Separate programs to strengthen employer relationships and physician ties in the community are not unusual, but those efforts are often siloed.
That's why Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, S.C., has worked hard to develop an integrated strategy that addresses both employer and physician relationship management. It's an innovative blend of technology and basic marketing tenets.
In our service area, there are about 123 major employers with 21,000 employees, many of whom either suffer from chronic conditions, or are at risk of doing so for a variety of reasons (obesity, no primary-care physician, overdue preventive testing and so on). Our joint employer/physician relationship management program (guided by an outside partner) identifies the employees with the greatest health needs and helps connect them with hospital physicians and services that can lead to improved health.
Employers benefit because the program targets the roughly 15% of employees responsible for about 75% of healthcare spending, steadily improving their outcomes and lowering costs. Overall, providers benefit because more employees are motivated to seek support, testing and treatment.
This program utilizes a robust data-analytics platform, plus some low-tech outreach. For example, the system recently identified 277 individuals with diabetes who then received a letter about our new Healthy Living Center, where physicians, dietitians and exercise physiologists work closely with individuals dealing with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Similar letters have gone out to employees with no current primary-care physician and those who are overdue for important screenings such as mammograms. For the cost of a letter and postage, we've been able to generate nearly $7 million in new revenue and add more than 150 new patients in the past two years. There's also been a corresponding 26.4% increase in outpatient-services referral growth from our affiliated physicians and a 13% increase from independent providers.
In our view, it's a smart way to bridge the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. The database marketing campaigns help increase today's volumes while creating a strong foundation for population-health management.
Value-based care is really about leveraging the power of relationships. A health system can strengthen its ties with local employers by conducting health-risk assessments and onsite screenings to identify employees most at risk. Those employees are then encouraged to deepen their relationships with our system and doctors. The result is that hospital and physician volumes increase—and at-risk employees have a higher probability of adopting healthier lifestyles.
Kathy Rhoad is marketing director at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, S.C., a 286-bed acute care facility with more than 100 physicians on staff, 20 primary-care and specialty practices, and two urgent-care clinics.