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Learning to Differentiate Yourself Through Specialty Care

Written by Jan Sweat and Kassi Ellison 

Take a look at your market. So many agencies tout their “dementia program” or “wound care specialty” without ever defining what it is, how care is specialized, or worse, how the program performs. Now, put yourself in your referral source’s shoes – how would you know if a specialty program is good? Would you trust it for your patients or residents without proof and structure?  

Making a name for yourself as a provider while expanding or building from the ground up poses numerous challenges: intense competition, a lack of name recognition, and no solid value proposition, just to name a few. However, there is a way to stand out – finding your niche or ‘specialty’ and differentiating yourself through it. Take, for instance, the domain of wound care. By positioning yourself as an expert in this field, you can cultivate a reputation for excellence and reliability, earning the trust and loyalty of your referral sources and the patients you serve and aim to serve.

As your proficiency in wound care becomes recognized, you’ll naturally attract a more focused referral source in addition to your current referrals and foster valuable partnerships, thereby strengthening your presence in the market and setting the stage for growth and scale.

Promising specialty care and delivering it are two separate things. And this is where CHAP comes in to bridge the gap. With our Certified Disease Specialty Programs, we certify that you are equipped to deliver the exceptional specialty care you promise.

Now, the question is, why ? HealthFlex Home Health and Hospice shines a light on the impact, revealing the crucial role of CHAP’s Disease Program Certification in making a tangible difference.

“For patients, CHAP certification holds significant importance as it assures them of receiving exceptional care, reliability, a focus on their needs, a commitment to continuous growth, and trust in their healthcare,” said Elena Lyustina, VP Clinical Services – Home Health & Palliative Care.

What Holds You Back: The Impact of Not Having a ‘Specialty’ 

The lack of specialty programs in healthcare-at-home agencies significantly impacts their ability to deliver optimal patient outcomes and secure referrals, placing them at a competitive disadvantage. This is particularly true for conditions requiring complex care, such as dementia, where the absence of specialized care and expertise leads healthcare professionals to favor providers with dedicated programs. Such specialization ensures high-quality care tailored to patient and family preferences, enhancing the agency’s appeal and referral potential.

Furthermore, providers struggle to stand out in the competitive market without a unique selling point, like a specialty program, making it challenging to attract new referrals. To mitigate these issues and improve referral prospects, providers must strategically promote their strengths and explore innovative care strategies. This approach requires highlighting their capabilities and identifying niche areas of care that can differentiate them in the healthcare landscape, ensuring they remain competitive and capable of meeting complex patient needs.

More Than a Program: It’s a Sign of Reliability

Fostering Patient-Centric Care: Specialty programs are essential in providing patient-centric care and empowering patients through education and self-care strategies. This empowerment improves patients’ quality of life by giving them control over their healthcare, reducing emergency visits, and enhancing their understanding of their conditions.

A Viable Advantage for Agency and Staff: These programs also benefit healthcare agencies and staff by reducing hospitalizations, a key factor for physicians when choosing partners. They offer staff clear career paths and professional development, improving satisfaction and retention, leading to better patient outcomes through effective symptom management and reduced readmissions. Specialty programs thus create a positive cycle of trust and reliability, positioning agencies as leaders in patient care and staff development.

Empower The Team: Training for Triumph

Seamlessly intertwining specialty program training with regular training processes is the cornerstone of our commitment to excellence. Rather than treating specialty training as a distinct entity, integrate it into your ongoing training initiatives. This approach ensures that acquiring specialized skills becomes an organic and integral part of each employee’s professional development journey.

New Hire Orientation: Staff training for specialty programs is integral to new hire orientation, ensuring consistent, high-quality care. 

Regular Retraining: Regular retraining of existing staff is crucial to prevent complacency and ensure ongoing adherence to program standards.

Towards Optimal Care: Patient Outcomes and Metrics 

  1. Specialized Plan of Care: As discussed, individualized plans of care in specialty programs contribute to improved patient outcomes, exceeding minimum Medicare standards. 
  2. Key Metrics: Metrics include rehospitalization rates, emergency room visits, patient satisfaction scores, quality of life measurements, and specific health indicators related to the managed disease (e.g., wound healing rates for wound care programs or symptom management effectiveness for dementia care).
  3. Empowering Patients: Providing tools and resources not only empowers patients to participate in their care actively but also educates them on recognizing early signs of complications, thus preventing exacerbations or unnecessary hospital visits.
  4. Market Growth and Access: Specialty programs serve as differentiators, facilitating market growth and gaining referrals by addressing prevalent community needs with enhanced services.

Recognizing the importance of specializing is just the beginning; the true opportunity lies in genuinely acquiring and seamlessly integrating that specialization into your processes. This demands the right focus, tools, skilled staff, and effective communication with your prospects. Here’s where CHAP steps in as your support system with its disease programs.

Each CHAP Certified Disease Program facilitates tailored care for patients with specific diagnoses, setting your organization apart. These certifications encompass standards and guidance meticulously crafted and vetted by clinical industry experts. A certified disease program is a testament to your commitment to the highest standards and quality, resonating with your customers, referral sources, and patients. 

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Why CHAP? 

Choosing CHAP certification for your healthcare facility brings a multitude of benefits, emphasizing not just compliance and credibility but also marketing and operational excellence:

  1. CHAP Seal and Gold Standard: The CHAP seal and gold standard merge to offer unparalleled distinction in the market. This dual recognition is a powerful endorsement of a provider’s commitment to high standards of care and compliance, reinforcing trust and marketability. It positions providers distinctly, giving them an edge by symbolizing a commitment to excellence and integrity in service.
  2. Comfort in Compliance: CHAP certification offers more than just a badge; it provides a sense of comfort to providers by assuring them of compliance. This reassurance is particularly valuable in mitigating concerns related to questionable referral practices, allowing providers to operate with confidence and integrity in their services.
  3. Marketing and Media Kit Provision: Upon completing CHAP certification, providers receive a comprehensive kit that integrates marketing and media promotion tools. This kit becomes an asset, enhancing visibility and effectively promoting disease specialty programs. 
  4. Continuous Alignment and Program Excellence: CHAP’s commitment to ensuring the ongoing excellence of certified disease specialty programs is evident through its annual review. Beyond a one-time certification, annual meetings with providers serve as crucial checks, ensuring continuous alignment with industry standards. This proactive approach maintains the effectiveness of programs, keeping them cutting-edge and responsive to patient needs.

As a provider, your foremost commitments lie with your staff and patients. By implementing targeted and diagnosis-specific programs, you strategically cater to the well-being and satisfaction of both groups, ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship. This allows you to be of better help and provide better care to patients needing special care. 

Earn a CHAP Certified Disease Program today and set the stage for unparalleled operations, clinical brilliance, and accelerated referral growth.