3-minute case study: Bringing patients in for wellness exams

  | August 15, 2017

What innovations drive success in healthcare? Here's a tactic from a high performer on the athenahealth network.

The problem

Delivering value-based care is the strategic priority for high-performing healthcare network Privia Medical Group's 1,600 independent physicians. For many patients, that begins with addressing — and documenting — quality measures. But to do so, providers need to invite patients in for a preventive care visit, beginning with Medicare patients.

Nationally, just 16 percent of eligible patients act on their opportunity for a free Medicare annual wellness visit. Privia found that manual outreach calls to these patients was far too time-consuming for staff, so sought an efficient communication strategy to engage patients and free up staff to focus on higher-value work.

The solution

By aggregating clinical and claims data for a subset of practices, Privia identified 960 eligible patients who had not had a Medicare annual wellness visit. It launched a three-week drip email campaign to prompt patients to schedule their visits. The emails used pre-scheduled, automated messages, but were personalized with patients' and providers' names. 

If patients did not respond to the initial message, the service automatically sent a follow-up email and phone call, following a customized script. 

The outcome

Within 45 days of being contacted, 31 percent of patients took action and scheduled an appointment. And within four months of the campaign, Medicare annual wellness visits were billed for nearly one-third of patients.

Physicians “are appreciative of the additional revenue and of the support that we're providing," says Sam Starbuck, associate director of new product development at Privia Health. “We're now able to refocus the team on other high-value activities without having to make the investment of scaling a team to meet our at-risk population's scheduling needs." 

In addition to providing needed care, the visits allowed providers to close 10 to 15 quality gaps in one visit, says Starbuck, allowing them to better meet quality benchmarks.

Erin Graham is a writer based in western Massachusetts. Artwork by Molly Ferguson

3-minute case study: Bringing patients in for wellness exams