How Does Palliative Care Contribute to the Triple Aim?

Although the U.S. can boast about its highly developed healthcare system, the truth is its costs are higher than anywhere else and its fragmented nature doesn't meet the needs of many who are chronically ill. According to the Commonwealth Fund, U.S. healthcare ranks poorly when ranked against the other top 10 wealthy countries.

It was against this background that the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) introduced its Triple Aim initiative in 2007. This initiative advocates a holistic approach to medical care in the belief that this reduces overall costs and improves patient outcomes and was incorporated into the Affordable Care Act.

Palliative care, which focuses on improving the quality of life of seriously ill people, has been shown to contribute towards attaining the goals of the Triple Aim.

The Triple Aim of Healthcare
In place of the conventional volume-based approach to healthcare reimbursement, the Triple Aim initiative seeks to balance three important criteria with the overarching objective of improving the health and well-being of the population. These three criteria are:

  • Improve patient experience: This encompasses the provision of healthcare that is effective, easily accessible, safe and patient-centered.
  • Increase population health: To improve the overall health of the population, to reduce mortality rates and to increase the quality of life.
  • Reduction in per capita healthcare costs: To reduce the overall cost of medical care per patient.

The Triple Aim program entails a systematic approach to healthcare and the adoption of measures designed to quantify the effectiveness of the Triple Aim initiative.

Shortcomings of Conventional Healthcare
Conventional healthcare interventions are invariably reactive because the only contact healthcare workers have with patients is when they seek help once they are seriously ill. However, after the condition is treated, patients generally return to their previous lifestyles, and in many instances, are readmitted for the same complaint. For example, 40 percent of Medicare patients admitted to a hospital for treatment of congestive heart failure are readmitted less than 90 days later for the same complaint. This is despite the fact that, with proper intervention, it's possible to reduce the readmission rate by 80 percent.

How Palliative Care Contributes Towards the Triple Aim
Palliative care programs are designed to help patients cope more effectively with serious and chronic conditions. Whether palliative care teams are hospital- or community-based, their approaches are similar. Palliative care teams initiate interventions designed to help patients deal with emotional and psychological issues related to their conditions and to provide medication to alleviate debilitating symptoms.

Palliative care helps patients by:

  • Enhancing quality of life: Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the quality of life of people receiving palliative care is higher.
  • Improving health: Because medical conditions are properly managed, patients’ overall health improves.
  • Lowering costs: The direct treatment cost of patients who receive palliative care is measurably lower than those who don't.

Concordance Healthcare Solutions is proud to support the Triple Aim by providing cost-effective quality products to hospice care centers and other palliative care providers. 

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