Giving Seriously Ill Patients More Choices About Their Care
Nearly everyone in health care wants to cut waste and reduce unnecessary costs — until the conversation turns to advanced chronic illness and end-of-life care.
But innovations at Sutter Health, Sharp HealthCare and Aetna are reducing costs while maintaining quality based on these key components:
- They establish close, enduring personal relationships, primarily in the home, among patients, family, and staff.
- They ensure seamless communication across all clinical settings to remedy fragmented, episodic standard care.
- They relieve pain and suffering, which, if left untreated, impair quality of life and encourage hospitalization.
- They educate patients and their families about disease process and prognosis, and they foster open discussion about all options for care, including hospice.
- They engage patients on their own terms and at their own pace to identify what matters most to them.
- They document personal care preferences as they emerge, and they use electronic health records or traditional communication channels to convey those preferences to all potential providers.
- They continue these discussions, documenting and transmitting any new care preferences that may emerge as disease progresses.
- They provide support to families to help relieve the burden of caregiving.