A new approach simplifies health care and improves patient outcomes

Navigating the health care system can be challenging, creating obstacles to optimal patient care. It’s one industry that’s lagged behind in digital transformation efforts. But some health care leaders are eying a new approach that removes barriers and improves the costumer experience, which in the long run, improves health outcomes for patients.

“Our Living Health model provides better outcomes for customers, simplifying the end-to-end experience and eliminating the things that get in the way of optimal care,” says Neil Kulkarni, vice president of Customer & Clinician Experience Solutions at Highmark Health, parent company of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Smart Business spoke with Kulkarni about how revolutionizing the customer experience is increasing patient engagement — and improving outcomes.

How does the new model help patients overcome barriers to care?

It’s all about delivering a simplified, personalized, proactive and blended experience for both customers and clinicians. At its core, it’s about simplifying end-to-end care and eliminating the things that get in the way of optimal care. It’s about working in close collaboration with clinicians and engaging them more closely in care delivery to help keep people healthy, drive better outcomes, lower costs and improve business outcomes for employers.

By ensuring that care is more personalized to the individual and everything is brought together in one place, we believe people are more likely to engage in their health care experience.

How can this model benefit clinicians and patients?

By improving the customer experience, patients are more likely to engage with their care and work with providers to improve outcomes.

For providers, it allows them to anticipate the needs of patients. Clinicians can focus on the person and build trust, eradicating obstacles that make it difficult to interact. We aim to reduce clinicians’ administrative tasks by simplifying billing, claims and pre-authorization, freeing them up to focus on what they are trained to do — spend time with patients to work toward positive outcomes.

Historically, there is a lack of trust between payers and providers and we are working to break down silos and rebuild that trust. The most progressive models that empower providers to make the right decisions and eliminate administrative burdens will ultimately see better engagement from clinicians and patients alike. It takes time to build trust and health literacy, but it is worth the effort to improve outcomes.

How can employers help employees be more engaged in their health care?

Employers play a significant role and are partners in this journey. Starting with when new employees sign-up for their health insurance, employers can help reinforce the benefits of the Living Health model and new programs and offerings that employees may have access to through their insurance. Encouraging employees to engage in their health, either through customized programs like incentives and rewards, or as a part of their human resources and health care processes will accelerate value from Living Health, lead to better health outcomes for their employees, help lower their health care costs, and ultimately drive better performance for their business. ●

INSIGHTS Health Care is brought to you by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Neil Kulkarni

Vice president of Customer & Clinician Experience Solutions
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