7 Ways Hospital Can Lead the Charge for Digital ACP
It’s time we empowered every patient to have it their way.
Founder and CEO Scott Brown of ADVault, creators of the leading digital ACP solution, believes it’s high time to move beyond imagining a world where everyone has advanced care planning, and every health team has access to them when it matters most.
The future of advance care planning is here. And there’s no healthcare provider more well-positioned to lead the charge than hospitals.
In case you missed Scott Brown’s article in Strategic Health Marketing, “Patient Experience Extends to End-of-Life Experience: How Health Systems Can Take the Lead and Empower Patients to Have it Their Way”, we wanted to reiterate Scott’s key thoughts on how hospitals can lead the charge to inform and engage their patients and the communities they serve on the importance of truly readily available end-of-life documents.
How? By promoting the immense benefits of digital ACP into their existing community outreach. Here are seven of Scott’s suggestions to get started.
Shouldn’t the patient experience include ensuring a patient receives the care they actually want?”
- RAISE THE ISSUE THAT “IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO” with hospital leadership, medical staff, board of directors, and/or their trustees– not just but financially and legally as well. The fact is, that honoring patient wishes can actually reduce healthcare costs and minimize waste. We’ve done the research and a business case to show it. And from a pragmatic perspective, by honoring patient wishes providers can avoid litigation. As you may know, there’s been a surge in wrongful life lawsuits, and cases have been settled for up to $1 million.
- PROMOTE ACP AS YOU WOULD ANY OTHER PATIENT BENEFIT, product, service, or healthy lifestyle. Write about the importance of ACP in all your publications and appropriate collateral materials. Pitch the local media to write about the benefits of ACP. Offer hospital spokespeople as credible, trusted sources. Host community forums on the importance of ACP, and events to engage patients and commit to being a community leader in advancing this topic.
- DISPEL THE MISCONCEPTION of “I don’t need an advance care plan if I’m young and in good health.” Make it a communication priority, as no one can predict the future. Hospitals certainly know that emergencies can happen at any time, leaving someone too injured or ill to communicate their medical treatment wishes. Everyone needs to have a plan in place.
- LEVERAGE THE BABY BOOMER’S DESIRE FOR CONTROL over their life and lifestyle decisions. Tell the story that ACP docs are the ultimate empowerment of the individual as they express their personal preferences of the location of care, life-sustaining treatments (or not), organ donation, and medical treatment goals.
- CHAMPION ACP DOCUMENTS WITH THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE. Make it simple. Offer and promote digital ACP tools on your hospital’s website and/or patient portals. Promote the ease, importance, and ZERO cost of creating ACP documents in waiting rooms, lobbies, and the ER. Drive entire community awareness of MyDirectives.com where patients can create, and/or upload, store and share ACP documents that may already have.
- COMMIT TO ENGAGING EVERY COMMUNITY. Be sure to include minority groups where an average of only 20% of people have completed an ACP document. That’s half of the American average, one more revelation of the disparities and imbalances COVID-19 brought to bear in our healthcare system. Remind all communities that ACP documents know no color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
- TEAM UP WITH YOUR COUNTERPARTS. Work with health insurance companies to take an equally aggressive role in promoting proper ACP to their members. Especially those offering Medicare Advantage Plans. After all, ensuring their members have documented their healthcare goals and stored them where they can be securely and seamlessly accessed when it matters most is VITAL to their business and the service they provide. Clarifying what a person wants and doesn’t want not only means more personalized care but is also known to decrease available and unwanted costly hospitalization and undesired medical interventions.
Hospitals know the power of community outreach. They’re experts. And there’s no question how much they could move the needle on the number of individuals who have truly accessible their end-of-life documents. These are just a few ideas, our partners continue to share what’s working in their worlds. We invite you to share even more.