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Transparent! How Technology Can Provide Greater Visibility for Everyone Involved in Healthcare in 2019

Published 2019-01-03

Our mission at Workpath is to redesign how healthcare is delivered. To make this possible, we’re creating technology in 2019 that leads to transparent healthcare for everyone, including patients/consumers, healthcare professionals, healthcare employers, and more. When this happens, complete visibility can help patients and their families make informed choices. In addition, it can increase trust in the patient/caregiver relationship while improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of health systems and other healthcare providers. In short, transparency is critical toward our effort this year to move toward a higher performing healthcare industry at large. But how can technology help? First, let’s understand the push toward transparency over the years and where we’re headed in the year ahead. Let’s dig in. 

How the Push for Healthcare Transparency Began

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines transparency in healthcare as making all information on quality, efficiency, and consumer experience clearly available to the public in a reliable and understandable manner. When done right, transparency efforts in healthcare can dramatically influence the behaviors of patients, providers, payers, and others to achieve better outcomes. 

While the foundation for patient transparency was set years ago, it wasn’t until 2001 that the IOM published recommendations for increased information availability, so that patients and families could make more informed choices. The IOM report brought attention to the need for a standardized set of performance indicators for safety, patient satisfaction, and outcomes to be made public. The movement toward informed healthcare choices was reinforced by proponents of Consumer-Driven Health Care (CDHC), an often-debated, market-driven approach to healthcare based on publicly available information on price and quality of care to encourage informed shopping for high-quality, low-cost healthcare. 

By 2006, a Presidential Executive Order called for all federal agencies, and sponsored federal healthcare insurance programs, to increase their transparency around pricing and quality. 

Fast forward to today and multiple healthcare organizations continue to push for transparency and performance measures, including the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the American Medical Association’s Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, National Quality Forum (NQF), The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), just to name a few. In addition, the American College of Physicians Ethics Manual clearly supports transparency in all patient and physician relationships. Physicians are expected to share whatever info is needed to help a patient understand their situation, including cost, as well as the experience of the clinician and any errors made in the course of the care. All such information must be shared openly, honestly and in a comprehensible way to empower the patient.

While the factors involved in healthcare transparency are complex and heavily debated, it’s clear that increasing transparency throughout the healthcare industry benefits those receiving care. A Commonwealth Fund survey of American healthcare, as an example, found that 95 percent of healthcare opinion leaders believe that having information on the quality of physicians and hospitals is important. Similarly, a survey from Center for Health System Change Research on patients seeking care outside of the traditional hospital settings demonstrates that transparency around quality of care is important when choosing a physician and other services. In addition, a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows that health plan enrollees routinely seek information on provider quality above all else. 

While criticism of performance rating programs has been a natural part of the push toward greater transparency, most healthcare leaders agree that high-quality care starts with greater visibility into quality improvement efforts, evaluation programs, methodology behind ratings, better use of data, ease of use, understandability, and a process for registering complaints. 

Our role at Workpath is to further grow this movement toward greater transparency through the use of innovative technology that can help improve the healthcare experience on both sides – the patients receiving care and those providing care. 

How Technology Can Help Improve Transparency  

Let’s take a look at some of the features created by Workpath to increase transparency in 2019 for everyone receiving and delivering care. Healthcare organizations leveraging Workpath’s technology have reported that the following features have improved their workflow and thus added greater visibility for patients and caregivers alike.

For those delivering care, specialists are now using Workpath’s platform to set up their profile with desired drive radii from their home location or their current GPS location, set their work availability, and choose their preferred notification hours. With this layer of visibility, Workpath then automatically matches the right specialist available to perform a job at the right time and place. The specialist then automatically receives a push notification for any appointments/shifts that fall within their desired drive radius and work availability. 

Using Workpath's HIPAA-compliant technology, everyone involved in care (the patient, the specialist delivering care to the patient, and the healthcare organization assigning the labor to perform the care) is kept fully updated about all appointments – from the moment an appointment is assigned to its completion. This provides the patient full transparency into the process while giving the healthcare organization greater visibility into every aspect of the care provided by their specialists.

Healthcare organizations using Workpath technology can track all appointments and shifts in one place. Appointments can be added by their customers, team, or through an API integration with an existing system or EHR (like Allscripts, Epic, and Cerner). 

Through the Workpath dashboard, healthcare organizations have the ability to track all appointments on one page with real-time status updates, so every detail is made visible. And by using Workpath’s procedure intelligence, the specialist who is assigned an appointment automatically receives step-by-step instructions for each service to better control quality in the field.

For patients, transparency is increased through automated confirmation, reminder, and real-time status messages via text and email so that they are alerted to every aspect of their appointment.  

Meanwhile the healthcare organization can use Workpath’s technology to add tags to each specialist in order to keep track of certifications, licenses, and specifics for all services and members of their workforce. This lets healthcare partners stratify their workforce to ensure the right people have access to the right appointments.

Using Workpath’s mileage tracking feature helps healthcare organizations automate and better manage navigation and mileage tracking, thus eliminating unnecessary phone calls, emails, and messages from their labor about mileage, directions, and additional time spent documenting their travels for each appointment. This popular geolocation feature offers all the information a specialist needs: the estimated mileage to an appointment based on their current location, the ideal route to reach the appointment in time, and visibility into the actual mileage to deliver care to the patient. Once a specialist is on their way to an appointment, they can use the navigation feature built into the Workpath app to be certain that they never miss an appointment and are always on time! The patient also receives a route tracking link, via text, so they can track the specialist when they are on the way the appointment and view the estimated time of arrival.

Using their Workpath mobile app, specialists receive a push notification when an appointment or shift is assigned to them. In addition, push notifications alert the caregiver if the time/day or address is updated, thereby ensuring appointments are never missed and details never fall through the cracks. 

To further enhance transparency, both the patient and the specialist receive an appointment reminder 24 hours before an appointment starts. The specialist can use the Workpath app to select their status (such as “On the Way,” “Arrived,” “In Progress,” “Shipping,” “Complete”) which keeps the healthcare organization updated in real-time. The GPS Tracking feature on the Workpath app will alert the patient as well, letting them know when their specialist is on “On the Way” or has “Arrived.” For additional transparency within the healthcare organization, the specialists can add notes to the appointment log for every appointment using the Workpath app. 

By making visibility a key component in every aspect of Workpath, healthcare organizations and caregivers can view their history of completed appointments/shifts with all details (time/date, service completed, payment, ordering organization).

Everyone Benefits When Healthcare Is Transparent 

Rapid advances in technology by companies like Workpath are improving the push toward greater transparency for all parties involved in healthcare. Today’s technology makes it possible to improve the way healthcare organizations operate and how they seamlessly communicate with every stakeholder. Because of greater transparency, stakeholders can now access, track, and analyze critical information about every single appointment, how it was delivered, when it was delivered, and the results. For healthcare organizations wishing to be responsive to marketplace expectations, technology by companies like Workpath makes it possible to increase transparency and enhance their interactions with those receiving care and those delivering care.