February 12, 2016 — Blog Post
One hospital’s successful strategy for advance care planning
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) now cover advance care planning discussions that take place between physicians and Medicare patients. But healthcare organizations are finding that having these conversations and creating advance care planning strategy are not easy things to do.
Why is advance care planning difficult? This is a complex, sensitive topic that requires adequate discussion. But in the real healthcare environment, providers have limited time to spend, particularly on the meaningful, lengthy conversations this requires. Not to mention the topic isn’t one that is comfortable for people to discuss.
But it’s important for healthcare organizations to engage patients in advance care planning, as it can improve patient-provider and patient-family conversations and patient experience.
So organizations need a comprehensive advance care planning strategy that:
- Extends resources to start the thought process and conversation
- Engages with unbiased information, presents all options and covers common questions and misconceptions
- Can be used both inside and outside of the clinical setting
Centura Health, a healthcare network in Colorado and Kansas, takes a three-pronged approach to its advance care planning strategy. James Corbett, senior vice president of community health and values integration at Centura, outlined the strategy in a recent webinar hosted by the Scottsdale Institute:
- Tap into spiritual care associates, such as chaplains. Corbett said these people are already very equipped at having end-of-life discussions with patients.
- Create a process to ensure primary care physicians are discussing advance care planning during regular office visits when requested by patients.
- Ensure advance care planning messaging is available throughout the community as well, such as in low-income senior housing, neighborhood health centers and individual hospitals.
“Consistency is key,” Corbett said during the webinar. “It must be in front of a person numerous times.” If a person hears about advance care planning multiple times, they’ll likely begin to reflect on the topic. In addition, it’s important to get physician buy-in, Corbett said, since people revere and trust their doctors. “[Physicians’] opinions go far in moving the dial,” he said.
The health system uses technology to make it easier for physicians to have these conversations. The Emmi program Centura deploys fits seamlessly into physicians’ workflows and allows consistent feedback and progress reporting.
Hear more about the strategy Centura uses, and the success the health system is having at one Colorado hospital, in the new teleconference from the Scottsdale Institute.
- Healthcare organizations know advance care planning improves operational efficiencies, patient-provider and patient-family conversations and patient experience—but also know that it’s difficult to get started with a strategy.
- Centura is finding success in using technology to assist its three-pronged advance care planning strategy.