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Closing Gaps in Care with Virtual Care Technology

Gaps in care can refer to disparities in healthcare access, healthcare needs and medical services when comparing different populations across racial, ethnic, and/or socioeconomic factors. The goal in closing care gaps is to minimize inequality and expand access to quality care for all.  To close these gaps, health insurance companies are increasing turning to home health agencies to better enlighten and empower patients through condition management programs and wellness interventions.

With the Synzi platform, agencies are proactively engaging patients – and continuing to engage patients throughout an episode of care – in order to close gaps in care and drive better outcomes for all involved.  The Synzi platform offers many features and benefits which address the key disparities:

  • Coordination: Coordination is critical between all stakeholders during the post-acute care phase.  Keeping everyone “in the loop” will help build trust amongst the broader care team and minimize fragmented care as the patient is handed off from one provider to the next, minimizing the risk of readmission.   A virtual care communication platform enables the home health clinician to better share patient progress and emerging concerns with the referring institution, physician, any specialists involved, and the patient’s family caregiver via secure messaging and/or video.   Appropriate decisions can be quickly made as to the next best step for the patient’s situation.
  • Comprehension: Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.  For patients with limited English proficiency (LEP), the inability to communicate in English and comprehend the role of a home health clinician vs. one’s role in self-care can be a primary barrier to reducing readmissions.  A virtual care communication platform allows a home health clinician to quickly include a medical interpreter into a video call in order to ensure that the patient fully comprehends the care being provided and the expectations going forward.  Ongoing messaging can also be translated into the patient’s primary or preferred language to deepen patient understanding and engagement.
  • Capacity: Staffing shortage is a key concern for many home health agencies; the demand for qualified staff can result in employee turnover and impact an agency’s ability to provide care for current patients and enable the agency to expand their client base.  The constant churn in staff can lead to a breakdown in the continuum of care, weaker outcomes, and an increased risk of readmissions – all factors which can put an agency at a disadvantage when trying to increase the quality and quantity of its community and institutional referral sources.  With a virtual care communication platform, an agency administrator can better leverage available staff to provide more care to more patients.  Less transit time is required when the episode of care has a mix of in-person and virtual visits.  And, the reduction in travel related expenses and liabilities also helps strengthen an agency’s bottom line.  The platform also enables the agency to provide patients and family caregivers with access to teletriage home health care afterhours during the week and on weekend.  Patient trips to the Emergency Department (and any resulting rehospitalizations) can be minimized as the home health agency can virtually answer questions and address concerns from patients (and their family caregivers) afterhours and during the weekend with secure message and/or video.
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