Today, agencies are looking for ways to stand out in oversaturated home health markets and grow their organizations. Historically, referrals have largely been driven by geography and convenience. But with advances in technology and data analytics, it’s time for the industry to put science at the forefront of the referral process.
At Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Hospice & Home Health, we understand that in order to succeed under value-based care, we must identify ways to demonstrate our effectiveness and differentiate ourselves as a leading home health provider. By partnering with WellSky, VNA can leverage predictive analytics and real-time performance data to build diversified, data-driven growth strategies that optimize our clinical strengths and differentiate us from our competitors.
Here, we’ll discuss three ways agencies can use data to become sought-after referral partners and expand their current reach to become in markets beyond traditional Medicare.
- Demonstrate improved outcomes to referral sources
As agencies work to stand out in saturated markets, it is increasingly clear that becoming a strong, preferred referral partner is critical to their growth strategies. Leveraging performance analytics, agencies can drive a powerful marketing story — empowering them not only to maintain, but also to grow traditional Medicare businesses across accountable care organizations, health systems, post-acute facilities and physicians. In leveraging data-based insights, agencies can identify, pursue and win growth opportunities for long-term success by focusing on payer mix analytics, referral patterns and real-time performance comparisons within these markets.
Payer mix analytics ensure profitability and enable better informed discussions with referral sources. By analyzing referral patterns, agencies can better understand both their market share and their competitors’ — helping them identify critical strengths and the right opportunities.
When analyzing data from home health and hospice agencies, referral sources are focusing on a few key insights, including a 30-day readmission rate, timely start of care within 24-48 hours and 60-day hospitalization rate. Referencing these points permits agencies to effectively demonstrate patient success and specialties in order to increase their referral sources community. This data can also help organizations ensure long-term success and continuation of their partnerships with referral sources by providing ongoing reporting and analytics, as well as empowering referral sources to feel confident in their agency partners.
- Build a unique diagnosis strategy
Performance analytics not only can be used to help stakeholders identify trends in their markets, but also within their clinical specialties as well. In analyzing the data, these agencies have the unique opportunity to identify their clinical strengths and capability gaps and adjust their growth strategies accordingly .
Demonstrating core strengths and how they inform patient success is key for any strategy — as is one that shows key improvements in previously identified weak spots. At VNA, providing holistic care to patients suffering from chronic illnesses is a high priority, as it has a significant effect on the overall wellness of the individual. By focusing on effective chronic illness management, VNA has ensured our strength in this area, enabling us to provide demonstrative insights to referral sources.
Building trust with referral sources and payers through data-based insights will allow agencies to grow their volume of referrals through expansion of their current referral relationships, as well as build new partnerships within their markets.
- Decipher the Medicare Advantage opportunity
Once an agency has identified their clinical strengths, they can optimize their impact within their market to increase their Medicare Advantage volume and drive better reimbursement. By leveraging actionable insights that analyze the relative membership volume and population risk across healthcare plans in the counties an agency serves, stakeholders can identify key areas to leverage their clinical strengths and where they are well-positioned for performance-based agreements.
Agencies should continue to include these actionable insights as a standard within their business development practices, as these real-time performance and market analytics correlate to identifying the right market opportunities at the right times.
In today’s dynamic healthcare continuum, finding ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors is vital to home health agencies’ long-term success. By demonstrating improved outcomes, building unique diagnosis strategies and deciphering the Medicare Advantage opportunity, agencies can stand out — even in the most crowded of markets.
Bill Miller is CEO of WellSky.
Hope Wormuth is community relations specialist at the Visiting Nurse Association.