Beacon’s ‘Triple Aim’: Camaraderie, advocacy, health
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) “Triple Aim” has become a household term for many in health care. The phrase refers to improving the American health care system through a three-pronged framework: improve the patient care experience, improve populations’ health, and reduce the per capita cost of health care.
At Beacon Health Options, we’ve developed our own Triple Aim that guides our daily efforts to improve the lives of those people we serve: camaraderie, advocacy and health. It’s our framework for improving the care experience and promoting good health among ourselves and our members.
Starting in 2016, Beacon has taken to bikes to promote our personal Triple Aim. Last year, the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride formed a cycling train from Woburn, MA to Miami, FL, comprised of approximately 30 teams biking through urban streets, suburban neighborhoods, over swampland and up – and down – mountains. This year, the Beacon bike ride was a series of local rides occurring around the country the week of Oct. 1 -7 to commemorate Mental Illness Awareness Week and to support our two advocacy partners, National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America.
Beacon’s Triple Aim can be viewed as a microcosm of the IHI’s Triple Aim, a tall order of gargantuan proportions. Clearly, to improve the care experience and population health at a cost society can bear would translate to a near-utopian society. Beacon is working towards that goal with one clinical innovation, one operational enhancement, one team effort, and one pedal at a time.
How does the equation work?
Camaraderie: Not everyone loves to ride bikes, especially up hills, over swampland or through glass-strewn streets, but they did it through the camaraderie of their fellow bike riders. It sometimes meant slowing down, loaning a bike, telling a joke, or sharing a snack. That give-and-take instills a sense of teamwork that finds its way to the office to promote collaborative problem-solving where the collective is more important than the individual. Together, we can be more creative and more effective in designing clinical programs and operational enhancements to promote better care, better health and better financials.
To improve the care experience and population health at a cost society can bear would translate to a near-utopian society. Beacon is working towards that goal with one clinical innovation, one operational enhancement, one team effort, and one pedal at a time.
Advocacy: Advocacy falls on the heels of camaraderie. We advocate for each other as we pedal onward, although the riders in Boston on the smooth, flat Minuteman Parkway probably didn’t need the advocacy that our colleagues in mountainous Colorado Springs did. More importantly, advocacy is literally about getting the word out – with the words printed on our tee-shirted backs – about advocating for those individuals with mental illness. In addition to our nine-to-five efforts do so, Beacon enters the community to spread the word about advocacy by participating in local NAMI and Out of Darkness Walks, engaging in Zero Suicide efforts, serving homeless shelters, and more. Advocacy knows no boundaries.
Health: In a world where many, if not most, sit to do their jobs, the primal urgency of good health eludes us. We don’t need great lung capacity or toned muscles to sit at a computer all day. However, getting on a bike, even if it’s just for 10 miles, reminds us that we are still physical beings whose bodies – and minds – need to be cared for. Some comments include “I haven’t been on my bike for over a year”; “I can feel my legs burning”; and “I should do this more often”. If we can recognize the importance of our own personal health and advocate for it, good health becomes a lifestyle that we can bring to the workplace and to our jobs. Health, then, becomes a flesh-and-blood reality and not an abstraction.
The U.S. health care delivery system is still trying to find its way to meet the IHI’s Triple Aim. Likely, it will be a while yet before we’re successful. Beacon asks that you find your own version of the Triple Aim to meet that larger goal. In the meantime, you can support Beacon’s advocacy efforts by donating to NAMI and MHA.
Photography credit: DMGoldstein Photography