5 Trends in Annual Wellness Visits - It's Not All About the Office Visit Anymore

Posted by Jenn Dellwo on Sep 3, 2019 11:50:00 AM
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The goal of an Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is to create a complete personal and family health history with a focus on establishing and maintaining a personalized prevention and health action plan. Despite being an incredibly beneficial visit, it can be a challenge getting people into the doctor’s office in the first place. So healthcare is adapting. New options continue to emerge in order to drive people to complete their AWV, demonstrating that it’s not all about the office visit anymore.

An Annual Wellness Visit covers a lot of ground. Unlike an annual physical exam, it’s purpose is to have an in-depth conversation about health history, existing health concerns, and review medications and immunizations. Because of the conversational nature of the visit, AWV completion options are significantly more flexible. 

We’ve identified 5 trends in Annual Wellness Visits designed to increase AWV rates, close gaps in care, and keep people healthier.

 

1—Telehealth 

There are a lot of advantages to telehealth, so it’s no surprise that this trend is booming. Being able to connect with a doctor through a video conference from anywhere (home, work, on the go) is appealing to a lot of people. It cuts out transportation time and costs, allows for people to connect with a doctor from anywhere, and solves the challenge of child or elder care so people can complete important preventive screenings while upholding family responsibilities.

By increasing access to AWV through telehealth, we can ensure people are receiving the right care, at the right place, at the right time.

According to research by American Well, 66% of consumers across generations are willing to use telehealth with 72% of seniors finding it beneficial for prescription renewals and 67% for chronic disease management.

 

2—Near-site Clinics

Near-site clinics are different from traditional doctors offices. They are established healthcare clinics often used by multiple employers to provide healthcare benefits to their employees. Generally located near the employer, they provide easy access to employees and their families for various types of visits.

Unsurprisingly, near-site clinics have been expanding and growing in popularity due to their convenience and the quality of service offered for primary and preventive care, as well as immunizations. 

According to the National Association of Worksite Health Clinics, 50% of employers with over 5,000+ have onsite or near-site clinics. It's estimated by 2020, two-thirds will have such facilities. 

 

3—Home Visits

To make things even more convenient, but with the benefit of talking to a healthcare professional in person, in-home visits are becoming more available, especially within Medicare Advantage plans. The structure of in-home visits complement regular in-office care and give people a chance to discuss health concerns face-to-face with a healthcare provider from the comfort of their own home. 

Home visits are a great alternative for people who aren’t ready to take the telehealth leap, but need additional options due to mobility, location, or transportation concerns. 

In a recent study, researchers from the AARP Public Policy Institute found that 25.2% of MA enrollees used the annual wellness visit benefit in 2015—42% higher than the CMS estimate for annual wellness visits in the traditional Medicare population.

 


revel-health-louise-briguglio-product-strategyWant to learn more about driving preventive action? In this episode of RadioRev, Louise Briguglio, Product Strategy Leader at Revel walks through the importance of preventive screenings and the challenges health plans face when trying to engage their members to take preventive actions.

 


 

4—Mobile Clinics 

Mobile health clinics solve for those that need access to healthcare, but can’t get into the doctor’s office, can’t afford an in-home visit, or are skeptical of telehealth services (or potentially don’t have access to the internet required for telehealth). They overcome a tremendous number of barriers including time, money, and trust while providing preventive and primary care services.

These mobile clinics typically travel to medically underserved areas to help connect people to the care and services they need most when they would otherwise go without care. Mobile clinics are particularly effective because they are changing access and driving better care by literally pulling right into a person’s backyard.

The International Journal for Equity in Health noted that mobile health clinics make an unfamiliar healthcare environment more familiar by being located right in a patient’s neighborhood.

 

5—The Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model

Through the VBID, a wide range of Medicare Advantage (MA) health plan innovations are being designed and tested to enhance the quality of care received by MA members. This model is allowing for testing and expansion of new reward and incentive programs—many of which may go toward encouraging or helping increase the rate of Annual Wellness Visits. 

While reward and incentive programs shouldn’t always be the default, they have proven to be effective with specific populations when the goal is to drive in-office wellness visits for preventive action programs. 

According to results of various wellness incentive programs, incentives help to sweeten the deal for members who may not otherwise see value in making an appointment. 

 

BONUS—Rideshare App Opportunities

When it’s critical for someone to actually go into the doctor’s office for their visit, rideshare apps are helping to close the gap to ensure people are making it to their appointments. New partnerships between these rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber with healthcare organizations have been growing to improve appointment adherence by providing transportation to those that may not have access, are unable to drive, or have trouble keeping their appointments. 

SCI Solutions reported that lack of transportation contributes up to 30% of all people missing appointments and costs the healthcare industry as much as $150 billion in lost revenue annually.

As healthcare and consumer demand continues to evolve, more alternative options will be introduced to help people get the care the need in the most effective ways possible.

 

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Topics: Health Engagement, Preventive Screenings, Annual Wellness Visits

 

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