Helping Hands: Dr. Megan Loffredo Highlights the Power of Health Advocacy in Value-Based OB Care
Megan Loffredo, MD, is the founder of FBR Consulting, an advisory group supporting digital health companies. She is a former practicing OBGYN with Providence OB/GYN in Charlotte, NC and has served as the director of medical affairs for Truveris, an organization focused on transforming the pharmacy value chain to make prescription medications more affordable and accessible. Wildflower recently interviewed Dr. Loffredo on how OB providers can prepare for value-based care and how health advocates can effectively support this new model for care delivery.
There are a lot of potential positives that come with value-based care delivery. Where do you think it can have the biggest impact?
In a perfect world, time would not be a factor that impedes the quality of healthcare delivery. In our current world, it’s one of the biggest issues. Providers simply don’t have enough quality time to spend with patients. Value-based care offers the opportunity to stretch visits, answer more questions and lessen the time crunch OBs feel as they try to support their patients.
What is the biggest learning curve for physicians in the transition to value-based care?
It’s the financial side of the equation. Payers have an important role to educate providers on how these models work. It’s a paradigm shift, and so the foundation needs to be reviewed over and again to ensure everyone fully understands the model.
Within the OB setting, is adoption of value-based care a question of “if” or “when” in your opinion?
The question facing providers is this. Will value based care be an option or an ultimatum? In the end, the majority of providers will have to make the shift to value-based care. There will still be practices who can carve themselves out of these models, such as primary care practices opting for a concierge model. But in OB, I don’t see a road that avoids value-based care. So, I think it’s a question of when and how, not if.
Telemedicine has obviously exploded in the past year. What role does this technology play moving forward?
Telemedicine is here to stay. But a lot of interpersonal communication is lost with technology. We have to keep human touch in the mix. Patients really do bond with their physicians and care teams. For some people, that will be harder to do via telemedicine, digital tools and an occasional doctor’s visit. We need the person-to-person piece to keep that relationship strong. As we dive deeper into tech-enabled healthcare, there are many questions to be answered. Are we improving outcomes through the combination of in-person and virtual care? If so, by how much? What is the optimal mix? How is it impacting provider and patient satisfaction?
You are a big believer in health advocacy. Can you elaborate on why this capability is so important in a value-based model?
I am a big believer in the power of health advocacy. Incorporating a health advocate into a practice’s workflow can be beneficial to everyone. This advocate could be the person patients go to with questions and can serve as a liaison between patients and the practice. The advocate can help with patient education and field day-to-day questions while directing larger issues back to the clinical staff. Patients receive more support between visits, and providers are able to practice at the top of their license.
I think providers are ready to consider health advocates as part of overall patient care. We have to do things differently to improve patient outcomes while also positively impacting physician experience and satisfaction. There’s a place for this in the value-based model, and providers are open to it. I would have liked having an advocate to help manage my patients when I was practicing.
Can you share a few keys to success for incorporating health advocacy into a practice?
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind. First, health advocates must be integrated into the practice’s workflow. The clinical team needs to understand the health advocate’s role, and buy in to that role, as an extension of the practice. Also, advocates must be properly trained on the practice’s protocols and have clear rules of engagement for patient outreach. Finally, the practice should fully maximize the utility of advocates by also relying on them to interface with payer organizations on the practice’s behalf.
For more insights from this interview series, as well as additional tools and best practices to accelerate your journey in virtual and value-based care, please visit www..valuebasedobcare.com.