Streamline processes to improve health literacy

Our health care system is large and fragmented, making it easy for patients to feel lost. Navigating through a variety of health care facilities, providers, rules, and requirements is not only difficult, but also daunting and confusing.

A key priority of the Minnesota Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy is to streamline processes within the health care system to lessen the burden on patients. Here are some great tips for how health care organizations and providers can help:

  • Simplify and standardize health care processes. Insurance plans and health care facilities follow complex processes that can be difficult for patients to navigate. Whenever possible, health care organizations should simplify and standardize processes across the industry. For example, insurance plan representatives could explain coverage for health procedures in the same way to decrease confusion among patients who switch to another insurance plan.
  • Promote integrated care teams. Health professionals and patients alike benefit when patients’ care is integrated and information is shared seamlessly between specialists and general health care providers. A patient care team consisting of the primary care provider, specialist(s), care coordinator(s), and the patient should hold regular meetings together to discuss the patient’s prognosis and treatment steps. This collaboration will help determine which health care provider is responsible for each step in the care plan and allow for better patient care and health outcomes.
  • Expand the ability of health care facilities to share information about patients while protecting the privacy of patients’ personal information. When patients see multiple providers, the burden of transferring health information is placed on them. Health facilities should develop ways to easily share medical records without violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

With innovative and streamlined processes, knowledge will be easier to access and patients will likely experience better health outcomes. Good processes can streamline organizations and help maintain and build a patient base, while also helping patients feel informed and empowered.

For more information and tips, read the Minnesota Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.

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