The healthcare sector is changing. It is becoming more accountable for its services, and provides higher quality care at lower costs. The industry is also all set for a transformation into personalised medicine. This means that the diagnosis and treatments will be tailored to the individual patient’s predicted response and risk of disease.
One of the methods being adopted for this change is clinical integration.
What is clinical integration?
Clinical integration has many definitions. However, the American Medical Association (AMA) defines it as “the means to facilitate the coordination of patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time in order to achieve care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-focused.
This means that hospitals and smaller healthcare organizations are to coordinate across settings and conditions to increase the total coverage and improve efficiency and effectiveness of care. They also have to promote innovation and reduce/ control costs of treatments.
Clinical integration helps physicians provide better care, improve their knowledge and skills, and communicate with each other about the latest and best practices in different fields of medicine. Moreover, clinical integration also enables patients with chronic conditions to receive care across settings. This could be from hospitals, ambulances, clinics or at home.
Another way clinical integration helps patients is by ensuring that they can avoid repetitive diagnostic tests, and negative prescription drug interactions. They also stop patients from receiving conflicting care plans. Tools like electronic health records (EHR) make the process of clinical integration a lot easier.
Additional Read: Ten reasons why doctors should consider going digital
Implementing clinical integration
Remember, clinical integration starts with compiling and sorting through data. You need technology and human resources to effectively analyse the data and put it to good use. It involves a large network of healthcare professionals working together, using protocols and measures to improve their services and make them more cost-effective.
Once a value proposition has been made, the network can approach sponsors (payors and large employers) to support them and their incentives to achieve defined results. It is important that clinical integration networks be physician-led, professionally managed organisations, for them to be successful.
Costs can increase here, with the average salary per year for a data analyst starting at Rs. 3 lakh. Bajaj Finserv Business Loan for Doctors give you the financial muscle for implementing clinical integration. All you have to do is provide your basic information and you receive pre-approved offers on your loan so that you can access money without applying for it.
According to the FTC, if a clinical network performs the following three functions, it will be considered clinically integrated:
- Establishes cost effective, high quality mechanisms to monitor and control utilisation of healthcare services
- Adds to their network, carefully chosen physicians, who will improve and further the efficiency objectives
- Builds the infrastructure to provide efficient care using significant capital, whether monetary or human
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