The fourth Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium (ATLAS) was filled with presentations and panels focused on taking a multi-channel access approach, aligning organizational strategies with consumer behaviors, and ways to engage physician leaders effectively to navigate change management. With powerful keynotes, great main stage presentations, and half a day of focus breakout tracks, there were so many great insights that it was hard to narrow them down, but here are some of the top takeaways:
Optimizing Patient Access Requires a Multi-Channel Approach
One of the central themes that emerged from ATLAS was the importance of taking a multi-channel approach to patient access. Patient access should not be limited just to the marketing team revamping the website or call center improving service, but rather a true cross-functional effort that incorporates stakeholders throughout the system. This includes schedulers, practice managers/administrators, access center leadership, physician champions (PCPs and specialists), and even patients themselves. By taking a multi-channel approach and engaging stakeholders throughout the entire organization, health systems can move the needle on many of the most pressing patient access challenges: faster time-to-appointment, better care coordination, and improved referral accuracy, to name a few.
Bringing Consumerism to Healthcare: “Meet Them Where They Are”
Matt Gove, Chief Consumer Officer of Piedmont Healthcare, gave a lively talk about how to better meet consumers’ needs around access and experience. Healthcare holds the greatest opportunity for consumerism today, he says—everyone needs it. A critical part to focusing on customers’ needs is gathering actionable insights about when and how they enter the system. For example, while hospital marketing often focuses on specialty lines, consumers are not typically “shopping” when they need a transplant specialist—they shop for PCPs. For Piedmont, the data showed that the majority of interactions occurred in ambulatory and outpatient settings. With a new focus on aligning the organization to their customers’ behavior, the Piedmont team continues to build a system customers want with an enterprise-wide, customer-centric approach to patient experience.
Engaging Clinical Leaders Effectively is Critical for Change Management
ATLAS provided a wonderful opportunity to dedicate a track to the provider perspective and we were fortunate to have such thoughtful and accomplished clinical leaders participating. So often health IT initiatives miss incorporating clinical leadership, yet at the end of the day, those initiatives share the same vision and purpose of the clinical staff. When given a chance to understand and contribute, providers can drive those initiatives further, faster, and in unifying and strategic ways. The provider track fostered great conversation and generated both tactical and strategic ideas around not only the role of clinical staff in patient access, but also how to engage those clinicians to encourage and promote their involvement individually and as a community within their health systems.
Solving Tough Challenges Requires Novel Problem-Solving Strategies
Keynote speakers Brent Gleeson, a navy SEAL combat veteran turned speaker, writer, and entrepreneur and Paul DePodesta, the visionary behind the Moneyball philosophy in baseball, illuminated how lessons from outside of healthcare can apply to the challenges that surround breaking down barriers to patient access. In their respective ways, these speakers pushed attendees to think differently about their teams, organizations, and approaches -- first, Brent with proven change management principles from SEAL training and combat itself and later Paul with his analytical mindset and insightful question, “If we weren’t already doing it this way, is this how we would start?”
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