On October 17th, 2021, healthcare industry leaders gathered at the 2021 HLTH conference in Boston for three days of networking, collaboration, and discussions about the current state of the healthcare industry and what the future will look like.
One of the recurring themes noted by our Head of Product, Christopher Young, was the discussion on how to “meet patients where they are” and the idea of “digital health 2.0.”
HIT Consultant published an article before the HLTH conference, 15 HLTH 2021 from Digital Health Executives to Watch. Christopher said, “We’ve seen massive investment in, and rapid adoption of, digital health over the past couple of years, and I expect that we’ll see a lot of discussion on where we are in the hype cycle. Given the growth that we’ve seen in the industry, the trends that I think we’ll see at this year’s HLTH are (1) Big Data management and its ability to facilitate a more proactive approach to care, (2) tangible use of AI in support of clinical decision-making, and (3) the rise of consumerism in healthcare, which has fast-tracked the need to develop best-in-class digital experiences for patients.”
These industry-wide buzzwords have surfaced over the course of several years as technology and innovation rapidly integrates with provider and patient interaction, and the imminent need for advanced solutions to coincide with bundled payments and value-based care models.
Meeting patients where they are is only one challenge. At Force Therapeutics, our team believes that the long-term goal should be to increase patient activation through provider-driven care technology.
The real challenge that strategic healthcare technology companies face is standing out in a continuously growing competitive landscape and truly delivering on uniting patients and providers, and equipping stakeholders with the most technologically advanced digital engagement platform to do so.
Trending Topics from HLTH 2021
What happened at the HLTH conference in 2021? In addition to discussing current issues, there were many trending topics of innovation that we can expect to see expand within the healthcare industry for years to come.
Here are the key topics that we will cover in this blog:
- Bridging the gap between stakeholders
- How to expand access and boost patient loyalty
- Investment trends in patient experience and engagement
- Risk-bearing models: Providers, Payers, Payments
- Accelerating technological advances to transform healthcare
- Getting personal with digitally-enabled care
- The evolution of reimbursement
- Forecasting telehealth’s trajectory
- How to evolve from reactive to proactive care with RPM
Telehealth and Health Tech: Bridging the Gap
Health equity needs to be a top priority of any technology you are considering integrating into your organization. There should be a significant amount of time and funds allocated to solutions geared toward eliminating health disparities and care variation.
Can technology solve health disparities?
There isn’t one tool that can completely resolve the global issue of health disparities, however, healthcare systems that work together to address identified care gaps will be the most successful, and drive the highest patient satisfaction and positive outcomes.
In fact, a recent HIMSS article discusses how we can ensure that advances in health technology does not perpetuate existing disparities. The interviewee, Stephanie Devnir says that information and technology experts and developers must partner with clinicians and patients to uncover all potential sources of bias, and address using more precise and comprehensive data that eliminates bias.
That’s why proper application of technology that is provider-driven and patient-centric design is crucial for accessible care for all individuals.
Professional burnout in healthcare is at an all-time high
At a time when professional burnout is happening at a higher rate for M.D.s and D.O.s, it is imperative for providers to streamline workflows as much as possible, while still providing the highest level of personalized care for individuals.
The Digital front Door to Expanding Access
If it costs five times more money to acquire a new patient than to retain one, this should be an indicator that identifying opportunities for organizational improvements is the predominant strategy to improve patient experience, and increasing word-of-mouth marketing and reputation management for the level of care you provide your patients.
Data liquidity allows organizations to make necessary information accessible, and meaningful for all stakeholders. Providers can analyze the patient data in real-time, and can allocate additional time to patients in need. On the other hand, patients can track their goals, progress and feel a sense of accomplishment as they advance their care instructions.
Investment Trends in Patient Experience and Engagement
ROI has been proven to be related to patient engagement in some instances, however without patient activation there is no patient engagement.
Patient engagement strategies continue to be crucial in maintaining outcomes and patient satisfaction on digital health platforms, however patient activation is an essential piece to the puzzle. Patient activation is a key component to remote care and same day discharge programs. Without high levels of patient activation, patient engagement data will not be indicative on the entire patient pool.
It is taxing for providers to be the only ones advocating and facilitating patient activation, which can lead to additional professional burnout. Providers need health partners to assist in activating patients and offer patient education, measuring compliance, and offering support for pre- and post-op care.
Accelerating Technological Advances to Transform Health Care
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rate at which technology was adopted into health systems to offer patients at-home care. Digital solutions such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) after same day discharge and remote physical therapy were adopted as a result of the pandemic, and these practices are here to stay.
The new holistic care approach
With all these new and groundbreaking technological developments within healthcare, one of the most important shifts in the healthcare landscape is the general alignment of patient focused practices where patients are no longer just discharged and left alone; a holistic care approach is gaining popularity, in which providers are able to follow their patients through their entire recovery journey.
The future of digital patient care
What does this look like for the future of digital patient care? Patients are able to do a lot more from the comfort of their own homes, and providers are able to have access to a patient’s information and progress without having to schedule an appointment. This alone reduces unnecessary readmissions and check-up appointments, saving time and resources for both providers and patients.
Furthermore, platforms such as Force Therapeutics allows for real-time data collection which is essential in early interventions leading to cost avoidance and unnecessary ER visits.
With so many new advances, patients have options, and it’s important for them to be aware of this. Many patients would prefer to recover without having to travel for physical therapy or unnecessary check-ups. This is a possibility for them if they’re at the right facility which utilizes the necessary technology, which will inevitably lead to patients being more selective in their care.
Getting Personal with Digitally-Enabled Care
Patients need to be given more room to take charge of their own health journeys, allowing for more holistic and personalized patient care journeys. Remote monitoring gives patients this room while still giving providers the resources they need to accurately gauge a patient’s condition and progress.
It is important to have a digital platform that can be catered to what a provider or care team needs, otherwise there is an overwhelming amount of data to analyze.
Force Therapeutics offers a provider dashboard that assists in collecting desired data points and summarizes them into actionable insights. This gives providers the freedom to draw conclusions and assess patients accurately without having to sift through large amounts of unwanted data.
Forecasting Telehealth’s Trajectory
Many people believed that the telehealth trend would be over after COVID-19 however, they weren’t considering prescribed telehealth where patients are given care instructions, exercises, and physical therapy, in a remote setting.
Remote care is here to stay
Telehealth in reference to virtual provider-patient appointments may decline as COVID-19 lessons, however remote care instructions are projected to only gain more traction as health systems experience first-hand the real value in the investment and long-term ROI.
According to this global report for digital health market size, the demand of global Digital Health Market size & share expected to reach to USD 220.94 Billion by 2026 from USD 84.08 Billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.8% during the forecast period 2020 to 2026”
Activating patients remotely with knowledge, skills, and confidence is a continuous theme in discussions about the future of healthcare, and many of these practices are facilitated through telehealth. Telehealth is also incredibly aligned with value based care, which has been a growing phenomenon in the healthcare industry and isn’t going anywhere.
Healthcare integration is key to a future in healthcare that consists of lower costs and saving resources and time.
There are questions healthcare systems and organizations must be asking themselves now:
- Is our care technology considerate of our on-the-ground clinicians/providers?
- Have we reached the real adoption curve of digital health? Are we just improving billing to drive up revenue, or are we actually improving cost? It’s a focus on “disruption”.
- Which companies have the primary focus on making things easier, better, and more efficient for doctors and their teams?
- We say patient engagement all the time, but what is actually key is patient activation. Are our patients willing, competent and active participants in their care decisions and processes?
- How do we digitally engage the patient to drive workflow improvements for on-the-ground providers?
Provider-driven care to automate workflows
One of the most obvious solutions that stuck out to Chris while considering these questions is something we specialize in at Force Therapeutics: Provider-driven care.
We work with our clients’ surgical teams to refine the list of procedures to have on the platform, and a list of procedure codes that will identify the correct protocol. With AI, our platform automatically create a patient account when an eligible procedure is scheduled. We also monitor cases as they come through and compare them to a weekly case extract for the first month.
The combination of our provider-driven care instructions and intuitive AI software allows us to help deliver personalized, high-quality care to patients at scale.
Interested in increasing your patient activation with Force Therapeutics? Reach out and schedule a demo with us.