My one health IT prediction for 2018 is much greater adoption of digital health interventions, as wearables, online assessments, community-deployed biometric devices and more continue to proliferate the market and additional populations use them.
Without a doubt, it’s a dynamic time to work in healthcare. As my Geneia colleagues have articulated, 2018 promises to be another year of change, disruption and consolidation led, in part, by companies outside the industry.
For those who work in care management and population health, the turbulence is balanced by exciting improvements. Traditionally, healthcare has focused most of its resources on chronically and catastrophically ill patients. Increasing adoption of value-based care models and the affordability, understandability and resulting proliferation of technology means healthcare is now charged with identifying and engaging lower-risk and rising-risk patients.
Digital health interventions such as remote patient monitoring have a proven track record of improving outcomes and decreasing unnecessary costs for chronically ill patients with heart failure, COPD, and to a lesser extent, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. Geneia’s @Home remote patient monitoring program is one of many success stories. Through our combination of predictive analytics, technology and clinical support, we were able to reduce medical spend on heart failure patients by 50 percent while simultaneously slowing disease progression and improving patient outcomes and their satisfaction.
Moving Towards A More Complete Patient Profile
Advances in technology and analytics mean we are increasingly able to cost-effectively monitor patients with low or rising-risk and integrate that information into the comprehensive health record in a way that creates a more complete patient profile. In short, we’re able to use technology and analytics to evolve from an illness frame of reference for the chronically and catastrophically ill to a wellness journey for all patient populations.
That’s why my one health IT prediction for 2018 is much greater adoption of digital health interventions, as wearables, online assessments, community-deployed biometric devices and more continue to proliferate the market and additional populations use them.
The father of connected health, Dr. Joseph Kvedar, and I envision a time in the very near future in which we see more and more adoption of digital health strategies that are informed by and integrated with the patient’s clinical information: reminders sent to your iWatch (or the Samsung version); a text to hit a link with your meditation for the day; sleep pattern analysis and the connection between heart and overall health; email reminders about your status and goals for the past week; the ability to connect to an online community of support; and biometric devices deployed in grocery stores, pharmacies and even public libraries.
Digital Health Interventions Augment Human Interaction
As a nurse with a long tenure in healthcare and care management, I’m acutely aware that digital health innovations cannot and should not replace all human interaction. Instead, they augment and create the optimal time for the human intervention with as complete a patient view as possible and the most impact.
The opportunity – which, if done well, will benefit all stakeholders in healthcare – is to gather, integrate and use this data and the resulting more complete patient view to drive improved outcomes and personalized interactions with individuals regardless of their current risk profile. We will always direct resources to slow disease progression for the chronically ill, but increasingly we’ll be able to engage people to maintain their health before disease begins, such as prediabetic patient Lucy. Technology and analytics are critical to realizing and maximizing this opportunity, but just as importantly, is targeted and tailored human interaction.