The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.

By Truven Staff

Least Cost Site of Care Takes Coordination & Reflection

Linda MacCracken imageReducing cost while preserving effective care requires real-time coordination and analytic reflection – and as the healthcare system changes, the need for both is becoming ever more apparent. Walgreen’s announcement of retail healthcare services for the chronically ill opens a discussion of the impact of new innovation.  
Truven Health research shows over $4b savings potential when 20% of the ED visits are redirected to other sites, and 63% of ED visits are urgent but not emergent, there is room for change.  This journey is not new; nearly 5 years ago, 73% of national ED visits were urgent (not emergent).  Between more time conscious consumers, the rise of market driven urgent care centers and hospitals placing new walk-in programs on campus – the needle has moved. Shifting care from the most expensive resource calls for consumer driven self assessment and provider recommendation. 
Based on our 2012 consumer studies, 89% of retail service users are not replacing their primary care provider, as they report having one.  They are supplementing the services offered by their PCP, and generally for a lower cost. We see there is room and demand less costly care, but we recognize that this calls for coordination at the point of care, and reflectively and realistically reviewing the rearview mirror in consolidated datastreams.  One of our clients moved $1.5M of business to lower cost settings, just by direct messaging to frequent fliers to save their funds and go to another source.  Consumers hearing the trusted provider voice can take action on coordination.  Providers knowing the truth of analytic reflection can take action to ‘prescribe’ right site of care for the right reason.  And our healthcare system will be the better for coordination, cost and care.

Linda MacCracken
Vice President