Continuing trends of healthcare worker shortages and a growing Medicare population with multiple high-touch care needs have created a “perfect storm” looking to the next ten years in the Medicare landscape.
Solutions, policy, and technologies that address a growing gap between patient needs and population health capabilities will be critical in the next few years as patient preferences continue to evolve.
The Medicare population is becoming starkly segmented as patients age with different preferences, abilities, and relationships with health technology.
Digital population health tools will continue to be critical to manage care at scale in an already overwhelmed system and these innovations require connectivity, access and reimbursement. Health leaders will be faced with demand for greater personalization with fewer resources.
Drivers of Change in the Medicare Landscape
To address the evolving landscape of healthcare, it has become imperative to require digital intervention for improved population health outcomes. The three primary drivers of change in the Medicare landscape, include:
- A reduction in healthcare workers in the workforce
- A changing patient population that engages with care differently but maintains a high-rate of multiple chronic conditions
- A reduced capability as a system to ensure preventative care measures are taken with an increasing number of patients with multiple chronic conditions.
The Continuing Trend of Staffing Shortages
The healthcare industry is facing significant challenges, with a continuing trend of staffing shortages.
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a shortage of more than 1 million nurses in 2023¹
- Anticipated gap of 3 million low-wage caregivers by 2025¹
- 20% of doctors say they are planning to leave their clinical practice¹
The Broad Spectrum of Medicare Patient Preferences
“Trailing-edge” Boomers are aging into Medicare at a rate of 11,000 patients per day, but their preferences differ greatly from older patients. Trailing-edge Boomers:
- Actively use social media, shop online, and engage in video chat,²
- Use smartphones compared to just 20% of people over 65 in 2013,³
- Use health technology and are open to using home health technology like remote patient monitoring⁴.
Balancing High-Tech Solutions with Human Touch
Medicare patients will continue to need high-touch care for multiple chronic conditions, but providers will have to adapt to deliver care at scale. The demand to meet patients where they are becomes more complex as patient willingness, access, and ability to engage at home becomes more segmented.
Technology powered by human touch, and solutions for equitable access and exchange of data allows for scalability without sacrificing personalized care. Providers will need to rapidly adopt and adapt to ensure their technology partners can support diverse needs.
A balance of high-tech and human-touch includes identifying which patients are likely to engage with two-way texting versus direct phone calls, ensuring disease education materials match where the patient is in their journey, and maintaining a human connection even while using health technology.
The growth trajectory of Medicare patients with multiple chronic conditions is stark, growing by almost 20 million by 2030.
Without investments, incentives and creative solutions driven by governmental and private entities to address the growing gap between the needs of the population and the capabilities of the healthcare system, the U.S. is positioned for further disparity in health equity, outcomes, and strained emergency departments.
Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), rural health centers (RHCs), and others accustomed to serving large Medicare patient populations have lead the way in innovation. But they will need to continue to adopt new solutions as Medicare patients become more segmented in their preferences for care.
With limited staffing and resources many community health centers have led adoption of population health technology, and digital health solutions for Chronic Care Management and Remote Patient Monitoring.
Providers should be empowered and prepared by their technology partners to engage patients digitally and support the need for disease management, gaps in care, and preventative measures between office visits.
Trailing-edge Boomers and their preferences, lifestyle, and overall health are different than Leading-edge boomers. The need for segmentation strategies will become even more significant as the Medicare patient persona shifts.
Addressing the Growing Challenge of Chronic Condition Management in Medicare
There were about 63 million Medicare beneficiaries in 2019 with an anticipated growth to 80 million beneficiaries by 2030. The prevalence of patients with multiple chronic conditions continues to be at about 66%, with more differences among younger Boomers.
Trailing-edge Boomers have higher rates of obesity and diabetes than the leading-edge Boomers⁵. Finding scalable ways to support chronic condition management and reduce the burden on a strained healthcare system will require technology to manage and prioritize patient care between office visits.
To “meet patients where they are” means something different for trailing-end boomers as their preferences for receiving care, their engagement with providers, and their relationship to care will continue to shift as shaped by advances and adoption of technology. This underscores the importance of healthcare providers adapting to these changing dynamics to provide effective and patient-centered care.
TimeDoc Health’s tech-enabled services combine an integrated, easy-to-use platform with an efficient care coordination deployment model that supports managing outcomes and cost of care at scale.
As rates of diabetes among Medicare patients rise, finding ways to effectively and efficiently coordinate care, provide preventative care, adequate patient education, and promotion of patient self-management is critical.
An assessment of preventive care measures taken for patients with diabetes showed that patients with >8 appointments per year in which the patient’s primary concern is “low priority” (“low priority” conditions or complaints are conditions for which management is not likely to reduce morbidity or mortality) are less likely to receive preventive care services.⁶
Enhancing Patient Care Through Tech-Enabled Services and Efficient Care Coordination
TimeDoc Health’s Virtual Care Management solution combining Chronic Care Management and Remote Patient Monitoring technology can tip the scale—with care coordination, low acuity concerns can be addressed outside of the office leaving more time for providers to address preventative care in the office.
Tech-enabled services helps connect the dots, creating a care community around the patient as an extension of the provider’s office while ensuring relevant and timely patient data is provided to EHR systems via Remote Patient Monitoring. A combination of intuitive technology and hightouch patient coordination allows providers to impact outcomes at scale and get time back.
TimeDoc Health limits the burden on practices to recruit, hire, and train staff for Chronic Care Management and Remote Patient Monitoring with an outsourced care coordination model.
Providers can ensure patients receive impactful care coordination services with a flexible staffing model that ensures trained care coordination professionals are providing the best patient experience on their behalf.
With dedicated coordination and enrollment, TimeDoc Health’s chronic care programs operate with efficiency and connectivity so provider partners can maximize reimbursement and keep a pulse on patient care between office visits.
Now There’s Time For Everyone
TimeDoc Health has partnered with hundreds of healthcare organizations to deliver care management programs at scale, according to best practices, and supported by proven technology. We have developed best-in-class solutions intentionally designed for integrated, virtual care.