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Earning a Patient’s Trust with Care Management

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At Lightbeam, “clinical transformation” means a ground-up, collaborative approach to care management while providing best practice recommendations. When done thoughtfully, these practices prove to be the most efficient way to help patients take charge of their wellness and lead healthier lives.

Care management is often deployed for patients who manage one or multiple chronic conditions, usually when they do not have the best track record with following care plan instructions or making routine appointments. Failing to do these two steps could mean an expensive emergency room visit or hospital stay later, not to mention a worse outcome of something that may have been avoidable.

The purpose of care management is to ensure that patients most in need receive focused, attentive care. Saving healthcare facilities and insurance companies money is a fortunate byproduct. The question is this: how do we make an impact with patients that inspires change for the better? We need to establish trust, and trust comes from forming a personal relationship between the patient and the care manager.

In this relationship, the patient feels like they are cared about, and the care manager demonstrates that they have a vested interest in what happens to them. Having someone compassionate and trustworthy in their lives can be the difference-maker in helping patients to meet their goals.

Engaging someone and making changes with them, however, is like peeling layers of an onion. Once a care manager establishes rapport and a sense of trust, though, they can discern what barriers and motivators a patient has to long-lasting change.

Laying the groundwork with respect and personalized communication

With every patient a care manager encounters, showing respect often goes hand-in-hand with communication. If a patient is hesitant to engage in care, a warm demeanor, attentiveness to time, and demonstration of expertise can contribute to trust-building in a significant way. A patient should feel like the only priority during each encounter.

Care managers should always confirm the best way to contact patients, whether by email, phone, or another method. They should do their best to be responsive and accessible for questions. They should also strive to demonstrate active listening by making eye contact if in person, repeating information, and calmly clarifying if they feel a patient has misunderstood something.

Making impactful changes with gained trust

Once trust is achieved, real change can begin. Generally, patients who trust their caregivers will be more receptive to treatment and open to dialogue. It can be easier to identify why they feel the way they do about care—and easier to discern whether social determinants of health (SDOH) are at play.

Maybe the patient cannot keep virtual appointments because they lack a suitable device or Wi-Fi connection or have transportation limitations. A care manager can also assess a patient’s health literacy level. Their aversion to receiving care could be a lack of understanding, and the care manager can adjust their language to make them feel more comfortable.

Watch my Webinar

I hosted the webinar “Care Management 101 – The Fundamentals” to discuss the importance of care management strategies in value-based care. Beyond discussing the critical personal relationship with the patient, I speak about the fundamentals of care management, our guiding principles, the most experienced pitfalls, must-haves for a successful program, and more. Change takes time, and I believe all organizations can take something away from this presentation.

Shelley Davis, MSN, RNC, CCM is Lightbeam’s VP of Clinical Strategy.

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