The concept of self-care can sometimes feel illusive or just so basic that it hardly seems appropriate to use self-care and the current US healthcare crisis and drive for value-based care in the same sentence. The bottom line? Self-care is the foundation for all care.
The cause and effect of a Sustainable Self-Care Initiative
If health systems are willing to take on the challenge – to teach evidence-based self-care skills to their communities – will it improve health and well-being and decrease healthcare costs. The result? Increased value of “health” care to the consumer along with increased consumer responsibility for their own health and well-being. The ultimate result? An optimal partnership between the provider and the recipients of their care. That almost sounds too good to be true. Well, it’s not, but the truth is, this simple concept – self-care – will need a certain structure, technology and organizational support in order to reap the research-proven benefits that it brings.
That brings us to the question, what is “value-based self-care”? While it may appear to be a term made up just to bring this concept of self-care into the orbit of value-based care, it turns out that there is a clear cut relationship between self-care and value-based care. And, when self-care is administrated and supported in the right way, the result? Value-Based Self-Care!
Value-based self-care is the result of a well-managed
evidence-based community-wide self-care initiative.
Components of Sustainable Self-Care
Here’s what a sustainable self-care initiative looks like. First, we start with the concept of Sustainable Self-Care, which here at SOHL, we define as, “Connecting with patients to positively impact their health at a time and place when they are not actually receiving care, as well as when they are receiving care.”
Health systems need to become part of the fabric – the positive fabric – of a patient or health care consumers’ life. The health system that a patient is affiliated with should be the first thing that healthcare consumer thinks about – not just when there’s an emergency or a pain – but also when they want to re-energize, preserve their health, and optimize their wellbeing. In fact, the health systems who are able to take that coveted place inside a health consumer’s already crowded mental space, are also the ones likely to win out in this competitive healthcare market.
Sustainable Self-Care has 4 components:
- Evidence-based skills training structure
- Whole person focus [at SOHL we use the evidence-based 7 Sources of health]
- Embedded in the community
- Technology supported continuous assessment and measurement
Proven Benefits of Sustainable Self-Care
The research supports many benefits of self-care, when it is sustained over time. And, even when self-care is only practiced over the course of an 8-week group-based program, there appear to be sustainable benefits such as decreased healthcare costs of as much as 50%.
Overall, the data show that sustainable self-care produces the following benefits:
- healthcare costs
- chronic disease, including anxiety and depression
- use of pain medications
- patients use of their EHR
Components of Value-Based Care
According to CMS and the New England Journal of Medicine, there are three basic components of value-based care. In order for care to be considered “value-based” it must help patients:
- improve their health
- reduce chronic disease
- live healthier lives in an evidence-based way
Sustainable Self-Care + Benefits of Self-Care = Value-Based Care
Looking at the three concepts described above, it is clear that there is a relationship among them. While it may not be possible to identify a scientific cause and effect relationship, there is enough evidence to support investment in a structured, evidence-based, measured self-care initiative. If your healthcare system is not already moving forward on such an initiative, now may be the perfect time. One way to start is by learning about SOHL Sustainable Self-Care Initiatives.