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Copilots help keep a flight on track so it arrives at its destination safely and efficiently. Allina Health, a not-for-profit health system in Minnesota, has adapted that idea for chronic care patients in its “Care COPILOT’ program.
The COPILOT program helps to improve the clinical outcomes of these patients, increase their satisfaction, and it does it at a low cost, according to the American Hospital Association. The program was started at the Allina Health clinics, where “care guides” from the COPILOT program joined the healthcare team. The guides went through two full weeks of training on evidence-based guidelines for disease management, motivational coaching, cultural and diversity issues, and scope of practice so they knew what they could and could not do.
Now, patients with chronic disease have a consistent point of contact. The care guides help them find medications that are affordable, follow instructions from their providers, and prepare for their next appointments. Consider this example shared by Allina Health: “A patient confessed to their care guide that she no longer checks her blood sugars daily because she cannot afford the test strips. The nurse asked the care guide if she could check with the patient’s insurance to find out which test strips would be covered. The care guide was able to get this information from the patient’s insurance company, passed it on to the doctor, and new strips were ordered. The patient no longer has to worry about affording her diabetes supplies and is now able to follow her doctor’s instructions.” For more success stories, click here.
The results of the program have been impressive. A randomized control trial showed patients working with their care guides were 31% more likely to meet evidence-based care goals. Patients said they had better ability to manage their care. The care guides cost less than clinically licensed professionals. On top of all those benefits, the staff liked having them. In fact 94% of providers thought they were an effective use of resources.
If you’d like more information on the program, click here.