Healthcare News & Insights

Hospitals forge partnerships to improve patient care

More hospitals are trying to avoid costly unnecessary hospital visits or admissions by creating partnerships with healthcare providers and community organizations specializing in primary care.

491065909One health system headquartered in California, WellSpace Health, was looking to reduce the number of patients who came to the emergency department unnecessarily, as described in an article in the Sacramento Bee.

After realizing that many of these patients were visiting to receive treatment for illnesses better suited to primary care, two hospitals in the health system began partnering with local healthcare providers to send patients with non-life-threatening illnesses to clinics and other treatment centers for care.

The hospitals also began employing patient navigators, who were charged with identifying at-risk hospital patients and directing them toward appropriate resources to give them a hand. Besides helping patients with their health care, navigators also directed patients to programs that provided government housing and cash assistance.

This approach marks a more holistic shift that’s currently taking place in health care. Here, hospitals are taking more time to fully address patients’ physical and psychosocial needs in an attempt to keep them from making multiple costly visits to the hospital. And it’s also done in hopes of freeing up hospital space for patients with more serious conditions.

Resource for help

While you may have a great idea for a collaborative partnership that would benefit patients, funding the project might be challenging. Participating in the BUILD Health Challenge could help jumpstart your efforts.

As part of the BUILD Health Challenge, eligible facilities will receive financial awards for creating community collaborations that focus on maintaining patients’ health in cities with populations above 150,000. This initiative was created to address issues affecting patients’ health that are typically outside of hospitals’ control.

BUILD is an acronym to describe the characteristics the collaborative projects should possess. The initiatives should be:

  • Bold, innovative solutions for common problems
  • Upstream solutions that focus on social, environmental and economic factors affecting health care
  • Integrated solutions with multiple partners, including nonprofits and public health departments
  • Local solutions deeply rooted in the hospital’s community, and
  • Data-driven solutions that are easily measurable and quantified.

Besides grant money for implementing these projects, participating institutions will receive coaching, IT support and advice from networks of population health innovators.

Ideally, participating hospitals would work to provide the surrounding community with resources that residents may not be able to access easily, such as fresh produce and playgrounds for children to stay active and healthy.

If you’re facility is interested in applying or finding out more about the requirements, visit buildhealthchallenge.org. First-round applications are due Jan. 15.

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