Recognize Patient Care Gaps to Improve Care

Make your practice better by identifying gaps in care and correcting them

Patient Care Gaps

The Problem of Care Gaps

Even practitioners with the best intentions may not always have the capacity to deliver the most up-to-date evidence-based care to their patients. The difference between care that ideally uses all best practices to optimize treatment and the actual care patients receive is the care gap. Recognizing that these gaps exist allows you to efficiently identify how your practice can improve to give all your patients high-quality care.

Why Patient Care Gaps Happen

Gaps in patient care may occur from miscommunication between members of a treatment team or delayed communications.

Gaps in information exchange occur more frequently than you might think. According to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, 32 percent of patients who saw a physician within the previous 12 months before the start of the study experienced a communication gap that impacted their care. Types of problems reported included needing to redo tests due to lost results, repeating medical histories due to a provider not finding the patient’s chart, waiting longer than expected for test results, and bringing physical copies of test results to an appointment.

These problems delay appropriate patient care, waste time and money, and possibly worsen patient outcomes in some instances.

Why Patient Care Gpas

Care Gap Analysis as Part of Population Health Monitoring

Population health works to improve patient care across a group. Multiple metrics contribute to the data required for analyzing the health of a population. Your practice should have a population health manager who examines data collected by various modules.

Care cap analysis offers one way to examine population health. Other modules available are chronic care management (CCM) and clinical quality measures (CQM). The former helps to ensure that patients with chronic conditions receive quality care and support for self-management of their conditions. The latter module aids your practice in optimizing care for all.

Analyzing the health of your patient population makes finding areas for improving care, practice efficiency, and finances simpler. With population health monitoring, you can become a more efficient, effective practice.

Why Track Clinical Quality Measures?

Patient care gaps impact your practice and outcomes for your patients. Modules that gather data and analyze your patients’ care will help you find and fill gaps in care. Consequently, your patients have more complete care, and your practice will gain financial and time savings benefits.

Patients should have continuous, consistent care, even if they have a team of providers across multiple facilities. Finding and closing care gaps can improve treatment for these patients.

Patients who have clear communication with their providers receive better care overall. They feel informed about their condition and treatment plan and can take active roles in their care between clinic visits. In fact, patients who feel more involved in their care have better overall outcomes, as multiple studies have shown over time.

Patient care is the heart of the medical profession. Closing care gaps lets you focus on bettering treatment methods and plans for your patients. Finding simple ways to improve care for all patients makes your practice more efficient.

One way to close gaps in care is by scheduling one in-person appointment with each patient annually. This face-to-face care ensures that patients have the chance to discuss their health and for you to reduce care gaps in their treatment.

As you close the care gaps with your patients, you’ll also improve population health. Regular care touches upon the main drivers of population health:

  • Better health of those within a population
  • Improved experiences of health care for each patient
  • Lower per capita cost of care

Patients with better care require lower expenditures for their health care and improve the overall health of their population cohort. Closing care gaps helps all your patients from a population health perspective.

Third-party payers, such as Medicare or Medicaid, need clear, fast communications about patient care. Using digital tools that collect and securely share data with these payers reduces the time for reimbursements compared to filing paperwork. Plus, the digital formats for submitted information do not have issues with unreadable handwritten notes or signatures.

Closing care gaps and monitoring population health metrics will become the standards for care reimbursement in the future. The trend started by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will likely expand to private insurance companies. Taking charge now to collect and use population health data effectively will keep your practice ready for the future and faster reimbursements today.

Patient care gaps often happen when individuals go too long between visits to providers or from communication problems between doctors. Closing these gaps ensures that patients maintain regular appointments with you and their other providers. Plus, the chances of lost information and redoing tests decrease when you close communication gaps.

With more consistency in your patients’ schedules and reductions in time-wasting test repeats, your practice will save time and uncover a steady source of income.

When you find care gaps, you may need to offer additional services to your patients. These provide you with a new revenue source that doesn’t require your practice to add new patients. Consistent income can allow your practice to grow financially, allowing you to focus your efforts less on making ends meet and more on improving patient care.

Unlock Tools to Examine Population Health Within Your Practice

Your patients deserve quality care that follows best practices. Improve your practice operations to optimize their care by identifying care gaps. With data analysis tools to spot these gaps, your practice will have ways to improve care delivery and optimize finances. Learn more about how care gap analysis modules and other population health tools can help you to offer your patients evidence-based, quality care.