This year’s HLTH Conference in Boston attracted more than 6,000 attendees from around the world. One thing was abundantly clear: as businesses begin to navigate the post-pandemic world, there is power in collaborating together in person. From panel sessions to the exhibit hall to smaller networking meetings, ideas poured through. Innovators are being strategic in their efforts to move healthcare forward.
As a first-time attendee, I absorbed as much as I could. Here are my three key takeaways from HLTH 2021:
1. Aligning value-based care in a digital world
Value-based care is currently a center-of-mind model in the healthcare industry. It is a proactive approach to care that improves healthcare outcomes and reduces cost. Patients are not charged for each individual procedure and treatment. Instead, they are charged based on the overall outcome. The transition from a fee-for-service to a value-based care model is changing population health management.
The digital health revolution has a large role to play in actualizing a value-based world from streamlining data and standardizing care pathways, to tracking screenings and providing motivation for practicing healthy habits.
In the session, “How Microsoft is Enabling the Next Generation of Patient Care and Collaboration,” Dr. David Rhew, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Healthcare for worldwide commercial business at Microsoft, discussed the importance of improving patient outcomes through interoperability and artificial intelligence. Rhew described Microsoft’s AI voice-based language processing technology that can turn voice into text and integrate it into the Electronic Medical Record. A key benefit of digital tools like this is they boost efficiency, allowing the physician to get back to what they got into medicine for in the first place: caring for the patient.
And, no matter what industry you’re in, you may have noticed your employer focusing a bit more on personal well-being initiatives. Digital applications supplement the support of personal wellness and prevention under a value-based model while reducing costs. Daily text reminders to take medication or calorie counter apps are examples of digital tools that can motivate people and help prevent health complications before they arise.
2. Ensuring equitable innovation
Health delivery services and technology are advancing to the point where patients and physicians have access to health data at the tip of their fingers. However, not everyone can afford this luxury. Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) play a large role in health equity. Regardless of external factors, every person deserves equal access to healthcare and health education.
How are we assessing SDOH?
Keeping patients at the center of care and being more informed about a patient's status, lifestyle, and environmental factors, is a step in the right direction. Artificial Intelligence models are being created that can predict SDOH risk. Virtual surveys play a huge role in tracking SDOH. Rimidi’s Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO's) tool, Survé, delivers questionnaires to patients in real-time that help assess SDOH and connect patients to resources. However, we must consider where this aggregated data goes and how it is used to improve care for patients where SDOH is a factor. Patient-oriented healthcare requires accessible technology to provide transparency. It allows people to make sense of numbers and provides the development of new understanding within the health community.
What role do companies play in making personal health tools accessible to all?
Companies must prioritize creating goals surrounding health equity. In the session titled, “Blurring the lines of Healthcare Devices,” the CEO of AliveCor, Priya Abani, said that goals to ensure that healthcare innovation is equitable must be held at the corporate level of companies. For example, what should people do that do not have cellular data to download medical records? Companies should prioritize having their remote platforms accessible on not only iOS devices, but Android devices too.
The care journey can’t happen in a vacuum, or just in the virtual realm—a more collaborative approach can ensure that patients get the access to the tools and care they need. Healthcare companies must think of the whole person and approach each patient as a human first.
3. Modernizing Medicare and Medicaid
Everyone wants longitudinal care but our nation’s economic incentive does not support it. Medicare and Medicaid need sufficient funds to cover costs and benefits. As the health industry pivots, the Biden Administration must consider the user experience across all benefits programs. Acknowledging state level and systemic structure issues is one place to start.
A ‘listening-first’ approach should be utilized that considers one's personal and lived experience. Systems are slow; yet vulnerable populations need resources to be allocated quickly. For example, vulnerable populations might be at a high risk for COVID-19 and other health conditions. In terms of coverage, screening and referrals are not enough to fully move towards a proactive, continuous model of care. Payment parity for care models like Remote Patient Monitoring that encourage continuous care rather than just static in-person, episodic care help. Lastly, it is important to recognize when interoperability rules and regulations are not working and make changes. Benefits cannot have assumptions. People change jobs and need to move, some people live with family members, some are homeless. Policy makers must ask what the demographic under consideration looks like. Data speaks volumes and can relay the message that some areas need targeted programs and interventions.
The Rimidi SMART on FHIR platform helps clinicians streamline and make sense of patient data and informs better decisions at the point of care. To learn how we can support your virtual care initiatives, visit Rimidi.com/solutions.
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