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Preventing patient volume leakage in healthcare systems

Desai, Rachna (2014) Preventing patient volume leakage in healthcare systems. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The healthcare environment today is causing many healthcare organizations to consolidate and form healthcare delivery systems. Organizations are assembling themselves into systems so that most, if not all, facets of healthcare delivery are available within their system. This approach aims to keep patients within the system and makes care more efficient, cost effective, and continuous. Patient leakage from the system results in adverse effects for the organization including higher costs and lower quality outcomes, both detrimental in today’s healthcare framework. This essay conducts an in-depth analysis of the causes of volume leakage including physician referrals out of the system, lack of patient engagement, and inefficient organizational referral processes. Identifying and rectifying gaps in the system where the patient or provider has latitude to go outside the system is the most fundamental first step in solving the problem of patient leakage. Leakage prevention methods include physician incentives and contracting, improving patient engagement and loyalty, streamlining referral processes, and educating support staff on the importance of patient “keepage”. When a strong and continuous network of care has been set up, several barriers are in place keep patients from leaving the system. The issue of patient leakage is an important one as the adverse effects are not limited to decreased revenue and poorer outcomes for the one organization itself. From a public health perspective, patients leaving a healthcare system results in uncoordinated, broken care which leads to poorer quality of life across a population. The cost inefficiencies also result in more capital being spent by the healthcare system to make up for the loss rather than on actual high quality care for the patient. Healthcare organizations exist to provide all types of care ranging from preventive to acute to tertiary care. When a patient leaves a healthcare system, they are not able to receive the specialized and coordinated care they need, rendering the organization unable to properly take care of the population they serve. This paper concludes with best practices and recommendations for preventing patient leakage, enabling the healthcare system to deliver coordinated, efficient, and high quality care.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Desai, Rachna
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLongest, Beaufortlongest@pitt.eduLONGESTUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberShastri, Karenkshastri@katz.pitt.eduKSHASTRIUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberLaRosa, Markmlarosa@wpahs.orgMRL68UNSPECIFIED
Date: April 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 April 2014
Submission Date: 7 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MHA - Master of Health Administration
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Patient, volume, leakage
Date Deposited: 27 May 2015 23:04
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 10:56


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