Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Call 9-1-1 and Get.... Emergency Disease Management?

Hat tip to the FierceHealthcare site for this story on how nurse-coaches are being paired up with 911 emergency dispatchers in Houston. While this appears to be a not-for-profit community-minded service that is designed to not only help persons with emergencies but lessen the load of unnecessary ambulance calls, the Disease Management Care Blog wonders if this isn’t an untapped market for the disease management industry.

In this instance, the service is being subcontracted to ‘CareNet,’ which appears to be a Care Management service provided courtesy of the CHRISTUS Health Care System. Among its offerings is disease management, which presumably accounts for its nurse-coaching expertise.

The DMCB is no expert on the logistics of setting up an emergency network, but it did ride ambulance years back and for a time was certified as some sort of EMT. That experience plus lots of hours in the emergency room confirmed that many persons use the 911 system for nonurgent problems. Helping callers cope instead of dispatching costly on-site personnel seems to be tailor made for nurses who understand self-efficacy, coaching, education level and possess clinical wisdom and on-the-spot common sense. And talk about win-win: the callers themselves think they are in trouble but many don’t necessarily want to go to an E.R., the taxpayers don’t like paying for avoidable E.R. visits, the E.R. itself is busy enough, the 911 personnel probably want to lighten up their call queue and the disease management service provider is happy to take the revenue that would otherwise be spent elsewhere. The approach is also not without literature to back it up.

The DMCB recalls there is an adage in the business world along the line of growing your business through the creation of new markets. Perhaps this is one potential market the industry hasn’t thought of in a big way, but should.

As an aside.....

And check out this version of community mindedness. If you had a business, wouldn’t you be more than happy to testify that you think everyone should be required to buy your product, that the American taxpayer should help pay for it and at the same time refer to it 'reform?' The DMCB thinks they oughtta pass a law making blog reading mandatory and is waiting for the invitation to say so to the Senate Committee on Finance.

Too bad having health insurance or reading the Disease Management Care Blog doesn’t necessarily translate into access to health care, but at least the latter does make you smarter.

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