By Daniel Frey
Improving the overall health of a patient – and for that matter, entire communities – requires a multifaceted approach. That’s why community paramedicine is changing the healthcare landscape. Through its suite of in-home services, patients get the care they need when they need it as part of a broader effort to improve health outcomes within communities.
Community paramedicine, also referred to as community health programs or mobile integrated health programs, employs several key services in its patient care model.
Providing a more holistic approach to medical care that actively involves patients, these services include:
- In-Home care
- Patient advocacy
- Custom care plans
- Patient education
- Tracking patient health and healthcare needs
- 24/7 help
Studies show patients fare better in managing or recovering from a medical condition when they receive treatment in their homes.
Community paramedicine does just that – outside of a true medical emergency, it eliminates the need for a patient to leave their home. Medical treatment, from routine screenings to chronic care management, is delivered within the comfort of a person’s home.
As an added benefit, patients treated in their homes are not exposed to others with contagious medical conditions as they would be at a doctor’s office or emergency room. Furthermore, home care is drastically less expensive – 52% less than the cost of hospital treatment.
Though not primary care physicians, qualified medical professionals in community paramedicine are on the front lines of patient care. Through regular interactions, care providers such as paramedics or mental health professionals gain a deeper understanding of a patient’s needs or challenges.
Community paramedicine providers can play an integral role in advocacy issues patients face, such as:
- Decision making
Custom Care Plans
Part of treating a condition is understanding a patient. In addition to determining a patient’s true medical needs, community paramedicine allows caregivers to see the environment a patient lives in.
With this information, health workers develop care plans completely customized to a patient’s specific needs. These plans factor in all the challenges – such as mobility issues, geographic location, or mental health concerns – a patient must overcome to recover or effectively manage a condition.
Personalized care plans also empower patients to take a more active role in improving their health.
Working hand-in-hand with custom care plans, a hallmark of community paramedicine is patient education. One of the primary benefits of this service is its reinforcement of diagnoses and customized care plans. By helping a patient understand these elements of treatment, they become more of a partner in managing their overall health.
Education also helps patients identify changes in their health – information that can be extremely pertinent to healthcare professionals involved in their treatment.
Tracking Patient Health & Healthcare Needs
Community paramedicine provides for regular check-ins between a healthcare professional and a patient. Though these one-on-one interactions – even if done through remote patient monitoring – qualified medical professionals track a patient’s health more frequently. This data is used to gauge a patient’s progress or assess their overall health over a period of time.
For a community health program’s purposes, information collected about patients’ health helps officials paint a broader portrait of a community‘s overall health and align services with actual needs.
Doctors’ offices aren’t always open. Emergency rooms are meant for true medical emergencies. But medical conditions or abrupt changes in health don’t operate on a schedule.
Through community paramedicine, help is always available. Whether it’s an in-home visit or by remote patient engagement through a video conference, the right healthcare professional is quickly developed when an assessment is needed. These assessments can prevent unnecessary and costly trips to the ER.
Services That Serve a Community
Community paramedicine’s ultimate goal is to make communities healthier and match needs with services. Through the alignment of its services, community paramedicine brings healthcare professionals and patients together for improved health outcomes.
To learn more about how FieldMed is helping communities change the face of localized healthcare, visit our website here.
About the Author
Daniel Frey is the co-founder and vice president of business development for FieldMed, the first-ever dedicated community health software platform designed for community health programs nationwide. During his 25 years serving as a paramedic and firefighter, Daniel saw firsthand the drastic need for community health programs and partner software that can go beyond regular patient data to track in-depth information and trends to deliver better, more cost-effective patient care.