Case Study

5 Steps to Align Employees Toward Value in Healthcare

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“Most people have a need to act on old truths rather than to act on new ones.”

—Anonymous

All In a Row

“Have you ever had someone call you about a set of circumstances that they can’t control? As a friend, you typically listen for a while and then ask them, “Well, what do you want to do about it?” Or, if you are feeling a little more patient, you may express a little empathy and then say, “How can I support you in this? It sounds pretty tough.”
If you listen carefully, you will notice they’re talking about a lot of things that are out of their control, rather than things they can manage. It’s common for us to focus on the issues we’re worried about. Our concerns are much more obvious than the actions we can take to regain control.
In his famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey calls issues outside of our control “Areas of Concern,” whereas those issues within our control are called “Areas of Influence.” (If you haven’t read this book at all or haven’t read this section within 6 months, it’s worth the read or review. It’s not hard to slip back in to the habit of being distracted by issues outside of your control).
I’m Dr. Corey Booker, a practicing maternal-fetal specialist, and I see a lot of patients who feel out-of-control when it comes to their health. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Patients deserve to understand and influence their own healthcare. That’s why I founded Bedsiide, a company that offers Personal Healthcare Management Services – a new type of health benefit for employers and families. At Bedsiide, we provide employees with the confidence they need to navigate the health system
In the employee benefits world, business leaders like you are starting to rethink their benefit offerings. And guess what? Their areas of concern are greater than their areas of influence. Just last week, I was sitting with an executive team wrestling with the same questions: “What’s going on with our employee benefits and what are we going to do about it?”
The out-of-control list is a typical one: premium increases, the growing list of diagnosis driving their cost, and the provider shifts in their market creating cost pressure on their business, just to name a few. Their response to these pressures are benefit redesign, benefit redesign, and more benefit redesign. Of course, not in exactly all situations, but most, the solutions point to the same thing. They are shifting dollars instead of finding ways to make better healthcare decisions across the organization
This year, as you are facing whatever the market is going to throw at you, I want you to do something different. I want you to look at another area of influence under your control: your employees. Help your employees make better value-based decisions. As they say, culture beats strategy every day, every time.
Bedsiide has served over 3,000 families with medical advice and guidance, care coordination, and claims adjudication. Over the years, our model has taught us that there are five things individuals can do to regain control of their healthcare situation. And the same steps apply whether it’s for a stay in the ICU, a single primary care visit, sorting out billing issues, managing diabetes, etc. We want to share those steps with you, in the hopes that you will help your employees take control of their health.

“What’s going on with our employee benefits and what are we going to do about it?”

As a company leader, I encourage you to guide your employees in thinking through each of the following steps when making their personal health care decisions

5 Steps to Align Employees Toward Value in Healthcare:

1. Be “Real” About What You Want

Have you ever been excited about a decision that was challenged by a loved one? Recently, my wife asked me “Why are you going back to the store for a second time, really?” What she meant and what you need to discover is, “What’s the real reason for that decision?” For me, it was more ice cream! Now, it might seem like you are being called out, but actually it’s the opposite.
Getting real about what you want is the best way to gain alignment. The question is powerful because it is clarifying. Why are you seeing that specialist, or having that surgery, or you name it? This question helps you and your provider get aligned and focus on the real goal, not your symptoms.
You are saying, “Hey, health system — this is what I really need from you in order to get back to my work and my life.” Getting that idea clear in your head is critically important before you step into the health system.

“Hey, health system — this is what I really need from you in order to get back to my work and my life.”

Secondly, and just as important, that question can help you see when your doctor isn’t the right fit for your needs. This simple question and the answer to it can save you thousands of dollars and exhausting confusion. We see it happen all the time.

2. Get a Clear Diagnosis

A diagnosis is like your “current location” in your favorite maps application. While the map may give you 3 different arrival times, the starting point is still the same. From there, the paths you can choose to get where you want to go become more clear.

"A diagnosis is your “current location.”

These are your paths to value in health — your destination. Without a starting place, you can’t judge your care or management plan. One sure way to be frustrated and waste time and money is to have a care plan or management plan without a diagnosis. That’s called treating symptoms.
When you are treating symptoms, you are not on the path to healing or value, unless of course it’s a muscle strain or a cold. The main reason for frustration with many of our clients is that they are being treated without a clear diagnosis. This causes them to live with uncertainty. Uncertainty causes stress and drives us all crazy. Without knowing where we are when we start a journey, we feel uncertain about where to go next. I can name several conditions where a change in the symptoms doesn’t necessarily convey improvement or worsening of health. So, remember, be clear about what you want and get a clear diagnosis. You will save time, money, and stress.

3. Make Sure Your Expectations Are Set

Did you catch that? I didn’t tell you to set your own expectations, but to make sure your doctor sets the expectations. The reason I say this is because this is the next stage in “getting what you want from the healthcare system.” This is where a provider communicates a treatment plan, expected range of symptoms, and the possible complications related to the condition. Yes, you can go to Dr. Google, but that’s scary. Have you ever looked up Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Don’t do it! Couldn’t help it could you?)
Like anything, complications can range from a mild form to an extreme form. In my sub-specialty practice where I am referred the most complicated cases, the majority of new diagnoses are mild. Rarely do my patients experience all that Dr. Google will show them.
Expanding your expectations too far to the extreme is scary and creates unnecessary panic, even in the most stoic individual. I am not advocating not doing your own homework, but rather, allow your providers to guide you forward with professional insight. That is why you are seeing them, right? I want you to expect them to guide you, but I also want you to have some parameters of what that should look and feel like
It should feel like someone is walking you into your future. You should see a clear image of how your life will be affected or not affected by the information. I like what my friend Chris Hogan says, “To be unclear is to be unkind.” This is a great way to know whether you and your provider are a good fit for one another. I want to give you the leverage to keep looking for a provider who can manage your expectations well, and who communicates clearly and often.

Because, you need it and deserve it!

When your expectations are set you know exactly where you are and where you should be within the near and distant future. You gain clarity. In most cases, health conditions have a timeline of symptom progression and symptom relief. What I want you to do is have an expectation because a timeline and treatment plan exists. It’s just a matter of whether your provider knows it or has shared the information in a way you can understand (that’s usually within the context of your life), or even shared it at all. Either way, ask! Again, the answer will tell you what to do next. In my experience, removing uncertainty by setting clear expectations with my patients, even when the diagnosis is concerning, has resulted in happier patients with better outcomes, because they still feel in control, despite the circumstances.
How can you check if the expectations have been set? Imagine you are on your way home from the doctor’s office, and as soon as you walk in the door you encounter a friend or a family member. Can you answer their questions: “What did the doctor say? What’s the next step?” You need to be able to summarize the diagnosis and the plan in less than 30 seconds. If you can’t, ask your doctor to fill in the gaps.

4. Advocate for Yourself

Have you ever been to a circus and were completely amazed by all the clowns coming out of one small car? I am amazed every time. How did they all get in there and what are they doing? Well, that’s what it’s like for patients when you have too many providers touching your care. It’s a circus.
The number one driver for bad experiences, increased cost, medical errors and wasted time is too many providers. From our experience, the more providers you have, the less likely you are to have a true quarterback or a guide for your care. The providers are looking to one another to be in charge but no one is leading. They all begin to function as separate units, not one unit. Without a true leader, you’re at risk for medical errors, conflicting care, unnecessary procedures, and other adverse effects.
For patients, it’s not enough to simply know the roles of the people touching your care. You must also speak up for yourself, fight for what you need, and communicate well with each of those providers. But unfortunately, a lot of people don’t feel comfortable or equipped to advocate for themselves
If you need someone to advocate on your behalf, contact Bedsiide. One of our Healthcare Assistants will listen to your concerns, coordinate your care, and fight for your best interest.

5. Schedule Follow-Ups with Triggers

The best laid plans can go awry. It’s normal and it is to be expected. New symptoms, worsening symptoms, fear, and anxiety often occur. You name it, anything can happen: receiving a new diagnosis, working with a new provider, or getting new unexpected results. These can all cause confusion and shake your confidence with the path you’re on and the people who are on it with you
So, I want to encourage you to plan for the unexpected by scheduling a check-in point with your provider no more than 3 months out (this timeframe varies based on the diagnosis.) The more complex and newer the diagnosis, the sooner you should schedule a follow up. Secondly, plan for an emergency. Where are you going to go and who are you going to call? What are the events or symptoms that signal you to go to the emergency room?
That’s it! I know it’s simple. Five things. It’s really not that hard and it’s something that everyone can do. You just have to have the clarity and confidence to do it.
For your convenience, I’ve included a 5 Steps to Value in Healthcare Checklist that you can share and discuss with your employees. You’ll find it at the end of the article.
If you would like to give your team access to Bedsiide Personal Healthcare Management Services, contact us today at hello@bedsiide.com, call 1-888-777-0414, or visit our website at www.bedsiide.com to schedule an appointment.

5 Steps to Value in Healthcare Checklist

Getting real about what you want is the best way to gain alignment in the health system.
Why are you seeing that specialist, or having that surgery, or you name it? This question helps you and your provider get aligned and focus on the real goal, not your symptoms.
You are saying, “Hey, health system – this is what I really need from you, in order to get back to my work and my life.” Getting that idea clear in your head is super important before you step into the health system. Having clarity saves you thousands of dollars, confusion and exhaustion.

Without a starting place, you can’t judge your care or management plan. One sure way to be frustrated and waste time and money is to have a care plan or management plan without a diagnosis. That’s called treating symptoms. When you are treating symptoms, you are not on the path to healing or value; you are on a path to frustration.

This is living with uncertainty. Uncertainty causes stress and drives us all crazy. Without knowing where we are when we start a journey, we are easily confused about where to go next. So remember, be clear about your “current location” and get a clear diagnosis.

Did you catch that? I didn’t tell you to set your own expectations, but to make sure your doctor sets the expectation.This is where a provider communicates a treatment plan, expected range of symptoms, and the possible complications related to the condition.

How can you check if the expectations have been set? Imagine you are on your way home from the doctor’s office, and as you walk in the door you are going to encounter a friend or family member. Can you answer their questions: “What did the doctor say? What’s the next step?” You need to be able to summarize the diagnosis and the plan in less than 30 seconds.
If you can’t, ask your doctor to fill in the gaps.

The number one driver for bad experiences, increased cost, medical errors and wasted time is too many providers. It’s not enough to simply know the roles of the people touching your care. You must also speak up for yourself, fight for what you need, and communicate well with each of those providers.

Plan for the unexpected by scheduling a check-in with your provider no more than three months out. This timeframe varies based on the diagnosis. The more complex and newer the diagnosis, the sooner you should schedule the follow-up. It’s time to do something different!

Corey Booker, MD

Founder and CEO of Bedsiide, A Personal Healthcare Management Service

PO Box 52383
Durham, NC 27717
1-888-777-0414
bedsiide.com
corey@getbedsiide.com

My story in founding Bedsiide in 2011 is tied to my patients. In particular, a young mother taught me how overwhelming the health system can be for individuals. Even as a high-risk OB/GYN, I was naïve to the challenges of the health system because I had never been sick and I have a network of friends who are health professionals.
This mom helped me realize how ill-equipped I was in my practice to meet two needs of every patient: having the clarity and the confidence to navigate the health system.
Every day, people we know (our family, friends, team members, possibly even you and I) enter the health system and are presented with options and decisions framed by someone else’s values, not our own. They aren’t bad people, but unless we have the necessary information, we may make bad decisions that result in unintended outcomes.
So, what do I mean by having clarity and confidence?
Clarity means: Do I understand how this health decision is going to truly impact my life, what can I expect my experience to be like, and is it in line with my values?
Confidence means: Do I have confidence in the people touching my care, the information I received, my own ability to pay for the recommended services, and the support I need to achieve my goal?
The aim of our work at Bedsiide is for you and I to enter and exit the health system with the answers to each of these questions clearly laid bare and the professional support to carry them out.
I am pleased to say that we have helped thousands of families receive just that, and I am confident we can help you, too.
So, if you lack clarity and confidence and are distracted from your work and your life, we are here to help.

About Bedsiide

Bedsiide is a value-based health benefit that empowers you to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.​

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