It has been a busy October for healthcare events! Three notable events the Rimidi team attended this month were HLTH23, the Medical Association of Georgia Annual Meeting, and the Remote Patient Monitoring Summit in Hollywood, Florida.
While each event had a unique focus, there were some overlying themes in both the sessions and discussions we had with other attendees.
Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
Of course, AI was the hot topic. Many of the sessions at HLTH were focused on how to navigate the many options available. Providers are asking whether they choose a product within their existing ecosystem—like AWS—or look into new options or try multiple options. Right now, the consensus is there is no consensus on which solutions will end up being the leaders. There is a lot of hesitation when it comes to using AI in frontline clinical decision making, with concern about risk, bias, and model drift. Outside of clinical decision making, AI’s role in driving efficiencies will continue to expand rapidly.
Demand For and Challenges with GLP-1s
Aside from AI, GLP-1s were a key focus, and much more tangible in the day-to-day for clinicians.
There is a lot of friction and frustration around high consumer demand, but limited affordability, availability, and insurance coverage. Prior authorization hurdles are time-consuming and inefficient for clinicians and office staff—and of course frustrating for patients!
At the same time, there is growing concern about direct-to-consumer or employer-based programs offering GLP-1s with less medical oversight, as well as “prescribe-it-and-forget-it” behavior by some clinicians who have been able to get these drugs covered for their patients.
Not only should patients’ weight loss be monitored and the prescription actively managed, but metrics like glucose and blood pressure may need to be monitored and medications adjusted as individuals lose weight. For these reasons, we had many conversations with clinicians about the need for GLP-1s to be part of a larger patient education or remote monitoring program.
Disruptors in Healthcare Delivery
Similar to the concerns about consumer weight management programs focused on GLP-1s, we speak with many healthcare providers who are frustrated by direct-to-consumer virtual care programs being rolled out by retail giants and new entrants in healthcare. In their view, these programs potentially create a disconnect between the doctor and the patient, creating more patient data silos and making it harder for the doctor to have a complete picture of their patients’ health. Yet if we think about patients as consumers, we need to acknowledge that consumers are looking for convenient, quality and cost-effective care.
Health systems need to find a way to move faster in deploying virtual care models like Remote Patient Monitoring in order to compete and to retain their patients in this rapidly evolving market. They are facing the challenge of deploying new care models while also navigating evolving payer contracts as well as ongoing mergers and acquisitions.
The Growing Nurses and Physician Shortage
Underlying all of these themes is the elephant in the room – the growing healthcare workforce shortage. Nurses, physicians and informatics staff are just three categories of workers facing dramatic shortages which are imposing limitations on patient care and programs at health systems and clinics.
Over half of health systems lost money in 2022. One of the underlying reasons for operational losses is the increased cost of delivering care which is largely due to the increased cost of nursing. Combine that with an aging physician workforce and 10k baby boomers turning 65 every day, and it’s apparent that we will need to both recruit more people to healthcare as well as find efficiencies in care delivery. These efficiencies will largely be powered by technology, including the technologies mentioned above: artificial intelligence and remote patient monitoring.
To learn how Rimidi can support your health system or practice navigate the workforce shortage while offering scalable chronic disease management programs, contact us today.
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