their real-time status and share automated
updates about everything from availability,
airport instructions, flight delays, and upgrade
opportunities. Passengers move quickly through
formalities and feel relaxed and in control of
As this travel information is integrated
with baggage handling systems, airlines are
equipped with real-time information about
where a piece of baggage should be headed,
allowing them to anticipate potential issues
and operate transparently.
During boarding and takeoff, preflight check-lists connected to central airline and airport
IT systems provide flight crews with the most
up-to-date policies, procedures, and alerts,
while traffic control systems coordinate which
planes can take off at which times.
All of this creates a productive, efficient, and seamless flight
experience for all stakeholders, engaging all parties throughout
the process to minimize cancellations and lost revenue.
Why can’t something like this exist for health care?
What Is Care Traffic Control?
The manual labor required to coordinate various stakeholders and procedures has historically held providers back.
But, by automating protocols throughout the care plan,
providers can pull relevant information from all necessary
care teams and orchestrate operational processes in the
background. This means tasks can be completed efficiently
and on time, while expectations are managed to create a
seamless care pathway.
Using the care traffic control approach, care teams manage
by exception. Because care plans are digitized, automated,
and orchestrated across teams and settings, the care team
is efficiently tasked at the right time and at the right place
while capitalizing on virtual patient engagement techniques
as far as possible. The care team only intervenes with manual
engagement when needed.
Taking advantage of investments in electronic health
records (EHRs) plays a major role in this, as health records
data inform care traffic control of patient status, missing
gaps in care, and pathway compliance. However, providers
lack a platform to operationalize the flow of care tasks that
connect patients to care teams in an orchestrated journey.
Typically, care traffic control has three simple pathways: high-,
medium-, and low-risk patients. High-risk patients—such
as the elderly or individuals with comorbidities—are passed
through a highly scrutinized pathway with frequent manual
intervention, whereas low-risk patients may receive hands-off
care such as automated engagement and digital coaching.
Patient preference is another way of looking
at personalization. For instance, providers must
effectively communicate with each patient in
ways he or she prefers. This could mean text
messages, phone calls, or even postal letters;
if one strategy doesn’t work, detect and adapt it,
and do so automatically.
Patient preference also plays into how providers target patient engagement initiatives.
Tech-savvy patients who are willing to participate in data sharing will likely not require as
much guidance along their care journey, while
less engaged patients may prefer a manual
approach—turning off the autopilot when the
situation calls for it.
Care teams can even segment by compliance
to a pathway. For example, if a patient hasn’t
opened an email or completed an online form, this could indi-
cate less compliance with certain parts of the pathway and,
therefore, a high risk.
These analyses give providers the potential to become
highly granular in personalizing their care delivery. Taking it
a step further, anxiety questionnaires can pinpoint patients
who are having second thoughts about an upcoming surgery.
Meanwhile, personality and socio-demographic questionnaires can help adapt coaching instructions to the individual
Current and Future Benefits
In the same way that automation has improved the flying
experience for passengers and airlines alike, it also pays
off for patients, care teams, and profit margins. Providers
not only see advantages in the short term, but they are also
well-prepared for the future as alternative healthcare models
focused on value-based care become widespread.
For example, implementing care traffic control helps coordinate pre-surgical readiness and identify risks that typically
lead to delays. Late operating room (OR) cancellations are
extremely costly, as a provider potentially leaves the OR
vacant and teams scramble to reschedule patients.
Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are often forced to let
a canceled surgery slot go unfilled, with orthopedic surgery
specifically seeing high cancellation rates. With average
revenue at around $3,520 per procedure and ASCs doing
approximately 6,000 procedures a year, this could amount to
a loss of nearly $8.5 million per year.
Care traffic control also addresses problems with risk-based
payment models. By deploying a platform for care delivery
operations, providers can efficiently use the resources they
already have, including their EHR, to deliver care consistently
and, ultimately, protect themselves from margin erosion.
The positive impact of care traffic control is especially
powerful when it pairs patients with enhanced recovery
impact of care
it pairs patients