Integrating the Musculoskeletal Care Experience Across Digital & Physical Settings

August 13th, 2021  by  Dr. Jeff Krauss, MD – Chief Medical Officer

When it comes to musculoskeletal (MSK) care, members are looking for a more seamless experience that integrates longitudinal care across specialities, so a member’s past history and whole body is incorporated into their treatment. In a recent survey, we found that 9 out of 10 members want an integrated care team to champion their MSK care, three-quarters would like a health coach as a co-pilot to guide their overall care, and 87% believe that they would get better care if their provider looked at their health in a holistic way.

The message seems loud and clear that members want a more integrated MSK care experience, so what can employers and health plans do to rethink their approach?

Here are three strategies to consider:

1. Integrated Care Should Look at the Whole Body.

To understand what integrated care is, it’s helpful to first consider what it isn’t. Fragmented care is distributed across a large number of poorly coordinated providers and specialties. There’s little or no data sharing and collaboration among clinicians. With the shift to virtual care, the member experience has become even more disjointed across physical and in-person care. In contrast, integrated care is delivered by a multidisciplinary care team that spans specialties. Team members collaborate to identify the best treatment plan for a member’s whole body, not just his or her physical injury. With integrated care, data sharing also occurs between in-person and virtual providers, resulting in a seamless member experience. A member’s medical history and important pieces of clinical information never fall through the cracks.

2. Collaborative Care Teams.

MSK care is complex and one-size-fits-all approaches don’t work for members. Employers and health plans need one holistic care team across specialties that is committed to treating the whole body, not just a physical injury in isolation. At Hinge Health, we understand that physical therapy (PT) interventions alone don’t guarantee participant success. Members with MSK conditions have multiple needs that must be addressed, including behavioral health needs.

The Hinge Health care model surrounds members with clinicians who create customized care plans and monitor progress, health coaches who motivate and hold participants accountable, and the most advanced technologies. Our health coaches collaborate with participants to ensure that they are willing and able to make lifestyle changes. They set goals, engage members in motivational interviewing to overcome barriers, and help people find their movement sweet spot. The objective is to empower members so they can complete the exercise therapy assigned to them and get stronger and more flexible. Hinge Health’s wearable sensors and breakthrough, non-invasive, and non-addictive technology for pain management provide people with better alternatives to opioids.

3. Bridging In-Person and Virtual Care.

Digital models provide opportunities to reinvent care by bridging the in-person and virtual worlds of care. Members see what a seamless experience is really all about. While studies have proven that collaborative, integrated care teams lead to better outcomes, it’s been hard to deliver on this vision in brick and mortar healthcare environments where clinicians aren’t co-located. The advent of digital care, however, means that better virtual coordination across specialists is now possible. Digital solutions can also integrate medical records across medical specialties, as well as longitudinally, so care teams have all the information they need at their fingertips. Moreover, remote digital monitoring can stream member data to both the care team and member, driving better outcomes.

Here at Hinge Health, we’ve cared for hundreds of thousands of people and we understand that an individual’s care hinges on a connected care team that has a clinically complete view of every person they treat. We recognize that members want a seamless MSK care experience, so we’re taking one more step to make that a reality. We call it HingeConnect.

HingeConnect bridges the knowledge gap between in-person and digital care by creating a bi-directional information flow between Hinge Health’s care team and our patients’ providers. This new solution helps members, employers, and health plans by:

- Extending treatment records to external providers.

At Hinge Health, we have always valued and prioritized our connections with external providers. We understand the power of a care team and we surround every patient with a team of Hinge Health providers, all of whom play an essential role in patient care. We will continue to coordinate care with community providers and build referral channels with health plan partners, but HingeConnect is our commitment to expanding our care team. We will create even stronger ties with external providers and share Hinge Health information more seamlessly with our patients’ providers.

- Integrating EMR data from 750,000 providers across 71,000 sites.

HingeConnect provides our care team with real-time access to patient electronic medical records from thousands of providers and sites. Medical history, medication lists, and imaging orders are just a few of the data points that populate the providers’ workflow, making patient interactions more straightforward and thoughtful.

- Supporting real-time monitoring and care personalization.

Our care teams leverage HingeConnect to proactively monitor participants' health records. They look for signals indicating that new interventions may be necessary or that a care plan may be escalating to an invasive or addictive treatment. The Hinge Health team can intervene in real-time with specialized care team members, as well as non-invasive and non-addictive interventions like our impulse therapy device, the Hinge Health Enso.

As the market leader in digital MSK solutions, we are excited to launch HingeConnect and create a more clinically complete view of our patients and your members, across in-person and digital care. Our goal is to deliver a more rounded patient experience aimed at better outcomes and lower medical spend.

To learn more about HingeConnect, feel free to contact us.

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Dr. Jeff Krauss, MD
About the Author

Dr. Krauss is Hinge Health’s Chief Medical Officer. He graduated from Harvard College, earned his Medical degree from UC San Francisco School of Medicine, and completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Stanford University. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Orthopedics, and he continues to practice as a part-time Staff Physician at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

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