Communication with a patient can make a significant difference in healthcare outcomes for both the patient and the independent physician. Likewise, with an aging population, effective collaboration with specialty providers and healthcare facilities can become a crucial factor in the treatment of patients with chronic or complex conditions. As the transition to value-cased care continues, communication and coordination of services will become increasingly important.
Those two areas are also of vital importance to the patients themselves, a recent survey discovered. Inaugural Health Ambitions Study, a research project conducted by Aetna, posed a variety of questions to 1,000 people as well as separate questions to 400 physicians, divided evenly between primary care and specialty providers. The survey found that the majority of patients want their physicians to communicate with them better and to coordinate their care more effectively.
The survey found that “77% of respondents said it’s very important for their doctors to talk in an easy-to-understand manner.” Taking the time to explain diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans can make a difference in whether patients understand their medical situation and take their medications properly. Follow-up self-care by the patient can also be impacted by whether the physician made the instructions clear and understandable during the visit.
Communication after the visit can also contribute to positive outcomes. Patients surveyed also believe that “privacy and data security are important parts of healthcare.” Communicating with patients electronically can ensure that all of their data is private and secure. Younger patients, in particular, prefer digital tools when accessing their medical records and communicating with their physician.
Of those patients participating in the Aetna survey, just over half want their independent physicians to coordinate care with other healthcare providers more effectively. A tool such as a Collaborative Health Record will provide independent physicians the ability to communicate and coordinate with other healthcare providers to ensure their value-based care results in quality outcomes.