Parks Associates' Connected Health Summit: Consumer Engagement and Innovation returns on Tuesday, August 31, for the sessions Virtual Health and Remote Monitoring and Connected Health Business Models from 11 AM to 4:15 PM CT. Brian Carter, Chief Operating Officer, Validic, is featured as an interactive panel member during the session Virtual Health and Remote Monitoring at 12:15 PM CT and will examine trending data on consumer familiarity, use, and demand for telehealth services and connected health devices, as well as gauge the user experience with telehealth services and investigate consumer appetite for virtual care as a standard offering, outside of crisis conditions. Prior to the session, Brian provided insights on how seniors can particularly benefit from technology and remote monitoring programs:
The public health emergency forced many organizations to break through inertia and move digital health programs to the top of their priority list. The past 18 months have served as a forced pilot of digital health. Now, we are entering a phase where organizations are looking to create true digital population health management programs at scale, requiring them to mature, refine, and systematize the approaches they took.
How has COVID-19 impacted the connected health market?
The public health emergency forced many organizations to break through inertia and move digital health programs to the top of their priority list. I think the rapid adoption helped organizations see that digital health was ready to add real value. Our clients have shared many examples where it simply wasn’t possible to do care in person and that meaningful, high-quality care was able to be provided entirely remotely — and for much broader populations than previously reached by using technology as a force multiplier. The past 18 months have, in many ways, served as a forced pilot of digital health. Now, we are entering a phase where organizations are looking to create true digital population health management programs at scale, requiring them to mature, refine, and systematize the approaches they took.
How have consumer attitudes towards connected health solutions shifted in the last year? Will shifts in consumer behaviors related to fitness, wellness, chronic care management, and care for senior populations outlast the COVID-19 crisis? How can solution providers keep consumers engaged over the long term?
The last year accelerated the shift toward on-demand services, and I think that growing consumer expectations for exceptional convenience will continue to expand in healthcare. The overwhelming evidence suggests that consumers expect on-demand and convenience services like curbside pickup, home delivery, and first-release entertainment on streaming services to continue as a “new normal.” Similarly, we’ve seen these expectations extend into healthcare, and we see no reason to expect consumers’ attitudes will revert to accepting a purely transactional, facility-centric model.
For seniors, in particular, I think this past year showed that technology and remote monitoring programs can help people live healthy, independent lives on their own terms. Facility constraints during the pandemic served as a microcosm of the long-term facility and practitioner shortages models predict for the next two decades in senior health. The strategies to address those long-term shortages will look similar: shifting more care outside of traditional facilities, using technology to enable staff to cover more patients’ needs, and continuing to work towards all professionals spending more of their time at the top of their license.
Across all populations, I believe organizations that leverage technology to create exceptional, convenient, and affordable healthcare experiences for their patients and members will win the day. Organizations that are able to stand out as being true partners in their member’s health will earn their long-term business.
The healthcare economy has been severely disrupted in this crisis, but regulations and reimbursement for connected health solutions are trending positive – how will these competing forces impact the growth of the connected health market?
When the pandemic started, we saw mountains of red tape set aside to enable the healthcare system to continue delivering vital care to the population. Regulations before the crisis treated telehealth as a backup plan for in-person treatment, but we've now seen that virtual care is real care and doesn’t need to be relegated to the “something is better than nothing” pile. While the CMS codes have been trending positively, and we’re glad to see more of the benefits of remote care recognized, it still doesn’t come close to accounting for the total value gained through digital health. Federal and local regulation catching up with the technology will help facilitate better tech-enabled health outcomes for more people.
We look forward to seeing more regulation focused on increasing access to virtual care and guidance that provides a reliable framework for providers to feel comfortable practicing in a virtual care model. In the meantime, we know that organizations with value-based-care models can take a broader view on the ROI of digital health and see the benefits to their bottom line through operational efficiencies, reduced readmissions, acute care reductions, and more.
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