Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT) has expanded its Improving the Patient Experience toolkit for its contracted providers in three new markets. Piloted first in California in 2010, the insurer now offers the toolkit in Arizona, Oregon and Washington.
“The toolkit was developed by physicians for physicians to help improve patients’ access to care, care coordination and communication with their physicians,” said Neil A. Solomon, MD, FACP, vice president and chief medical director for Health Net. “Research shows that high patient satisfaction with a physician is linked to better health outcomes.”
The toolkit is adapted from A Quick Reference Guide: Improving the Patient Experience, developed by the California Quality Collaborative (CQC), with each section of the toolkit including best practices and supporting tools and resources.
“We believe that the toolkits have been effective in helping our contracting medical groups in California improve their experiences with their patients,” said Elaine Robinson-Frank, director of Quality Improvement at Health Net. “We are pleased to introduce these concepts to health care providers beyond California.”
An Evidence-based Approach
“The physician-patient relationship is at the heart of the patient experience,” said Giovanna Giuliani, senior manager at the CQC. “Research shows there are five key elements of the care experience that are highly valued by patients. We want to help doctors and their staff understand these elements and how to deliver on them.” The five key drivers are as follows:
1. Satisfaction with physician
2. Ability to see primary care physician
a. Appointment – days wait for an appointment
b. Telephone – time on phone to schedule appointment
4. Ease of seeing a specialist
5. Helpful staff
“Our physicians have seen a difference in their interactions with their patients by using the toolkit,” said Vicki Medlen, director of Quality Improvement at North American Medical Management. “For example, by using the agenda-setting tool, the office staff has been able to provide input for the physicians on how to implement changes.”
The following are just a few recommendations found within the toolkit that can help improve patients’ access to care, care coordination and communication with the physician:
Educate patients on the use of urgent care centers.
Handle more than one medical problem during the visit and extend return visit intervals when appropriate.
- Share information with patients’ other health care providers as appropriate.
- Contact MHN, Health Net’s behavioral health services subsidiary, for questions or assistance with behavioral health services.
The Improving the Patient Experience toolkit also includes the following:
Inserts in the back pocket:
- Patient Agenda-Setting Form (available in English and other languages)
- After-hours sample script (available in English and Spanish)
- Medication card to help patients keep track of medication usage
- Website references and information to access tools for increasing patient satisfaction
Instructions for ordering a CD-ROM featuring:
- Not Sure It’s an Emergency brochure and poster
- Medical/Behavioral Comanagement Referral Form
Contracting physicians can request a DVD that includes physician testimonials on the positive effect that the recommended changes had on their practice and work life. Medical groups and physicians who contract with Health Net in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington may request a toolkit by contacting the Health Net Quality Improvement Department via email at email@example.com.
About Health Net
Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers and administers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. Health Net provides and administers health benefits to approximately 6.0 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as “Part D”), Medicaid, Department of Defense, including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s behavioral health services subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., provides behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs to approximately 5.0 million individuals, including Health Net’s own health plan members.
Health Net’s subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.
For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit Health Net’s website at www.healthnet.com.