded and transferred to the participants of the network that are also known as nodes or peers. These peers also own several identical copies of the information. That’s why blockchain is seen as a huge improvement to centralized models and is considered the future of data storage and ownership. b. Shared Ledger Each authorized participant in the network records the transactions into the shared ledger. If they want to add any transaction, it is important to run algorithms that evaluate and verify the transactions. If the majority of members agree to the transaction’s validity, a new transaction gets added to the shared ledger. The changes done in the shared ledger is reflected in minutes or even seconds in the copies of the blockchain. Once the transaction is added, there’s no way to modify or delete it. Also, as the copy is shared in the form of a ledger to each member, no single member can alter data. c. Digital Transaction Transactions are information i.e. data transmission to one block. During the process of data transmission, each node acts as a central point to generate and digitally sign the transaction. As the nodes connect each other in the network, each of them has to verify the transaction independently for its conflicts, validity, and compliance. Only after the transaction passes the verification, the information is added into the shared ledger. The major element that makes digital transactions successful is cryptographic hashing that encrypts the data for security. Why Blockchain technology in healthcare? It has happened so often that the patient remains unable to gather all of their previous medical records in one format from one place swiftly or sometimes cannot even collect the required information at all. Unfortunately, in most cases, the information of critical patients remains scattered across several different institutions of healthcare that too in different formats. Besides, the data management systems along with the security regulations also vary in different institutions making it difficult to trace and fix mistakes. But, what can blockchain do? A blockchain is a system used for storing and sharing information with security and transparency. Every block in the chain is an independent unit of its own and a dependent link among the collective chain that creates a network controlled by participants rather than a third party. As blockchains are managed by network nodes instead of central authority, they are decentralized that prevents one entity from having complete control over the network. With the incorporation of blockchain, the need for a central administrator will be removed by cryptography. Healthcare providers will be able to promote data management processes beyond perception. It will help in collecting, analyzing, sharing, and securing medical records. It will provide the access to healthcare workers for retrieving health records with the cryptographic keys provided by patients from anywhere without creating any privacy or security problems. Advantages of Healthcare Blockchain Although applications of blockchain in the healthcare industry are inceptive, some early solutions have shown the possibility of reduced healthcare costs, improved access to information among different stakeholders, and streamlining the entire business process. So, keeping aside the buzz, let’s see the real advantages of blockchain in healthcare. 1. Master Patient Indexes The master patient index helps in the identification of patients across separate administrative systems. It is often created within the EHR or electronic health record system. As these EHRs have different vendors, there are several irregularities of MPIs. In many cases, the data of a patient between these healthcare systems become mismatched. However, with the nature of decentralization in Blockchain, it possesses the ability to solve the issue. In the blockchain-based MPIs, the data will be hashed to the ledger and content will remain unique as only the authorized nodes of the data can make changes to the hashes while all parties with access can only check the related information. 2. Single, elongated patient records Blockchain technology is potent to transform health care by placing patients at the center of the system while increasing the security and privacy of health records. It provides a new model for health information exchange by forming electronic elongated patient records secured and efficient. Additionally, the fact that the data is copied among all the nodes of the blockchain network creates an atmosphere of clarity and transparency that enables healthcare providers and patients to know how their data is handled by whom, how, and when. It can also help healthcare from potential frauds, data losses, or security attacks. 3. Supply Chain Management Supply chain management in healthcare is a challenging aspect. With scattered settings for ordering drugs, medical supplies, and critical resources, there’s an inherent risk of compromising the supply chain that might impact patient safety. Indulgence of blockchain technology in the transactions can tap into the complete process of medicine or drug products movement. As all the transactions will be recorded onto the shared ledger with every block recording and maintaining every transaction, it will become easy to verify the vendor, distributor, and origin of the drug within a matter of seconds. It will also enable healthcare physicians and officials to check the authenticity of the supplier’s credentials. 4. Claims Justification Currently, the insurance claim processes face difficulties like lack of transparency i.e. most customers don’t even know how insurance works; human errors and inefficiencies i.e. insurances are full of confusion along with human errors that create inefficiencies that lead to the increased cost to customers; higher frauds in claims. But, blockchain technology can simplify and enhance recordkeeping, payment processing, claims registration, contract management, and closure with its immutable ledger. 5. Interoperability Interoperability is the capability of distinct healthcare information technology to interpret, exchange, and use data. Due to the privacy issues, the alphanumeric code to identify a patient has been revoked that caused problems in gathering the required record of the patient. Enforcing measurement standards for industry-wide interoperability is also a challenge in interoperability. With blockchain in healthcare interoperability, data can be shared in real-time on the trusted network and provides access to the patient’s record in a secured manner. Moreover, with the pri

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Spotlight

Mercy

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

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