Building Coordinated Care Teams In Your Health Tech Startup
Looking to incorporate coordinated care teams for your health tech startup? Read Healthie’s step by step guide to starting team based care.
For health tech startups, building a care system that supports each individual patient is essential but far from easy. Care coordination services for healthcare patients involves organizing patient care activities between the patient and their healthcare team, through managing the necessary resources and proper providers to deliver essential care.
Within large healthcare organizations, in which patients may interact with multiple staff members, including providers, receptionists, and even students or interns, providing coordinated care can be a complicated process.
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Here are some of the best ways to go about building care teams for your healthcare startup.
1. Start with your mission-critical vertical, then round out
As you launch and grow your health tech startup, there can be temptation to want to service as many patients as possible. However, this can quickly become a marketing and logistical nightmare when building care teams that are centralized on personalized care.
Starting with a clear mission statement, and corresponding patient population, will not only support your growth efforts, but also give you a starting point in building out a successful care team network. For example, if your healthcare business is aimed at improving women’s health, it can be easier to focus on one particular patient population, such as prenatal support. Your coordinate health care team can be built around the needs of pregnant women, and may include obgyns, doulas, prenatal nurses, etc.
With your mission-driven vertical and care team, everyone that is included within the care team naturally supports your business.
With this being said, once you have a strong care team in place, you can start to explore how to expand your care team network to include other (similarly aligned) verticals that can fall under your mission. Returning to our example, once your business has an established care network that supports prenatal care, you may want to round out other closely related patient populations, such as pre-pregnancy support, lactation support, and post-natal care.
2. Build multidisciplinary care teams
Multidisciplinary teams in healthcare are becoming an increasingly popular strategy for long-term patient care, in order to provide high-quality and individualized care to patients fighting chronic and other conditions.
A multidisciplinary care team is a team of healthcare professionals, including nurses, dietitians, primary care physicians, and administrators, who work together to provide high-quality and coordinated care to patients within their healthcare organization.
If you’re thinking about starting a multidisciplinary team, Healthie’s Free Starter Plan can help you organize sessions across your calendar, and even build out messaging to stay in touch with patients and other teams in-between sessions.
A simple thought exercise is to plan out the other aspects of care a patient could benefit from, and identify the corresponding specialists that could further support your patient population. For example, patients of a behavioral healthcare startup might benefit from nutrition help, a care navigator, and more. These make for a complete service that improves patient satisfaction and retention.
You can also keep building multidisciplinary teams in healthcare as you learn what patients want. Listen to patient requests and ask your care providers to suggest specializations or services that might interest patients.
3. Look for attributes of specialties that go well together
Some partnerships in your care team are obvious matches.
You can start with the most apparent, like teams that need to coordinate prescription medicine. When a doctor prescribes medication, it’s wise to include them in a team with the staff member responsible for the patient’s overall care.
Based on care outcomes
Another area to look toward is any team that should share knowledge. A good example would be a general physician in communication with a specialist or radiologist. Having a care team built around similar needs can help you reduce error and improve the patient experience.
Post-care accountability is another substantial opportunity for coordinated health care teams. Often the biggest healthcare challenge is ensuring patients follow through with their care responsibilities between visits. Telehealth makes accountability easier by offering digital communication channels and eliminating the friction of commutes and wait time.
A care navigator—a non-clinical staff member responsible for patient relationships—is a solid first step to building a well-rounded team. He or she can update the primary physician and the care team, helping them adjust care based on the patient’s home life.
Every patient is different, and structuring coordinated care around a patient’s unique needs is the best way to ensure high-quality, personalized care.
4. Consider insurance vs. out-of-pocket pricing models
Another factor to keep in mind as you build your team based care is to consider your billing method. Adding a new member to a care team can be frictionless if you’re billing with insurance. But if your startup relies on patient out-of-pocket expenses, each additional charge brings the cost to the patient’s mind once again. A flat fee for coverage can be a way to mitigate this if it makes sense based on your pricing model.
Insurance can also dictate which members you can add to a coordinated care team and how much time each of them can dedicate. Before making changes, have your coordinating personnel understand the specifications of each patient’s insurance coverage.
Coordinated care teams can also help with your bottom line. Teams tend to be more efficient and make better use of physician time, meaning you can work with more patients with the same care providers. You’ll be able to be more efficient and save money.
Tip: Streamline your workflows by internalizing communication to the Healthie platform.
Example: Building Care Teams in a Behavioral Health Company
To wrap up, let’s look at an example of how a fictional behavioral health tech startup might create care teams.
Let’s take the instance of a behavioral health startup that offers digital services for mental health. New patients can sign up for different levels of care. The company may offer a basic plan which includes concierge services like texting, pre-built, self-serve modules and resources to review, meditation and audio guidance, and perhaps an initial consultation, with Care Plans and content developed by licensed therapists. Add-on or premium offerings may include one-on-one consultations and group sessions with the licensed therapist.
The core provider for this company is the licensed therapist. As the provider network scales out, the company will sub-specialize based on specialty, state coverage, ability to prescribe, treatment areas, and a few other criteria.
How can we think about other services and specialties that this startup could incorporate for coordinated care?
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Since most of your patients pay through insurance and have less price sensitivity, you decide to offer a second higher-priced tier of services that includes ongoing access to these specialists. In the first patient call and any call where the patient requests a session with a specialist, you inform them of this tier.
The most apparent need in this new based care team structure is a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner. Considering your patients’ common needs, you recognize your team often must refer them outside nutrition or sleep experts. You decide to bring on experts to offer these services in-house and include their services in the higher-priced tier.
You also see an opportunity to help patients follow through with their care between appointments. Rather than schedule more frequent visits with your clinical staff, you choose to include a care navigator in each team. Their role is to manage the patient relationship, provide accountability, and refer specialists. You include a care navigator in both the primary and the specialist plan.
You see results immediately. The care navigators allow you to double patient touch points while freeing up your existing clinical staff’s schedule. You can serve more patients without new clinical hires. Nearly every patient who requests a prescription upgrades to the second tier, as do one-third of new patients. Best of all, patients are happy to receive treatment across so many areas with one subscription, and patient retention rates go up.
Why it makes sense to add coordinated care with these additional providers, the patient will benefit from added services. You are already working with the patient, they are logging into your platform each day, it makes sense.
What it would not make sense to do initially: Going deep into another vertical like nutrition. This will risk veering off mission, and at least initially, you’ll likely be better off referring these patients with complex nutritional needs out to a specialist.
How Healthie supports coordinated care for healthcare startups
Setting up coordinated care teams is a rewarding way to improve the quality of care your startup offers. It can be challenging at first, but there are simple ways to structure an effective team. By looking at interrelated specialties, your pricing constraints (and opportunities), and your target patient’s needs and wishes, you can build a more personalized and compelling offer.
Here at Healthie, we see the benefits of offering coordinated care each day. Our companies and their care teams are able to offer more services, streamline back-end operations, and propose specific Care Plans and treatment protocols based on a comprehensive picture of a patient’s needs. Patients are accessing needed care from multiple specialists under one roof, and visit records are automatically shared across providers. We also see how coordinating care with complementary Care Team members contributes to a system of improved healthcare outcomes and lower costs.