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3 Benefits of an External Advance Care Planning Partner

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

For health plans, advance care planning (ACP) achieves a lot more than just documenting member care preferences; ACP is critical for helping your plan:

  • Reduce unnecessary utilization
  • Improve your member experience
  • Empower members to make more informed care decisions

Health plans are beginning to achieve these benefits, shifting the question from “Why should we do this?” to “How do we do this?”

As plans attempt to allocate existing resources to perform ACP, there are many reasons why their strategies end up failing; lack of time and training can lead to rushed or forgotten care planning conversations, and poor documentation can mean patient goals are never achieved. Furthermore, your members could be skeptical of someone directly associated with your health plan trying to plan their care, reducing overall ACP adoption and souring your member experience.

These common pitfalls can be avoided by using an external advance care planning partner, whose sole focus is on helping plans and their members complete ACP. This specialization is a major factor in why some plans choose to partner with an external ACP provider, but there are other benefits that you may not realize. Here are three reasons why an external advance care planning partner can benefit all parties involved with your plan.

Alleviate pressure on your plan

Time is a precious resource in today’s healthcare environment. Quality advance care planning requires a significant amount of time to complete — typically 90 minutes per member over the course of two sessions. Is this something you’re willing to staff internally for?

It is also critically important to not skimp on these conversations with members. To feel confident about their care decisions, your members will need comprehensive and disease-specific education as well as time to reflect on their options. Likewise, members want to feel that their care planners value their decisions. If care planning conversations are rushed or haphazard, members might think you do not actually care about their input.

An external partner is able to have in-depth conversations with each member, taking the time to listen, counsel and provide support for members to determine their desired course of action. For health plans, this means you can rest assured your members will receive high-quality care without adding additional pressure to your plan’s internal resources

Create higher quality care plans

Conversations about serious illnesses can be challenging for even experienced providers to facilitate. Specialized skills learned through extensive training are required to balance the emotional and practical demands of ACP. Unfortunately, without this training, vital parts of an advance care plan may go unaddressed and members will not have a positive experience.

Partnering with an external advance care planning organization for these delicate and critical communications ensures your members receive the dignified conversations and thorough documentation they deserve — every time.

Additionally, external ACP partners are well-versed in the nuances of ACP regulations, including differences in advance directives for each state and the necessary steps to tailor a plan to members’ unique and disease-specific care needs. This comprehensive understanding of ACP is difficult to match internally, making an external partner an easy choice for health plans.

Improve member experience

Although many members form close relationships with their healthcare providers, it can often be difficult for members to talk about advance directives, quality of life goals and other components of ACP with someone who will be directly involved in their treatment.

Given the sensitive nature of advanced care conversations, it’s crucial that members feel comfortable and trust their advance care planning advocate. Performing ACP with a third-party provider is the best approach for health plans because members trust they are receiving objective, trustworthy care planning services, resulting in a highly positive member experience and increased member satisfaction.

A partner you can trust

When it’s time to choose an external advance care planning partner, plans need to know they can trust their partner to deliver consistent, compassionate care for members; this critical process in a member’s care journey can make all the difference in their experience, and ensuring members’ plans end up in the hands of providers at the point of service is paramount.

If you’re ready to explore an external advance care planning partner, Iris is here to help. Our team of specialists have years of experience in the ACP industry, and our processes are easily scalable to accommodate all of your members, regionally to nationwide. To learn more about working with Iris, contact us today.

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