Can Building Relationships Help Engage High-Need Patients?
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High need, high cost patients are receiving much attention these days as “they are among the 5 percent of patients who account for about 50 percent of health care spending, much of it on ineffective or inefficient care.” This adds up to about $120 billion annually. Most in the medical world know that if these patients had more/better avenues for managing their care, it could save a significant amount of money. However, with three or more chronic conditions and functional limitations, as well as other social determinants of health, this is easier said than done.
This article focuses on the use of care coordinators (also known as community health workers) as a way to support high needs patients by “emphasizing relationship-building and focusing more intently on meeting patients’ nonmedical needs outside the doctor’s office.” Care coordinators help patients navigate the complicated health care system and advocate for their clients, who often are not in a position to do so themselves. Medium highlights efforts to bring this type of program to Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
Here in Delaware, a Community Health Workers Subcommittee has been created (as part of DCHI’s Workforce & Education committee) to move Delaware towards implementing community health workers into the Delaware workforce. Between January and June 2017, the committee will complete a final report and set of recommendations for adoption in Delaware, all designed to meet the needs of the ten Healthy Neighborhood regions in Delaware. For more information about the Community Health Workers Subcommittee and other DCHI workforce initiatives, please visit us at http://www.dehealthinnovation.org/.