Holistic Care is Revolutionizing the Healthcare Industry

Find out how Holistic Care teams are benefiting the U.S. Healthcare Sector through rapid Job Growth and System Reformation

Holistic Care teams are looking to shake up the U.S. Healthcare system. Currently, the U.S. Healthcare system is the most costly per capita — around two times higher than the U.K. and Australia, with chronic diseases, including: diabetes and heart disease. These diseases represent greater than 75 percent of healthcare spending. Unfortunately, the quality of care Americans receive is becoming progressively unequal and is growing increasingly dependent on factors such as salaries and where they live.

New Healthcare policy strategies are being proposed. Unfortunately, these proposals merely move increasing expenses around the framework — dancing around the main issue of this multi-trillion dollar situation. One possible move in the right direction would be to make health insurance more affordable by removing the separation between what patients require so as to improve their wellbeing and what they really get from the existing healthcare system, which regularly tries to increase visitations and transactions instead of one’s wellbeing.

Fortunately, positive news has arrived in the form of a viable plan of action. They’re called Holistic Care Teams, and their goal is to bring down expenses while boosting an individual’s well-being in simply and effective ways. These teams are so effective and important because they not only provide a source for new jobs, but because they also begin to reform a broken system. Even better, there are now steps current lawmakers could take to provide the healthcare system with more Holistic Care teams. These steps could pose as a possible solution to revitalizing the United States’ current healthcare system.

Where disruptive solutions are Flourishing

A closeup on an adult hand holding a child's hands.

Even with the primary care shortage, individuals still have health related questions for their primary care doctor.

To effectively change the United States Healthcare System, we must first begin with the question: How do we enhance the long-term health of an individual, while also bringing down overall cost? Here is where Primary Care comes into play. Studies have determined that areas of the United States with a high population of primary care doctors have a better overall life expectancy. Additionally, mortality rates from premature death or stroke are also significantly reduced.

However, there is a current shortage of primary care specialists in the United States. This is prompting an average wait time of 24 days to arrange for an appointment, while visits from a specialist is down to 15 minutes or less. Even still, individuals still have health related questions for their primary care doctor. Am I getting enough rest? What sort of diet is right for my body type? What signs tell me that my overall health is improving? Additionally, serious chronic health conditions may lie just below the surface. For example, around 50 percent of patients who show sings of depression do not talk to their primary care specialist about it, or seek assistance.

How Holistic Care teams can pause, reverse and positively effect Primary Care

A stethoscope and a pen lying on a Doctor's report from a Holistic Care team.

Holistic Care team’s Health Coaches follow up with patients and take part in constant conversation to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Realizing this gap in the healthcare market, businesses such as: Iora Health, Oak Street, Omada, Docent, ChenMed, WellMed, Landmark Health, and Aledade are making a statement in the healthcare industry with Holistic Care Teams. These teams include a primary care specialist, a behavioral health specialist, nurses, and a dietician. These teams are all backed by technology used to track a patient’s health. More importantly, the Holistic Care Teams are backed by health coaches who do things that specialists ordinarily don’t — and at much lower cost than they ever could.

This is how disruption works in the healthcare industry, which normally starts with cut-rate performance along traditional boundaries. In this situation, health coaches seem sub-par since they have no formal clinical training and, as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, make average pay of $21 every hour. However, the care team model stands out in various ways. One example includes Holistic Care Teams advising consumers on how to take their wellbeing into their own hands. Health coaches follow up with patients and take part in constant conversation. These coaches are hired because of their compassion and desired involvement in taking care of issues for consumers so as to propel their health journeys.

The first health coach, contracted by Iora Health, previously worked at a Home Depot store. The Boston-based organization has shaped partnerships with insures such as Humana, and now operates three dozen care practices in eleven states serving more than 40,000 patients. The model for Holistic Care Teams not only saves money, but makes sense. Iora points to a recent study indicating hospitalizations are 37 percent lower, and healthcare spending is 12 percent lower than with a control group utilizing a more traditional healthcare system.

Setting the right context for Disruption

A woman from a Holistic Care team holds a senior's wrist in comfort.

The primary advantage of Holistic Care Teams is a progression of week by week, hour-long upkeep sessions with individuals led by a health coach.

However, Holistic Care Teams do require an upfront investment and need to occur on a more extensive scale. This is where public-private ownerships, such as Medicare Advantage, lay the foundation for disrupting the current healthcare system. They are providing consumers with a way to pay for Holistic Care teams. Medicare Advantage is a popular direct-to-purchaser model of healthcare for seniors. With enrollment dramatically increasing to around 17 million over the previous decade, it now represents 30 percent of the aggregate Medicare populace. A 2016 JD Power study claims that individuals scored the program at 790 on a 1,000 point scale, altogether higher than the 679 satisfaction rating among commercial healthcare plans. Kaiser Permanente’s variant of the program received a score of 851. This incredible, satisfied patient pool is spurring vast scale experimentation and advancement, which can be coordinated toward all encompassing Holistic Care teams.

For instance, one pilot program called the Diabetes Prevention Program has saved Medicare an expected $2,650 per recipient over a 15-month time span. This was achieved by helping patients lose an average of 5 percent of their body weight, simply by eating healthier and getting more exercise. Altogether, this significantly reduced their patient’s risk of developing a disease.This is achieved through primary care groups, hospitals, and at alternative settings such as tele-health networks and YMCAs. The primary advantage is a progression of week by week, hour-long upkeep sessions with individuals from a Holistic Care team led by a health coach. More individuals in Medicare Advantage and similar programs could mean more chances to create innovative healthcare programs that are effective.

How to Encourage Growth of Holistic Care Teams

A gavel lying on a Judge's table as it awaits a ruling on Holistic Care Teams.

A step in the right direction for healthcare would be to add Holistic Care Teams. This will serve consumers better, reduce costs, and create new jobs, all at once.

While some in Washington continue to insist on moving increasing expenses around, The Hill advocates stepping back and observing the major objective of bringing down expenses by improving health. To address the difficulty, they have proposed four policy changes:

  • Continue incentivizing the shift away from fee-for-service payments toward value-based care, to meet the CMS goal of 50 percent value-based payments for Medicare by 2018.
  • Increase funding for health coach training, which is expected to become one of the fastest-growing job categories — with more than 120,000 coaches in the field now and with openings increasing at double the rate of the average job category, according to the BLS.
  • Increase funding to scale the Diabetes Prevention Program and other pilots that have proven to save substantial costs by averting disease.
  • Gradually lower the enrollment age for Medicare Advantage from 65 down to 55 in order to have more time to make investments in wellness and prevention that can pay off.

If implemented together, these proposals would encourage a more Holistic approach to dealing with one’s overall health. Current results show that these investments would be recovered via cost savings. Like any other industry, healthcare must be improved upon from time-to-time. A step in the right direction would be to serve consumers better, reduce costs, and create new jobs, all at once.


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