Building a Digitally Connected Network: Why Providers Will Like It
June 26, 2019
Health plans often face the challenge of coordinating care across a disparate set of providers. They need to close their members’ gaps in care, and they need to work with the right providers to be able to do that effectively. Unfortunately, this process is riddled with obstacles and complexities that make it very difficult. Health plans can overcome many of the challenges though, by connecting providers with a digital scheduling platform, which streamlines the process. Creating this digitally connected network may seem daunting at first, but contrary to what many believe, you don’t need a large amount of provider partners to get started, nor do you need your entire network connected to create value at scale. All it takes is a few key providers to make big impacts and show value – then growing from there is easier as the evidence mounts. So, how can you get providers on board to be part of that digital network? To put it another way, how do you answer that age-old question – what’s in it for them?
Below are four factors we’ve observed in our work that help providers see this as the Win-Win that it is and join the network.
- Time Savings
Health plans typically have to call provider offices to schedule an appointment for their members. Unfortunately, these calls can take up to twenty minutes or more and are disruptive to the routines of provider staff. By joining a digitally connected network, the burden of taking scheduling calls from health plans will be lifted. Instead, health plans will be able to schedule appointments digitally for their members. Provider staff will be able to easily enter these bookings into pre-determined slots reserved for the health plan. To make sure no slots are wasted, if slots have not been filled by the health plan within 72 hours of the appointment date, those slots will open back up on the provider’s calendar for the practice to be able to fill with regular patient bookings. This is an incredible amount of time saved each day, opening up provider staff to focus their attention on other high value activities.
- A Leg Up on Incentives
Many providers and health plans have pay-for-performance agreements. As part of those agreements, providers must meet certain quality goals set by the health plan, usually for closing gaps in care. When providers join a health plan’s digitally connected network, they are making it easier for the health plan members to get needed care. The health plan will be scheduling appointments for the very patients that the provider needs to see to meet the goals of the P4P agreement. Being a part of the network is a serious leg up on incentives.
- Providers Are Still in Control
Giving health plans access to appointment slots for scheduling doesn’t mean providers are relinquishing control of their day. In fact, it is giving providers more control over what is booked and when. The provider’s previously determined scheduling rules and protocols are automatically included in and applied by MyHealthDirect’s scheduling solution. When the health plan books an appointment for a member, that appointment is only booked according to provider preferences. No surprises, no overbooking, no nonsense.
- It’s Free of Charge
Probably one of the most important details to remember: it costs providers nothing to join your digitally connected network. Our health plan customers typically offer this technology connection at no cost to their provider partners because it is so valuable to the plan’s operations and care gap closure initiatives. That means it is completely free for providers, and in the long run, will actually allow them to earn more (see incentives point above).
While these are the most basic benefits for joining a health plan’s digitally connected network, the improved payer-provider relationship will speak for itself. To learn more about digital care coordination for health plans, download our free guide: