December 19, 2014

Are you in control?

remoteWe all want to be in control, it’s our natural instinct.  But, as employers, how much control do you really have over healthcare cost, quality, access, outcomes, etc.?   Usually, not a lot.  But, we encourage you to read an article in the LA Times by Noam Levey entitled, Unequal Treatment:  Where Employers Use Quality Control to Shape Healthcare.  This article isn’t just well written, it is informative, specific and gives one hope that we can regain some of the control that has been lost when it comes to our interactions with the healthcare system.

The article details how employers have collaborated with specific healthcare systems in Seattle and elsewhere in the state of Washington to bring their own demands and their own standards/techniques to hospitals and outpatient clinics run by them.  These systems (like Virginia Mason in Seattle or UW Medicine or Swedish Health Services) are actually talking to employers (like Boeing), working directly with them to incorporate their high standards for precision, reduction in waste, and quality into the processes and procedures used to care for their employees.  The outcomes – better, faster, cheaper, more consistent.

While the article also points out that having 80,000 workers in a state (like Boeing does) makes this easier, we don’t think that you should give up without trying to work with your local health system to produce similar results.  After all, it doesn’t just benefit you and your employees, it benefits the system through higher throughput, lower costs and improved patient satisfaction (to say nothing of better outcomes for reporting on all these new government websites)!

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