How to Lower Your Healthcare Costs with Activate Healthcare
One of America’s biggest challenges is the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. According to World Bank data from 2014, healthcare expenditures in the United States accounted for 17.1 percent of the gross domestic product – higher than any other industrialized country. If the current rate of increase continues, healthcare costs will exceed 50 percent of GDP in just 30 years.
Proposed solutions range from overhauling the current system to doing away with it completely. But regardless of where you stand on the issue, neither will happen overnight. The Activate Healthcare model works within the current healthcare system and has been proven to lower healthcare expenditures by more than 20 percent for the organizations we serve.
Making Primary Care More Accessible
America’s healthcare system is set up differently from many countries — the most glaring difference being that we have a private pay model as opposed to government-paid care. But there’s another, more subtle difference that causes problems but does not garner as many headlines: a lack of primary care options.
In her New York Times op-ed piece, “What Spain Gets Right on Health Care,” Carolyn McClanahan, MD, blames America’s shortage of primary care providers on two factors: the exorbitant cost of medical education, and an insurance reimbursement structure that makes it more lucrative for medical professionals to become specialists instead of primary care providers.
This is important because, as she goes on to say, “Countries that provide good primary care have better health outcomes and lower costs because they provide efficient care of common and chronic illnesses.” Caring for common and chronic illnesses is fundamental to the Activate Healthcare approach.
Creating a Culture of Health
By proximity alone, Activate Healthcare on-site and near-site clinics make primary care more accessible to members of the organizations we serve. But that is only part of the solution. Finding ways to inspire individuals to take an active role in their health and well-being is just as important. Patient activation is central to achieving a healthier population — and a healthier workforce costs less to insure — but it requires a cultural shift in the patient community.
Creating a culture of health cannot be done through a break room poster or company email. Taking control of one’s health is a personal choice, so the motivation has to happen on a personal level. That’s why we thoughtfully and purposely staff our clinics with care providers who know the value of building strong patient-provider relationships. Part of that means choosing providers who complement the communities they serve. For instance, if an organization has a high percentage of members who speak Spanish, we ensure their clinic has a qualified translator or bilingual care providers on staff.
Similarly, if organization members have a high percentage of a particular health challenge — repetitive-motion injuries, for instance — we ensure our service offerings and providers are well equipped to address those specific needs.
Following Through and Maintaining Momentum
Opening an Activate Healthcare clinic is only the first step in an ongoing process to foster a culture of health and wellness within an organization. Implementing organization-wide health and wellness programs and activities helps members stay engaged to become healthier. These offerings range from physician-led walking clubs to free health screenings — and a variety of other organization-specific initiatives that incentivize individuals to stay on top of their personal health.
We have seen it time and time again: Once individuals experience the advantages of convenient, accessible primary care and close relationships with their doctors, morale increases, productivity goes up, and organizational healthcare costs go down.