Healthcare is in an age of change. Like revolutions with antibiotics, anesthesia, and vaccinations, healthcare is now amidst the age of immediate information. Yet, amidst all this change, there is curiosity about the role of mobile integrated healthcare-community paramedicine (MIH-CP) in the future of healthcare.
MIH-CP programs will play an active role in reducing hospital readmissions, improving 911 response times, and improving care coordination. This will mean better treatment for addiction, mental health, and in-home patients.
Below, we break down the role of MIH-CP in the future of healthcare. While making accurate predictions is challenging, some exciting things are already at the forefront of MIH-CP.
Note: if you’re new to MIH-CP, be sure to read our article answering the question, what is mobile integrated healthcare community paramedicine? This article will give you a solid foundation.
How Will MIH-CP Help the Future of Healthcare?
Many already herald the MIH-CP model as “the future of healthcare.” It’s exciting to see it unfolding in real-time. Healthcare professionals are excited because MIH-CP allows them to take an active role in addressing the problems with their current system. MIH-CP allows EMTs, paramedics, and nurses the chance to see real change.
Second, MIH-CP is immensely popular with patients. So many patients are excited to discover they don’t need to make a long trip into town for an appointment. So it’s popular, but how will MIH-CP manifest in the future? How will it continue to progress?
Here are several roles MIH-CP with play in the future of healthcare:
- Fully funded and certified EMS programs
- Triage and alternative transport for non-emergency patients
- Increased field procedures
- Partner with hospitals, law enforcement, and mental health
- Hub for patient care coordination
All right, let’s look at these goals in more depth.
The Future of MIH-CP will be Certified and Well-Funded
As it currently stands, some states have a streamlined curriculum and certification for community paramedics. However, other states do not. As MIH-CP continues to grow in the future, it will begin to see more uniform certification.
Reasons community paramedic programs need certification and good training:
- Build confidence. Most paramedics are well-trained in emergency care; however, they often welcome extra training in long-term care and patient health coordination.
- Gain trust. Having a standardized certification for community paramedics will increase the confidence of partner organizations and patients. No physicians or nurses will question the effectiveness of a community paramedic program when they can see the medics are rigorously trained.
- Better funding. With increased certification for providers and programs, there is a more significant opportunity for increased funding. This means better reimbursement for the EMS company (or whatever institution runs the MIH-CP program) and better wages for the professionals in the field – a must for a sustained program.
Indeed, funding is one of the most challenging elements for new MIH-CP programs. As it currently stands, many states don’t offer a clear path for community paramedicine reimbursement (ambulances have traditionally been paid to transport patients to the ER, not provide on-scene care). However, this is changing.
There are already states creating a pathway for MIH-CP, including Minnesota. As hospitals, states, and local populations continue to see the value of community paramedicine, the opportunity for reimbursement will rise.
Establishing solid connections in your community is one of the best ways to improve funding under the current model. Read our article on the seven best ways to fund MIH-CP if you’re curious.
Now, let’s talk about MIH-CP and the future of alternative destinations.
MIH-CP with Provide Alternative Transport in the Future of Healthcare
As it stands, ambulances and emergency departments are inundated with patients who have non-emergent illnesses. Many of these patients would be more appropriately treated somewhere else.
In the future of healthcare, MIH-CP will play a significant role in transporting patients where they need to go.
Here are several alternative destinations that will become increasingly popular:
- Mental health facilities. Many patients who require mental health services could be transported directly to a treatment facility, bypassing the ER. Also, MIH-CP plays a significant role in removing the burden from law enforcement in taking care of more mental health patients – which is better for everyone.
- Urgent care. Many patients who call the ER for non-emergent symptoms could be transported to a non-ER facility, like Urgent care. Today and in the future, paramedics have the tools, training, and protocols to rule-out patient life threats, confidently diverting them to areas where they can receive better care.
- Rehab facilities. There is a considerable shift away from stigmatizing and criminalizing drug addictions. Now, patients are treated like medical patients, not lawbreakers. This positive trend will only increase in the future. MIH-CP will play a key role in ensuring patients who need and want rehab can get it. Also, some community paramedic programs are initiating PORT programs.
- Primary Care physicians. Primary care physicians know their patients better than anyone. Sometimes, when a patient says, “they just don’t feel right,” they are better off seeing their doctor than being transported by ambulance to the ER.
There’s still much work to do on this front. EMS departments need to push their medical direction to develop alternative destination protocols, and there needs to be a pathway of compensation for EMS organizations.
MIH-CP Will Provide more Field Procedures in the Future
Seventy years ago, it would be absurd to think of carrying a touchscreen supercomputer in our pockets – but that’s what’s happened. And the same thing is happening in healthcare. Many procedures and tests no longer require a patient to drive to a hospital. Now, many procedures can come to the patients.
Here are several MIH-CP procedures of the future:
- Lab tests. These days, there are already point-of-care blood tests. In the future, these tools will be used more and more to increase patient care and improve triage.
- Ultrasounds. Bedside ultrasound is nothing new, but it’s becoming more popular in the prehospital setting. In the future, as MIH-CP providers receive increased training, expect to see more ultrasounds.
- CT scans and x-ray. Mobile stroke units are already a reality and will only become more popular in the future. These systems drastically increase the ability of a physician to diagnose a stroke early – a crucial part of improved survival and good neurological outcomes.
Bringing the procedure or diagnostic tool to the patient is especially beneficial for those patients who are unable to travel themselves or who are immunocompromised and would benefit from reduced exposure to a hospital.
In the future, we expect to see MIH-CP take a leading role in performing more diagnostic and treatment-related procedures in the field.
MIH-CP Has a Future of Partnership with Other Public Health Organizations
In many parts of the US, healthcare is fractured. However, unity will increase as health systems see the benefit of coordination and communication.
Here’s how partnerships with MIH-CP will play a crucial part in healthcare’s future:
- Partnership with hospitals. Hospitals are beginning to see the impact of MIH-CP in reducing readmissions. As a result, there will be more equal partnerships between MIH-CP and hospitals.
- Partnership with law enforcement. Law enforcement usually seeks to take a backseat role to medical and mental health calls. In the future, MIH-CP will remove much of this burden from law enforcement, allowing them to respond to actual crimes, not mental health calls.
- Partnership with rehab teams. Community paramedics seek to work with rehab professionals to extend a hand to patients with substance addiction.
We’ve discussed alternative destinations, partnerships, procedures, and protocols in the last four sections. So how is it all possible?
In the next section, we’ll discuss the web that weaves everything together.
MIH-CP will Provide a Hub for Patient Care Coordination
Improved patient care coordination only happens if everyone is reading the same playbook. Just like military commandos “synchronize their watches,” it’s time that healthcare providers synchronize their information.
Healthcare needs software and patient documentation that allows easy information sharing among qualified partners.
Here are several keys:
- Cloud-based. Cloud-based means the software can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection, making it simple for qualified partners to log on.
- Full record. Good care coordination requires a narrative that tells the whole story – like a guest book, but for healthcare providers. Each provider offers their data on the patient, allowing everyone authorized to view it.
- Easy onboarding. It’s too difficult to get a bunch of separate organizations to do a major in-house software overall. The software needs to be simple so that everyone can get online easily.
Julota is a leading software service providing an interoperable patient data platform. Julota is the future of healthcare documentation, providing services for the future of MIH-CP.
Key Takeaway on MIH-CP in the Future of Healthcare
MIH-CP will play a crucial role in healthcare in the weeks, months, and years ahead. In the future, we will see MIH-CP take a leading role in patient care coordination, alternative destinations, and in-house procedures.
Contact Julota to see how you can stay ahead of the curve. The future of MIH-CP in healthcare is bright. Julota wants to help you succeed.