Receiving an unexpected healthcare diagnosis is often met with a range of emotions, with fear of how to navigate it and anxiety over the outcome. For those who have a confirmed positive coronavirus diagnosis, these emotions can be amplified due to the degree of uncertainty around effects to the body and need to isolate from social interaction. A COVID-19 diagnosis can produce a new level of stress as individuals try to navigate their care plan in isolation.
Premise Health recognizes the challenges an individual may face when diagnosed with the coronavirus and the value of continuing to receive high-quality care during a pandemic – even if that’s from the comfort of your home. Our care navigation program was put in place to help people navigate their experience, including symptom management and isolation strategies, because experience may matter even more during a public health crisis.
What is care navigation?
Care navigation is an approach to supporting our members by helping them navigate their healthcare journeys to ensure they get the care they need. In the context of COVID-19, the focus is on assisting quarantined members with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis navigate their COVID-19 symptoms. Being alone during a time of self or required isolation can be challenging and scary. Care navigators help individuals stay connected to care by proactively reaching out to these members to check in, verify their symptom status, and assess their overall wellbeing, while providing support and answering questions.
Another important component of care navigation is assisting employees return to the workplace. This takes shape in two ways:
- A care navigator can assist someone who has been sick safely return to the workplace by ensuring they follow proper screening protocols and enter only if they pass.
- A care navigator can assist an employee who does not pass proper screening protocols get the right care plan to address symptoms at home until healthy enough to return.
As many states lift shelter-in-place restrictions and companies develop detailed plans to welcome their employees back to work, a care navigation offering can ensure those with a COVID-19 diagnosis that need ongoing support will receive the critical help they need.
How does care navigation work?
Care navigation following a COVID-19 diagnosis
A member’s care navigation journey is intentional and thoroughly thought out. It begins quickly after a member becomes a confirmed positive or presumed diagnosis based upon exposure to someone with the virus or related symptoms. Once officially diagnosed, the member is referred into care navigation by their provider and the care navigator proactively reaches out to the member to talk through their care plan. The member’s experience is always a priority, so the outreach can be done through the channel the individual prefers, either through a phone call, secure message, or video visit. Aside from checking symptoms and providing high-quality care virtually, care navigators can also provide member education around home isolation, identify any challenges they’re experiencing, and provide various strategies to overcome them.
Care navigation and condition management
Chronic conditions don’t go away when someone is in quarantine – in fact, they can often worsen, making it critical to get these members the proper treatment and ensure they stick to their care plan. People with chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension are at a higher risk for having severe COVID-19 symptoms and the care navigator can help them seamlessly manage their condition while in isolation. The care navigators will walk the member through their care plan to ensure they understand how to reduce their risk of getting COVID-19, manage both their COVID-19 symptoms and their chronic condition, and stick to their prescribed plan for their underlying condition to create the best possible outcomes. An integrated, team-based approach is key, so if a member needs additional support, condition managers are available and can support members with tailored condition management programs and ensure their other care needs are well coordinated, including working with the member’s primary care provider to obtain a refill of any necessary medications to manage pre-existing conditions.
Care navigation and return to the workplace
Once a member completes their required self-isolation, the care navigator automatically schedules a return to work evaluation. If the individual passes the evaluation, they will receive a clearance letter to provide to their employer, allowing them to safely return to work.
Why is care navigation valuable?
Taking a proactive, member-focused approach to care is critical during a public health crisis and provides many benefits. First and foremost, continuing to engage with members ensures they are receiving the right care at the right time to get them back to living their healthiest lives. Checking in with members during a new and challenging time in their life demonstrates commitment to their health and wellbeing, as quarantining or isolating induces stress and anxiety. A call from a care navigator may be the one person a member speaks to in a day due to limited social interaction, which can have a positive impact not only on someone’s physical health, but also on their mental and emotional health.
The weight of the pandemic is being felt by organizations across the country, which means some have had to temporarily shut their doors, and in some cases, close their onsite or nearsite health centers. For employees diagnosed with the coronavirus, a care navigation program helps ensure their health and wellbeing is top priority.
Premise Health is committed to protecting and promoting the health and safety of team members, members, and their families through our care navigation product. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, our teams can play a critical role in providing continued support and access to high-quality healthcare. By providing care virtually, and in-person when needed, direct primary care reduces the burden on the healthcare system and allows people to stay home and safe even when care is still needed.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly changing and fluid situation, and our products are continually evolving to adapt. From pandemic preparation and screening to response and return to work, we can help your organization strategically navigate this unprecedented and challenging time.
- If you are a Premise Health member with questions, call your health center.
- If you are a Premise Health client with questions, please contact your director of client operations.
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Premise Health is the leading direct healthcare provider offering onsite wellness centers, as well as nearsite and virtual access points. For the latest COVID-19 information from Premise Health, click here.