Given the growing success of the palliative care program at UnityPoint Health, a health system serving Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, Program VP of Clinical Cervices Lori Bishop credits accessibility of data as a key driver of growth:
There’s a great uptick in the patients that we’ve been able able to serve that correlates with our ability to report out to our systems and to our regions the value of what we bring to the population for the seriously ill population. That growth started around 2011 and 2012 when we were able to start reporting out measures.
Indeed, broader reach has led to cost savings, by reducing readmissions by 50% for inpatient settings and 70% for outpatient settings between 2012 and 2015. In spite of the lack of reimbursement for palliative care, Bishop foresees further growth:
The biggest challenge is there aren’t enough palliative care-trained individuals to go around. Providers that are certified in palliative care and hospice are a hot commodity right now. There are not enough of them.