Speakers at an NCQA event suggest that some services could be delivered differently, by non-physicians working outside of hospitals.
Up until a few decades ago, drivers needing service or repairs had to take their cars to the repair shop. Then came companies (Midas in 1956 and Jiffy Lube in 1971) that offered inexpensive, routine services such as oil changes and replacement mufflers.
Now drivers had options.
Speakers at an NCQA Quality Talks event Monday suggested that a similar service delivery model could apply to medicine and lead to better, more efficient, less-expensive care.
Others said we are already headed in that direction through telemedicine, urgent care clinics, and programs designed to keep patients out of that human repair shop known as the hospital.
"The health plan of the future" was one of three themes explored at the event.
Speaker Barbara McAneny, MD, the CEO of the New Mexico Cancer Center, said she does everything she can to keep her patients out of the hospital. Her group has succeeded in preventing unneeded admissions through the creation of an oncology medical home.
Every time she admits patients to the hospital, their quality of life declines a little bit, even if they don't suffer complications or infections, McAneny said.
1. A Medical Home for Cancer Patients
Her team created the "COME HOME" medical home model which aims to "improve health outcomes, enhance patient care experiences and significantly reduce costs of care by keeping patients out of the emergency department and hospital as much as possible."
The program credits a system that includes triage, extended hours, and evidence-based medicine for reducing the costs of caring for Medicare patients by about 6%.
Tinker Ready is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.