Healthcare costs have been rising over the decades, and if left unchecked, this trend could result in an unsustainable health care system, unable to deliver adequate and equitable access to care for all. As it is, The Commonwealth Fund reports that the United States has the highest annual per capita health expenditure compared to the rest of the world.
The figure? An average of $11,172 in 2018 alone, which amounts to a 4.2 to 5.8 percent jump within a five-year period.
Effective healthcare cost containment strategies are crucial now more than ever in the face of skyrocketing healthcare spending.
What is Healthcare Cost Containment?
Healthcare cost containment is defined as reducing the level or rate of increase in health care costs. Cost containment efforts must strike a fine balance so as not be at the expense of quality of care and patient outcomes.
3 Cost Containment Strategies in Healthcare for Immediate Impact
Effective health care cost containment requires a robust strategy, leveraging multiple interventions to impact outcomes. Among those strategies include the targeted cutting down of wasteful spending, continued shift from volume to value-based care, and the growing use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring to deliver care, among others.
1. Cut Down on Wasteful Spending
Wasteful spending is largely the result of fragmentation and failures in the health care system. Many of these failures include unwarranted variation in care delivery; fragmented transitions of care; pricing inconsistencies; limited patient awareness and engagement in decision making; over-treatment or low value care; and fraud, waste, and abuse.
Tackling wasteful spending requires a multi-pronged approach targeted at the various root causes. Payers have focused their cost containment efforts through innovative Alternative Payment Models (APM), a push towards price transparency, population health management strategies, and a growing opportunity to optimize care delivery through new and promising channels such as telehealth and remote patient monitoring.
2. Continued Shift from Volume-Based to Value-Based Care
With the growing transition from volume to value-based care, clinical outcomes are a main focus area for cost containment. A greater emphasis on delivering quality versus quantity leads to improved patient outcomes and reduces avoidable costly complications and hospitalizations.
Healthcare payers can gain insights for improved population health management by analyzing valuable biometric data, medication adherence, follow-up appointments, risk factors, and more. By using this data, healthcare payers can make informed decisions around care plans that could help manage rising costs. Telehealth services enable payers to access these types of data, particularly in between doctor visits.
3. Introduce a Telehealth Program
Telehealth has become an important opportunity for healthcare providers to accelerate the utility and impact of digital-based care delivery models. Patient interaction can be conducted virtually instead of face-to-face, lowering much of the healthcare costs associated with in-person visits and travel time, without compromising care quality.
This is especially beneficial for those in rural settings or experiencing socio-economic barriers such as limited access to transportation. Telehealth providers are able to improve their response times and respond to more patients within the same timeframe. Finally, in remote patient monitoring, patients become more engaged in their own self management and consequently achieve better chronic care management.
Case Study: Chronic Care Management Telehealth Program Saves Health System $5.1M
Frederick Health partnered with Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) to provide chronic care management (CCM) patients with a comprehensive telehealth solution. The solution allows the CCM clinical team to monitor patient vitals and medication adherence, provide disease-specific education to patients, and improve patient-clinical communication.
A centralized program structure, with a telehealth team, allows Frederick Health to easily prioritize at risk patients and gain the following results:
- $5,097,678 Total Cost Savings Enrolling for Over 250 Patients
- 83% Reduction in 30-day Hospital Readmissions
- 50% Reduction in Emergency Department Visits
Learn More About How Our Telehealth Solutions Help With Healthcare Cost Containment
A comprehensive telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) solution can help healthcare payers tackle the challenge of rising healthcare costs. Learn more about how to get started with a telehealth solution today.