– Regular preventive care and screenings, along with strong care management plans, are essential to a good population health strategy. But as healthcare experts observe wide patient care gaps, they need to tap into deeper patient engagement strategies to connect the dots.
Gaps in care are the gulf between the recommended treatment trajectory for a certain patient and the treatment that patient realistically receives. A care gap might refer to a patient who misses her breast cancer screening, or a teenager who hasn’t gotten the HPV shot.
Care gaps can result in missed or delayed diagnosis, and subsequently more costly and potentially more invasive treatment down the line. As healthcare providers edge closer toward value-based reimbursement, working to identify and then use patient engagement to address those care gaps will be essential.
Begin risk stratification
Central to the pursuit of closing care gaps is risk stratification, or the practice of segmenting patient populations on their likelihood of falling ill. Healthcare organizations need ample data to assess who is high-risk for an illness, as well as data about that patient’s treatment history.
“The first thing we can do for our existing members is to identify who has gaps,” Andrew Ziskind, MD, senior executive officer of Southwestern Health Resources explained in a previous interview. “Our…