techniques, allowing patients to achieve an improved outcome quickly.
Specifically, improvements in patient education, transportation services, and clinic efficiency help engage patients
in follow-up care. 1 Researchers have found that, while
nearly all patients recognize the importance of follow-up
care, they still do not always attend their appointments,
and this is an area where care traffic control plays an
Finally, there is an emerging need in today’s market that’s
being driven by the prevalence of smartphones, along with
patients who want to take advantage of virtual care delivery
and digital communication. Using care traffic control, providers can expand the reach of their services to low acuity
and underserved populations. The beauty of this approach
is it applies to a range of provider issues, from appointment reminders, to post-op check-ins via SMS, to avoiding
All in all, automated care pathways help providers overcome hurdles that are all too common—from reducing
appointment no-shows and increasing revenue through
patient recall to reducing readmissions through deploying
enhanced recovery techniques before surgery.
Care Traffic Control in Practice
In one example, Lumeon, Inc., a care pathway management
company, is working with a well-known, large U.S. integrated
delivery network that faced issues with high cost and low
throughput in preparing patients for surgery. The network
wanted to find a way to manage this, particularly by helping
nurses handle their patients efficiently and in a standardized way.
The network is deploying the
Lumeon platform and using
its care pathway management
capabilities to screen patients,
assess patient risks, and digitize
patient education and coaching.
Additionally, the network’s care
It Won’t Happen Overnight
teams monitor patient readiness
in real-time, avoiding the need to chase routine tasks.
Digitizing and automating the entire patient experience also
let patients know what to expect, which reduces anxiety and
improves ongoing coaching.
From pre-surgical readiness to discharge management,
recovery, and follow-up, health care has the opportunity
to digitize the patient pathway from A to Z and ensure that
patients get the fastest possible recovery in the shortest
possible time. Like the autopilot function in airplanes, care
teams are always in control and can also “flip a switch” whenever required, while they focus on engaging those high-risk
patients with complications who are most in need.
This is not an overnight process.
The single biggest barrier in health care is fear of change.
Whenever we talk about pathways and processes, people
are concerned that this may bring significant change to the
ways they work. Therefore, the right approach is to introduce
change gradually. Healthcare organizations need to ensure
that they focus on a smooth, integrated process, using proper
training methods and working with physicians and staff to
avoid administrative issues (see “Three-Stage Process”).
Like the airline experience, it needs to be an end-to-end,
branded provider experience that differentiates a provider
beyond its competitors.
By digitizing the patient journey and care plan through the
right automation platform, we control how and where we
introduce change into the patient journey. The greatest care
traffic control beneficiary is patients, who receive a new digital health experience that guides them in the right direction,
toward a fast and improved recovery.
Rick Halton is vice president, marketing
and product, for Lumeon. For more than
10 years, Halton has worked with startup
and global corporation management
teams to accelerate revenue streams
through product innovation and engaging
marketing, with a focus on the healthcare and mobile telecom sectors.
1 Today is about digitizing elements
of the processes and
bringing efficiencies to
labor intensive, manual
2 Tomorrow is about extending that
digital process and
science to understand
how to improve.
3 Beyond tomorrow is about benchmarking, sharing,
and comparing with
to quickly achieve
We see implementation
of care traffic control
playing out as a three-
1. A.C. Thompson, M.O. Thompson, D.L. Young, et
al. 2015. Barriers to Follow-Up and Strategies
to Improve Adherence to Appointments for
Care of Chronic Eye Diseases. Investigative
Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 56( 8). Accessed
November 26, 2018 at iovs.arvojournals.org/article.