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At the 2018 Musculoskeletal Leadership Summit, Zabkiewicz discussed the importance of developing a post-acute network in value-based care, sharing key insights on how to recognize top performing providers in your market, as well as how to influence providers with meaningful data points.

In Part 2 of this series, we’re sharing the final three steps that were essential in developing a data-driven post-acute network for the OrthoIllinois Value-Based Care Department. (If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.)

  1. Developing Patient EducationDoctor and patient shaking hands

“It’s critically important to address the patient’s expectations at the time that it’s determined surgery is needed,” says Zabkiewicz. “The messaging through the care continuum has to remain the same or you will lose control of the patient.” This can take time as you build relationships with your facilities.

The case managers begin their coordination of care with a pre-operative risk assessment. During this time, they set the care plan up with the patient – this happens three to four weeks prior to surgery.

This allows them to talk to the patient about the preferred provider, discussing the star rating and what that means. The doctor is supportive, the organizations have all been vetted for quality, and protocols are consistent across the board. Knowing all this work has been done upfront gives the patient peace of mind and leads to strong patient compliance.

At Orthoillinois, patients also learn that just because the facility can keep you doesn’t mean they should; it all comes down to medical necessity. Their data shows patients are doing extremely well at the five to seven-day length of stay. Patients also understand that the facility will be encouraging them to participate in their recovery and modifications to the care plan will be made based on the how well the patient is progressing.

  1. Promoting Your Post-Acute Network

Promoting your network establishes an element of privilege among post-acute providers. It also drives compliance with protocols. There are two key areas of promotion to consider:

  •      Patient engagement

Consider developing a post-acute network brochure, which provides education about the star rating, and why skilled nursing may or may not be the right fit for a patient. It then lists all the facilities in each category with their star rating, phone number, and address. Every patient is encouraged to take a tour of the facility prior to surgery. This helps alleviate anxiety and gives the patient a strong sense of what to expect throughout the episode of care.

  •      Physician engagement

Zabkiewicz highly recommends taking the time to educate your surgeons and staff members on the value of having a post-acute network in place. This means being transparent about the costs associated with each level of care, discussing who the post-acute providers are, and scripting office discussions.

  1. Finding Motivation In the Data  

As OrthoIllinois moved through developing their network and holding partners accountable, patients are having better outcomes and utilization is decreasing.

The path to developing a post-acute network is a challenging journey, but also a rewarding one. “In my daily work, often times I feel like things aren’t progressing as I want them to,” says Zabkiewicz. “But then when I pull data like this and we look back, I think of how far we’ve come.” As you work to develop your own network, don’t forget to take a look back at where you started and all the progress you’ve made. This will give you the motivation you need to keep moving forward.