New-market entrants from retail and consumer electronics are challenging the industry with innovative paradigms for care – re-establishing the potential of digital health – and driving established healthcare organizations toward consumer-centricity.

Last week, Validic CEO Drew Schiller, Cleveland Clinic Medical Director of Digital Health Dr. Peter Rasmussen and Humana SVP of Humana Wellness Solutions Jeff Reid came together to discuss the three key trends and innovations in digital health for the upcoming year. 

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Trend One: Healthcare will focus on incorporating ‘whole health’ measures, alongside standard clinical measures, to drive behavior change in condition management programs.

Why is healthcare moving towards the measurement of ‘total health/whole health?’ What new data are being sought as a result? 

“When you combine these data to create a whole picture of what is actually happening with an individual, it allows organizations to personalize interventions and deliver care that is going to be really personally meaningful to the individuals receiving that care and will ultimately drive healthier behaviors and improve outcomes,” said Schiller

In what ways do you see the use of social needs and personal health data driving advancements in health equity?

“A lot of what I hear talked about focuses on wellness initiatives. We’ve (Cleveland Clinic) found tremendous traction with our clinicians in using connected devices with patients who are sick. By using things such as connected blood pressure cuffs, we are able to fine-tune the management of these patients, and that has shown good improvement of medication adherence and disease control.” said Rasmussen. 

Trend Two: Roles will continue to blur between payers, providers, and new market entrants – driving consumer competition and data-driven innovation (retail, consumer electronics, private equity)

How are consumer-focused companies driving market innovation and consumer expectations? 

“Humana recently established a partnership with Walgreens in Kansas City. As part of that partnership, we set up a concierge health navigator desk in the retail store and it’s used by Humana members or Walgreens customers to help access, navigate, and get general information. More and more, people are also asking how to use digital tools to engage in their health. So there is a pretty neat role for a lot of these retailers to play,” said Reid.

“We recognize that digital tools are very important for patients and their engagement. It’s an expectation among younger and older generations that digital tools be available to help track their health and access their healthcare. We’ve instituted things very similar to Apple-style Genius Bars in our main campus hospital so when patients are prescribed digital tools like our mobile app, virtual video visits, or connected devices like blood pressure cuffs, scales or remote cardiac monitoring devices, we have a patient-facing or patient-friendly team of individuals who are there to help patients get set up on these digital tools and that we can extend the reach of our care into the patients home,” said Dr. Rasmussen.

What do you see as the largest barrier for health plans and systems trying to innovate with technology?

“One of the biggest barriers I see to this technology-driven innovation is really operational infrastructure and capabilities and focus to implement these solutions. The programs that Validic has been a part of at least have shown strong clinical success and the ability to actually improve outcomes for patients but only when the operational strategy is in place from the health plans and health systems,” said Schiller

“One of the biggest barriers is that is the ability to share private information and to have the right permission to keep those permissions current for the interoperability of the conversation between care teams. Humana has worked diligently over the last couple of years to strengthen our ability to provide access to caregivers as they are shepherding their loved one through their care regimen,” said Reid. 

Trend Three: New care delivery models and added plan offerings will challenge industry status quo.

What do we expect from Medicare Advantage of the future? 

“We can expect a lot of change in Medicare Advantage of the future. We will see more of our ability to take advantage of providing specific capabilities for those that are managing very unique chronic conditions, more sharing of data interoperability, and a more expansive use of Medicare Advantage as we look to provide more solutions to provide more healthcare to more individuals,” said Reid

With the growing prioritization of condition management, what strategies are driving outcomes within these programs? 

“Condition management can have a very good success story when you integrate data and you use that data through the care system. I think there’s more to come with that as more people become comfortable with sharing their information and as the interoperability of our systems accrete ways to ingest that information so that we can connect it with clinical information to drive better outcomes,” said Schiller. 

To learn more, watch the webinar on-demand here. 

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