The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.


Smart Use of Urgent Care Helps Consumers, Providers, and Payers Win

By Truven Staff
Linda MacCracken imageConsumers – people like us, our parents, and our children – , making healthcare difficult to obtain. When you can take three vacations in the time that you’ll wait to see a doctor, something is really wrong. The magic of the Internet – online Skype appointments and iPhone diagnostics – lacks assurance that something dire hasn’t been missed. This is why doctors train, get credentialed, and ‘practice.’

Providers with smart, extended footprints are doing more. Our data shows that over the next five years, demand for after-hours care in some markets can grow 35%, versus a 22% demand growth for overall Emergency Department (ED) care. The newly insured’s younger enrollees – those under 35 – will use the ED twice as often as when they were uninsured. Nationally, 62% of ED visits are urgent, suggesting that at least one in three can be seen elsewhere.  

Payers are concerned that 70% of ED visits are avoidable, and they can save the $1100/visit by redirecting ED patients to lower-cost sites, such as urgent care centers. Urgent care is right for patient demand, good for the provider access, and effective for payers seeking to contain costs.

and improve patient experience calls for delivering the right service, in the right market, with the right access.

Linda MacCracken
VP, Advisory Services

The Role of Healthcare Consumer Engagement in the Transition to Value-Based Care

By Truven Staff
Linda MacCracken imageProviders focused on patient-centered medical care are setting up continuous touchpoints in care episodes and care experiences, and this engagement is reaping strong benefits of increased revenue, boosted loyalty, and reduced leakage.

With an increasingly complex and competitive provider landscape, consumers face more complex choices. More and more, consumers are making particular provider selections as a result of high deductible and copay amounts, as well as limited networks driven by their selection of lower-cost health plans. Physician referrals are becoming more health system-contained, and patient education initiatives from payers, providers, and suppliers are becoming more important.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) also promotes consolidated, integrated care by guiding patients through the care process via medical homes and utilizing electronic health records (EHRs) to provide a view of care throughout the care continuum. At the same time, effective readmission reduction has reduced admissions enough to require growth strategies to back fill volumes, often through provider consolidation. The increase in the newly insured will help fuel growth, too, once expanded Medicaid and Exchange access begin to drive demand.

All of these changes call for providers to focus on patient engagement in new ways in order to reduce volume detractors and better direct new volume demand.

How can hospital marketers get started?
  1. Engage consumers and persuade them to obtain condition-related preventive care to comply with health-related practices.
  2. Encourage patients to choose the right site of care for optimal care management.
  3. Help patients learn and be directed to appropriate pre- and post-acute care services within a single episode.
  4. Increase care coordination by providing information on related service lines.
  5. Provide ongoing information about recommended care via a primary care provider or medical home.

Linda MacCracken
Vice President, Advisory Services