Insights from Caravan Health Co-Founder and COO Erin Fulton


When you join an accountable care organization with Caravan Health, you’ll have a trusted partner that is committed to your ACO success and will bring results starting in year one.  Our proven plan will help provide better coordinated care for your community, improve your quality scores, and mitigate your ACO risk by bringing greater focus to population health management.

Erin-Fulton.jpgErin Fulton, Caravan Health Chief Operating Officer, recently shared some of the challenges along with the strategies and tools Caravan Health offers to help its clients succeed in the transition from fee-for-service to fee-for-value.

Fulton is responsible for the programs we deliver to clients, including methodology and resources, and a full suite of technology tools and processes that support our model, as well as the overall operational administration of the company.

How do you help clients transition from a fee-for-service service to a value-based care delivery program?

Erin Fulton: Change management is our program. Depending on the stakeholders that we're engaged with, whether it’s the CEO, practice manager, care coordination program manager, nurse, or a physician, they will be challenged with changing clinical workflows and the day-to-day activities in order to successfully shift from a fee-for-service to a value-based care delivery program.

We start with a pre-launch webinar series to provide a comprehensive introduction. These educational events are designed to teach clients about specific program components that are relevant to their areas. Webinar topics are customized for doctors, care coordinators, project managers, ACO champions, CEOs, and compliance directors.  We provide important information about high-level changes they need to be thinking about and preparing for.  We also provide a detailed planning calendar, so they know what’s in store for the year, and we help them with resource and personnel planning.

Once the introductions are made, we dive into assessments of client capabilities – workflows, technology, staffing, and more. We also make it a priority to consistently and methodically follow up with their leadership to make sure they have the right people in the right roles to perform the transformation work that is essential for success. For example, at the very beginning, we talk to them about hiring a care coordinator, the essential functions a care coordinator or a population health nurse can provide, what a care coordination program looks like, and how to find and hire qualified professionals. A population health nurse is a driving factor for ACO success, and they pay for themselves within a certain amount of time.

How does Caravan support their needs as they go through this transition?

Erin Fulton: Caravan uniquely supports our clients’ needs by engaging with them at multiple levels and across multiple departments throughout their organization. Often, our clients face hurdles with silos within their environments, and Caravan Health assigns resources to key departments to help break down those silos so that there's communication between IT, clinical, physician, nursing, and the C-Suite.

What are some of the biggest obstacles for a health system starting an ACO?

Erin Fulton: One challenge is underestimating the need for upfront planning in their C-suite about how they're going to achieve their goals. When rolling out transformation initiatives, it’s imperative that our clients understand the need to have teams and project plans in place to achieve what they set out to.

We also sometimes see resistance to physician engagement. This has been something that has plagued all of value-based care programs, but we have some great physician engagement strategies to help them overcome this. It’s extremely important that client fully understand the importance of including their physician community in all their strategies to move to value-based care.

How can ACOs prepare both clinical and operational staff for the changes they will face?

Erin Fulton: Attending the annual Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium is a great way to understand what you need to be doing both big picture and little picture when you’re starting an ACO.  With more than a dozen breakout sessions on topics like clinical practice, leadership, and innovation, the symposium is aimed at providing our clients with new tools and new understanding about how they can implement change in their environment and be successful at moving into value-based care.

Caravan Health also provides numerous resources to our clients throughout their journey with us, and I encourage all clients to read all the resources provided, to attend our webinars, and to engage with our staff to understand how they can achieve big picture and small picture results along the way.

How can technology tools help clients as they operate an ACO?

Erin Fulton: One of the biggest advantages that Caravan Health brings to our clients is how we use technology. To be able to implement and to utilize technology in the breadth that we supply it would be very difficult for clients to do on their own and exorbitantly expensive. We allow our clients not only to utilize the technology, we implement it for them. We have the skills and technology experience to be able to remove that from their plates and then we also teach them how to utilize the technology, so they understand what they're seeing in reports from Caravan Compass – our home-grown analytics platform – what they need to do with their data and put it into action to transform their organization.

What insights do ACO leaders need most to effectively do their jobs?

Erin Fulton: I believe the number one thing that ACO leaders need to do their jobs well is to become a true champion for value-based care. There is a ground swell that can happen with organizations, and we have seen over and over and over that by having excitement and building strong teams and having champions within multiple layers of the organization can radically change your success as an ACO. So, we need the ACO leaders to become those champions.

To learn more about Caravan Health and our unique methodology for ACO success, check out our recent webinar.

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