Telehealth, EHRs, and rapidly advancing medical technology has contributed to improving population health, but most of these solutions still tend to focus on a single patient encounter. A visit to your doctor today for a chronic complaint, is likely helpful, but one visit may not be enough to keep you healthy. This is considered reactive healthcare.

Reactive healthcare accounts for more than two-thirds of healthcare spending in the United States and most reactive health dollars are generated by preventable or manageable chronic diseases. Seven of every ten deaths in the United States are due to chronic disease. If patients prioritize preventative care and work closely with their providers, many of these illnesses can be avoided or managed.

Reactive Healthcare Basics

Reactive care does not meet the needs of patients. It can’t prevent a patient from initially becoming ill and is generally far more costly. Patient financial barriers including co-payments, deductibles, and lost wages, have led health systems and patients to see reactive care as a singular option. This is reinforced by the fee-for-service payment models that prioritize physician volume over holistic patient care.

Because healthcare costs are largely driven by often preventable chronic diseases, when patients and practitioners prioritize preventive care in place of responding to an urgent need, they see improvements in patient mortality and satisfaction.

By treating chronic conditions only as a response, we are not prioritizing the patient’s needs. Treatment that is reactive does not reduce illness flare-ups. Ultimately reactive care remains more costly than proactive care since it is likely too late to cure an advanced chronic disease.

Because fee-for-service payment models have rewarded healthcare organizations to incentivize the total volume of patients they serve, it reduces the urgency to prioritize proactive care in patients. Technology and Value Based Care are changing that landscape.

Proactive vs. Reactive Management

United States healthcare costs and quality of care have been a decades long debate. Although solutions are available to cut costs, it necessitates a change in both practice and patients.

Increasing patient-centered healthcare through improving communication, and engaging patients in their care can help place physicians and patients in control of managing risk, which benefits their wellness, and your practice.

Understanding the differences between reactive and proactive care, and how to implement an effective technology-based healthcare strategy is critical. Digital healthcare solutions are expanding at an exponential rate. Practices can take proactive steps toward improving their business by implementing these solutions.

Advantages of Proactive Healthcare

A proactive approach to health care is the opposite of reactive care. Many patients now exercise regularly, take recommended medications, manage weight, eat healthy, and schedule annual exams as part of their proactive self-care practices.

The purpose of proactive healthcare initiatives is to involve patients in their choices and address health risks. Rather than waiting for drastic intervention, proactive care helps patients improve their health through lifestyle changes leading many patients to avoid high-cost and often lifesaving treatments like hospitalizations or emergency room visits.

Through early identification of high-risk conditions, health systems can also move toward value-based care. The goal of value-based programs works hand in hand with proactive medicine by improving quality of care while reducing healthcare costs over time, often through increasing patient healthcare literacy and proactive medicine.

A proactive approach to care emphasizes regular communication between health systems and patients, positively impacting the patient experience. Patient outreach can be targeted at specific, well-defined groups of patients and remind them of overdue screenings. This thoughtful approach to patient care demonstrates a practice’s understanding and care for their needs, reinforcing practice loyalty.

Proactive Healthcare Initiatives

For a proactive healthcare model to be effective, patients must be compliant and committed to self-care. Healthcare providers must also co-manage their patients’ health in a partnership preventing and detecting disease early to improve outcomes. Both parties must take an active role in managing and maintaining the patient’s health. By communicating effectively, health systems can reduce the likelihood of certain conditions or improve the quality of life of patients who are already diagnosed.

Overall, proactive health and care can help health practitioners achieve the triple aim: Improving patient experiences, improving population health, and reducing care costs.

Proactive health has other benefits. An increase of five percent in customer retention results in a 25 percent increase in profit for a health system; it typically costs five to twenty times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

With proactive healthcare, patient retention is extended by engaging patients over the course of their lives, which transforms them from potential one-time customers to patients for life.

Using Predictive Modeling to Motivate Patients

Although doctors can encourage patients to practice self-care, chronic health conditions can, and will develop. Predictive models play an important role. Patients at risk of certain future conditions can be identified using these models. A proactive practice can reduce or delay symptoms.

Analyzing patterns, correlations, data, and predictive analytics can provide insights for strategic marketing campaigns. Health systems require a data hub, an analytics platform, and digital solutions that aggregate robust and relevant consumer data.

Predictive models can then be created with statistical precision by health marketers with access to comprehensive patient data. Healthcare marketers use predictive modeling, allowing for demographic, and lifestyle variables. This identifies patients who are likely to require certain future care. Marketing can then target groups of highly relevant patients with tailored communication through predictive modeling. Patients with similar ages, demographics, and lifestyles are likely to respond to proactive health initiatives that target their interests. Marketing messages should be highly personalized for each audience. A predictive model refines a list of target prospects to allow highly relevant communication to reach the right audience.

Communication can guide patients toward scheduling an appointment to learn if they are at risk for certain conditions and need proactive care, as well as sharing tips for reducing genetic risks or preparing for them. The quality of patient interactions can be improved when engagement centers have access to a complete patient profile. Whether they want to schedule an appointment or request more information, patients are increasingly communicating through online patient portals. Communicating can reduce existing risks and even prepare for testing procedures by sharing best practices.

Proactive Medicine is Beneficial

In addition to lowering overall healthcare costs, proactive health initiatives can also cut chronic illness-related costs. In chronic disease patients, effective communication can reduce the likelihood of complications and improve quality of life.

Personalized communication can improve patient satisfaction and engagement, as well as encouraging patients to take care of themselves. The triple aim of proactive health and proactive care is to improve patient experiences, increase population health, and reduce healthcare costs.

Proactive health has another major benefit of improved patient retention. It costs 25 times more to attract a new patient than to retain an existing one, and a 25 percent increase in customer retention produces a 25 percent increase in profit.

Patients who are more involved in their healthcare increase retention rates and free people to only see their physicians on occasion, instead of being a chronic patient for life.

Virtual OfficeWare Healthcare Solutions not only provides solutions that inspire proactive care, but also, supports reactive care methods, helping you to maximize your practice’s full potential. Contact us today for more information.