Fee-for-service, population health, the triple aim, evidence-based care –a health care model with tremendous potential appeal is burdened with a thesaurus-worth of terminology that is often anything but lay-friendly. Keeping communication patient-centered is key to making a powerful differentiator meaningful to consumers.
By Anna-Marie Montague, Senior Writer/Strategist, PCI.
Cutting through the Clutter: Helping Consumers Understand Value Based Care
Focus on (and Define) “What it Means for You”
Improved population health is not a concept that resonates with most individuals. Getting care that has been shown to deliver better health outcomes is more appealing. Similarly, evidence-based care is not a warm term – and it begs the question, shouldn’t all medical care be evidence-based? But many patients and families understand and relate to the idea of “best practices,” as an approachable way to describe the importance and value of quality care.
Describe the Potential for Cost Savings at the Individual/Family Level
The issue of cost savings as part of the value equation can also be complex, since consumers are largely still remitting co-payments, co-insurance, or fees on a per-service basis. It’s great to describe how the shift to value-based payment will benefit consumers overall. But in the near-term, consumers can recognize that getting proven treatments, taking advantage of preventive services, and avoiding unnecessary or duplicative tests and treatments will lead to cost (and time) savings – even before the value-based fee model is fully implemented.
Explain why “More Care” Is Often Not “Better Care”
The emphasis on a primary care provider (PCP) and coordinated care may make some consumers wary of care rationing, or an inflexible gatekeeper – an ironic perception, given VBC’s emphasis on improving both access to and the experience of health care.
It can help to frame the PCP as a modern incarnation of the beloved family practitioner, who understands and attends to a patient as a whole, to help ensure the best and safest treatment.
And, while patients can readily relate to the time and costs required for unnecessary tests or treatment, they may not understand that they can also be harmful. Provide some example of the risks of “too much care” – such as un-needed invasive procedures, over-medication, or drug interactions.
Eschew Technical Jargon (Use Plain Language)
If your diabetes treatment protocol achieves an x% reduction of A1C levels, it’s tempting to promote that. While many educated diabetes patients are indeed familiar with the blood test, “achieving better diabetes control” is clear to almost anyone… particularly when you emphasize that better control equates to feeling better, and being at less risk for serious diabetes complications, like painful nerve damage or vision loss.