A Better Strategy for Treating Chronic Conditions

The entire patient journey, from receiving a critical diagnosis to learning how to reclaim normal life afterward is incredibly challenging. Unfortunately, the US healthcare system is not well-equipped to support patients after acute care. Could peer support be the answer?

healthcare gap peer support
The US healthcare system is not well-equipped to support patients after acute care.

This care gap is especially apparent in the transition time between surgery and home care. And many of our members report feeling like they are left to navigate this vital transition alone.

A lack of proper support following a hospital stay has very real detrimental effects, leading to reduced quality of life, psychological distress, and poorer health outcomes.

Peer Support: A proven-effective solution

The good news is that a viable solution already exists: studies have shown that post-discharge support, which leverages individuals with a shared experience to provide practical knowledge and emotional support to patients, can reduce hospital readmission by 55% and emergency room utilization by 63%.

In 2021, we developed a Peer Support program to help our members improve their health outcomes and avoid unnecessary hospital visits. Simultaneously, we hoped to be able to deliver cost savings to our healthcare partners.

Through this program, our members can connect with trained peer coaches, who help guide and support them on their healthcare journey. Peer coaches provide members with life adjustments tips, education, advice, and emotional support.

Participants showed improvement in overall health and quality of life, with:

84% of members showing improvement in one or more life adjustment scale category after going through our program

67% reporting a reduction in stress

One out of four members reporting overall improved general health

Psychological distress scores improving in 47% of members 

These improved mental health scores are particularly encouraging. Poor mental health is a frequent comorbidity to physical health conditions and can worsen health outcomes, decrease quality of life, and increase healthcare expenditure.

Speaking to a trained peer coach offers members a distinctive type of emotional support that cannot be replicated by traditional care teams. Members who go through our program feel deeply understood, which helps them feel less lonely or stressed, and contributes to their overall wellbeing.

By arming them with practical self-care tips, peer coaches help members build confidence, which, in turn, improves health outcomes and prevents hospital readmissions.

3 out of 5 members who participated in our program reported feeling like they were able to avoid an unnecessary healthcare visit.

To learn more about Better Health’s Peer Support program and view more key results, download the white paper.

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