Looking Beyond Single Encounters and Care Boundaries to See and Treat the Whole Patient

By: Rob Cohen, President, Bamboo Health

The working definition of whole person care is the coordination of physical health, behavioral health, and social services in a patient-centered manner with the goals of improved health outcomes and more efficient and effective use of resources. What does this really mean for providers and patients?

Today, a picture of a person’s true health is more complex than ever. People are not just the sum of their clinical history or behavioral health conditions – they are the result of a lifetime of behaviors, lifestyle choices, physical and mental health challenges, and their environments. While whole person care is not a new concept, only recently has the perfect storm of opportunity arisen to empower providers to truly practice whole person care at the point of a routine encounter. With the national push for interoperability, the increasing understanding of the importance of a longitudinal patient view, and the value of payers, providers, and government working together in support of patient-centric care, whole person care has started to become a reality.

Connecting the healthcare ecosystem

On a national scale, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has laid out the ultimate goals for healthcare nicely: “The vision is a learning health system where individuals are at the center of their care; where providers have a seamless ability to securely access and use health information from different sources; where an individual’s health information is not limited to what is stored in electronic health records (EHRs), but includes information from many different sources (including technologies that individuals use) and portrays a longitudinal picture of their health, not just episodes of care; where diagnostic tests are only repeated when necessary, because the information is readily available; and where public health agencies and researchers can rapidly learn, develop, and deliver cutting edge treatments.” 

Despite this vision of more accessible and complete care, the healthcare industry suffers from a disjointed and siloed infrastructure that makes it difficult for people, providers, and social service organizations to connect those in need with the care and resources they require. Unfortunately, this lack of care coordination is often felt among the high-risk and the most vulnerable subsets of patients, those who suffer from chronic conditions, comorbidities, or mental illness.

How we’re enabling whole person care

At Bamboo Health, we are singularly focused on changing the potential for whole person care into a reality. We deliver technology solutions that enable the healthcare ecosystem to have insight into and understanding of all the issues that an individual is dealing with to prioritize and coordinate care plans so health outcomes are the best that they can possibly be. The solutions we are delivering facilitate exactly that. No matter who the provider is, no matter what the care setting is, they can look at the individual as a whole person and uniquely coordinate how they are going to care for that patient.

We have created one of the largest and most diverse care collaboration networks in the country, connecting nearly one million healthcare professionals in all 50 states and virtually all care settings including primary and specialty care, emergency departments, urgent cares, inpatient facilities, skilled nursing facilities, post-acute facilities, behavioral health treatment centers, pharmacies, home health agencies, state health agencies, and social and human service agencies, among others. Our powerful network serves the largest hospital systems in the U.S., 45 state governments, every national pharmacy chain, 37 payers including the top eight health plans, and 7,800 post-acute facilities.

This technology, paired with our expansive national footprint, arms healthcare providers across the country with a greater view into all the conditions that an individual is managing. Not only does this allow for providers to better prioritize and coordinate care plans, but it also ensures improved patient health outcomes—regardless of the provider or care setting. A whole person view that powers whole person care.