In early May, in the wake of the first surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitals across the country began to open back up. Elective surgeries that had been delayed could now be rescheduled. Critical routine checkups could once again become routine.
The return to healthcare is ongoing, but has yet to resemble anything routine. Healthcare providers and employers are facing a new population health challenge – ensuring their communities receive the care they need, even amid a pandemic.
Real-World Strategies for Patient and Employee Re-engagement
Our four-episode webinar series, Re-Engaging Patients and Employees Post COVID-19, offers insights on post-pandemic population health and mental wellness management. Featuring perspectives from the healthcare industry, large employers, and healthcare advocates, the discussions take a closer look at the opportunities and challenges of adapting to the current environment. That adaptability accelerated the pace of change for both providers and consumers, as in the case of widespread usage of virtual care to re-engage safely and effectively.
Setting the Stage: A Need to Re-engage
While hospitals have reopened their doors, patient volume has remained below pre-pandemic levels. Across the population, people are facing a series of new barriers and biases to seeking out critical care. Providers managing a constant flow of coronavirus patients must now manage the resulting reality:
COVID-19 has enhanced cognitive barriers concerning the return to healthcare.
Between April and June, data collected by two separate facilities in Massachusetts and New York revealed a drop in heart attack patients. One physician interviewed noted people did not miraculously quit having heart attacks; he suspects people are instead seeking care in other settings, which may not be equipped to properly treat even the mildest of cardiac issues.
Along with COVID-19, work-life changes have also led to an increasingly stressed workforce population while millions have lost their health coverage due to unemployment. Those still covered may be unsure as to what healthcare services and alternatives are available to them. Many employers already struggled to engage employees effectively with mental health services and must now account for the cumulative impact of the past five months on their employees physical and mental well-being.
Episode 1 – How Virtual Care is Changing the Patient Experience
For many, social distancing has led to medical distancing and has created uncertainty around when and how to seek care. In our first episode, Chandra Osborn, Ph.D., MPH, and Lirio’s Chief Behavioral Officer, speaks with Tonya Durant, a practicing physician with TeamHealth, and Kelly Kunik, a well-known patient voice and advocate for people with diabetes, about the early impact on patient experience.
Their discussion highlights the significant role telehealth is playing in helping patients at high risk for COVID-19 continue to safely manage their mental and physical health. They address the considerations of transitioning care to a virtual space and what positive patient experiences mean for the future of population health.
Episode 2 – How Virtual Care Changes Population Health Management
Taking a deeper dive into the rapid expansion of virtual care, the second episode of the webinar series features Ann Mond Johnson, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association.
Speaking with Lirio COO Marten den Haring, Johnson discusses the seismic shift in telehealth perceptions during COVID-19 in both providers and patients. With many systems relying on telehealth to rapidly scale response and maintain engagement, focus is shifting to its still-untapped potential as a care modality for people-centric care delivery. A look at the data shows how virtual care is vital for improving access in ways that do not diminish, but rather support a positive patient experience.
“We have to use technology as more than just a visit replacement.”
– Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, ATA
Episode 3 – Achieving Population Health Targets in a COVID-Adjusted Timeline
A recurring theme in the series is the essential role of patient engagement as a pillar of population health. The third episode offers a real-world perspective into how a large healthcare system is working to meet their population health targets in a COVID-shortened runway with a focus on individualizing patient engagement.
Lirio’s Osborn is joined by Dr. Erin Fries, Chief Medical Officer – Population Health, and Justin McGoldrick, Chief Clinical Research & Innovation Officer, at Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH). Fries and McGoldrick share BSMH’s emphasis on listening and communicating with empathy to identify and close gaps for their patients, particularly with regard to their current situation and needs. They discuss the process to adapt their strategy in order to achieve a one-on-one communication that resonates with patients where they are now for reassurance and re-engagement.
“Patient engagement is wanted now more than ever. This is the time that we really have to listen to what our patients and what our communities are telling us, and we need to be there for them in a way that resonates with them; that acknowledges that not everyone has the same perspectives about healthcare that they did four months ago.”
– Dr. Erin Fries, Chief Medical Officer – Population Health, Bon Secours Mercy Health
Episode 4 – Sustaining Employee Health & Engagement in the Post-Pandemic Reopening
Our final episode offers an employer’s perspective on what it takes to re-engage people with health and wellness in a workplace transformed by COVID-19.
Clayton Homes has built a world-class wellness program for their thousands of employees nationwide. In this episode, Eric Evans, VP, Corporate Human Resources at Clayton Homes and Lirio CRO Michael Becker discuss the challenges of communicating with and supporting employees in the midst of heightened levels of stress and anxiety. Evans shares lessons learned on reducing mental health stigma, the disconnect between incentives and a wellness culture, and the critical role of empathy in helping your employees be present.
“There’s no silver bullet for wellness…we’re getting individuals to reach their ‘aha’ moment and help them take action when they’re ready.”
– Eric Evans, VP, Corporate Human Resources, Clayton Homes
Redefine Re-engagement with Lirio
The only safe bet for the future is that it will be significantly different. While that includes many new barriers to overcome, it also presents opportunities to rethink standard approaches to care and continue the transition to value-based care. The focus on population health has only increased, especially in areas that are underserved, making this period of re-engagement critical.
Lirio is working with healthcare systems and employers to effectively communicate the importance of health and wellness to their communities. Through behavior change AI, we create hyper-personalized messaging that addresses cognitive barriers to action and deploy these messages at scale to move people to action.
To learn more about how Lirio supports patient and employee re-engagement, listen to one of our webinars or contact our team for more information.
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