As a member of primary health care teams, Community Health Workers (CHWs) serve a crucial role. CHWs are trained and skilled frontline public health workers who bridge cultural and communication gaps and serve low-income, underserved, and high-cost patients. In addition, they aid in resolving the social, non-clinical challenges that impact the health and treatment of patients. CHWs promote the Triple Aim, which providers are held accountable: greater health, better care, and lower costs. If your organization is considering hiring CHWs, you should be, and below are a few reasons why…
Community Health Workers Reduce Costs
Evidence suggests that CHW interventions aimed at patients who use a lot of resources save money for the medical system. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) summarized the outcomes of programs that included CHWs revealing a net cost savings over a six-month to two-year period of follow-up. Cost savings were mostly the result of decreased usage of urgent care services, including hospitalization. According to most of the health centers surveyed, a huge value of CHWs is in helping patients that are both high in risk and cost. CHWs can also help to save money by reducing the number of visits to the emergency department (ED) as well as hospitalization and readmission rates for patients with complex conditions.
Community Health Workers Improve Heath
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted the usefulness of CHWs in enhancing the health outcomes of chronic diseases and has consequently advocated for their incorporation into care teams. The Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (formally American Association of Diabetes Educators) and the Institute of Medicine have also advocated for the inclusion of community health workers (CHWs) in multidisciplinary teams. By assisting patients in removing obstacles to testing, treatment, self-management and care, community health workers have proven useful in helping to prevent and manage conditions like diabetes, allergies, cardiovascular disease and hypertension in a cost-effective manner. One benefit of CHWs is that they assist patients in taking a more active role in their own treatment and ensuring that the patient’s care plans are followed.
Community Health Workers Improve Quality of Care
CHWs enhance access to health and medical services as evidenced in the National Committee for Quality Assurance-promoted performance measures and standards. CHWs also improve patient satisfaction by a greater awareness of their social needs and assistance in meeting them. These standards emphasize how important integrated care management and care coordination are. Quality measures entail management of primary prevention and chronic illness care, as well as self-care support. CHWs help to facilitate high-quality care that puts the patient first allowing services that respect different cultures, helping with self-management of chronic diseases, and reduction of health disparities with a goal of health reform that is closely tied to the achievement of the Triple Aim.
CHWs provide care in the homes and communities of individuals who require it the most. Incorporating Community Health Workers into primary care and other multidisciplinary teams will enhance health outcomes and reduce needless and costly health care utilization. By providing services in otherwise ignored or underserved communities, CHWs increase access to public health care services, improve health, and save lives, particularly in rural, isolated, and disadvantaged groups as well as those with cultural health care barriers. CHWs play a significant role in reducing inequities in health care and health status, an additional objective of health reform that is strongly tied to the Triple Aim.
Umemba Health helps public health organizations and healthcare systems to educate their frontline workforce, empower their leadership, and expand their community presence to elevate the lives of the individuals and communities they serve. For more information about our consulting and training solutions increase workforce readiness and support career development for Community Health Workers, visit our website at www.umembahealth.com