With most primary care physicians accepting Medicare – roughly 93 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation – it’s important for your practice to engage your Medicare patients. The organizations that do this best reduce re-admissions and experience larger reimbursements thanks to better outcomes.

Seniors spend more on healthcare
Medicare patients have, in aggregate, a different profile from your patient population as a whole. For one, they are likely poorer. In 2016, approximately half of Medicare recipients had annual incomes of $26,200 or less, based on a study conducted by the KFF. That’s the equivalent of 7 million people 65 years of age and older using the supplemental poverty measure, equating to 14.1 percent of senior citizens. Not surprisingly, Medicare households historically spend a greater percentage of their income on healthcare than families with private health insurance. A study from the KFF revealed Medicare patients spend 14 percent of their annual earnings on health-related expenses, compared to 6 percent for non-Medicare householders.

Value-based programs proving their worth
Medicare recognizes several value-based care programs, among them the End-Stage Renal Disease Quality Incentive Program (ESRD QIP), Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program (HVBP) and Hospital Readmission Reduction Program. Medical facilities that use valued-based programs are curbing healthcare cost increases. According to a recent study conducted by ORC International and commissioned by Change Healthcare, value-based care helped to rein in unnecessary medical expenses by 5.6 percent, on average, in 2016. Additionally, close to 80 percent of payers said the quality of care was better.

Engagement beyond the patient
For the value-based care model to be effective, Medicare recipients – as well as their families or home care providers – must be a part of the process. One way of doing this is by sending reminders to them or their caretakers via text message. They can then remind their parents or grandparents about upcoming appointments or prescription refills. Multigenerational households provide added convenience for everyone involved. According to the Pew Research Center, 64 million Americans live in a house with their parents, grandparents or both.

But leveraging mobile technology can also be applied to Medicare recipients directly. Most baby boomers own smart devices. Sixty-seven percent of boomers in a separate Pew poll said they owned a smartphone and used it regularly. More than half also owned a tablet.

Engaging Medicare patients – and consumers in general – requires a holistic approach using state-of-the-art technologies and advisory services. Tangible Solutions has two decades of experience in healthcare information technology, giving medical offices the technologies to better involve patients and home care providers so they’re more active participants. These solutions include billing, post-visit follow-up, text-based reminders for upcoming appointments and online check-in so patients have more options. Health information is power and Tangible has the resources to reach patients so your medical team can establish the relationships that help drive engagement.  From rehabilitation facilities to imaging centers, laboratories to pharmacies, Tangible has the tools and technical know-how to make the free flow of information possible and cost-effective.