Senior woman with chronic condition jogging outdoors.

OSF HealthCare is taking steps to keep you out of the hospital

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Helping to keep individuals with manageable chronic conditions out of the hospital is a priority of OSF HealthCare.

By ensuring patients are treated in a timely fashion with primary care and proper outpatient management, OSF works to reduce or avoid the need for them to be hospitalized for care.

In fact, physicians state that reduced hospital admissions are within reach because several chronic medical conditions typically respond well to outpatient care.

Chronic conditions that need routine monitoring

Those conditions include:

“As we shift from a volume-driven to a value-driven care model, caring for patients in the ambulatory (outpatient) setting puts greater emphasis on health and wellness, as well as reducing the total cost of care,” said Mark Meeker, DO, vice president of community medicine for OSF HealthCare. “Focusing on outpatient care also allows us to reserve inpatient care beds for patients who need them most.”

Why does this matter to patients?

Patients with chronic health issues need ongoing care management, said Brian Curtis, MD, vice president of specialty medicine for OSF HealthCare.

“We want to provide high quality care to the patients we serve not just when they are sick – but to keep them well,” Dr. Curtis said. “By providing the right care in the right place at the right time, we can help them live healthy and full lives and avoid costly hospitalization for those conditions that can be easily managed.”

How to achieve this

Dr. Meeker said engaging with your primary care provider early can prevent hospitalizations.

“By tracking these preventable hospitalizations, OSF HealthCare can assess the quality of health services in the communities we serve,” he said. “Our team-based approach to care encourages patients to take a more active role in managing their own health.”

For example, a patient with congestive heart failure may be hospitalized for complications if their condition is not appropriately monitored or if they do not receive the appropriate education or self-management.

Seek care right away

You woman in a video visit with health care provider

It’s important, Dr. Meeker said, that patients with chronic conditions seek care with their primary care provider when they notice symptoms changing or worsening.

Dr. Curtis agreed.

“Patients need to understand we are there for them. It’s not a bother to have them come in to discuss their condition – those steps may keep them out of the hospital down the road,” he said. “Don’t put it off.”

Making an impact

OSF HealthCare is taking a seven-prong approach to improve care for patients with chronic conditions.

  1. Care management – Proactive outreach for those most at-risk
  2. Virtual care – Providing care to patients where they are
  3. Access – Convenience of receiving care through the availability of same-day or next-day appointments
  4. Patient education – Ensuring patients know their risks, plans for prevention and care options
  5. Being a partner – Partnering with patients on their health and wellness journey
  6. Community-based care – Providing high-quality care in our communities to keep patients out of the hospital
  7. Patient experience – Building trust by providing the greatest care and love to every patient at every encounter

Last Updated: July 6, 2021

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About Author: Lisa Coon

Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016.  A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.

She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, “The beach is good for the soul.”

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