Patient Access for Wound Care

Written by Carolyn Shinn, Vice President, Clinical and Quality Process Excellence at Healogics.

Carolyn ShinnA recent Advisory Board article stated that “patient access” was a leading contender for the Healthcare Buzzword of the Year. Hospital executives, policy makers, insurance companies and physicians are all talking about it. We at Healogics are, too!

Why is that?

Although the term means different things for different people, for us, it means ensuring our patients get the right care at the right time. You’ve heard the numbers. There are over 6.7 million patients suffering from a chronic wound. We’re only caring for a fraction of those in our wound centers today.

Despite all of our very best efforts at getting the word out, wound care remains a bit of a secret. If a patient, or a provider needing help with a patient, finally finds us, it means that their wound has gotten bad enough that they went searching for something more.

What tends to throw us off is the word chronic.

“What’s the rush for an appointment if they’ve had their wound for six months or six years?”

But we’ve all seen what can happen in even a small delay in receiving advanced wound care. Or unfortunately, we often don’t see it. Not knowing where else to go or worse yet, can’t get an appointment soon enough with us, our “could-have-been” patient ends up in the Emergency Room. That often turns in to an expensive hospital stay and sometimes the worst-case scenario – an amputation.

We have to ask ourselves, “would the outcome have been different had they had access to our expert care?” I think we can all agree, no one should ever have to ask that question! The only question that we should ever ask is “can you come in today?”

We are ‘something more.’ We are their answer.