Digital health management can generate large amounts of data from patients’ interactions with their mobile clinical programs, as well as from digital communications with their care teams.

Editors note. This blog was originally posted on OliverWyman.com.

The health industry is at a tipping point. Empowered consumers now expect more convenient, on-demand service options from their healthcare organizations, just like they do for their retail organizations and beyond. In the world of healthcare, however, increasingly competitive health plan contracts and employer requests for proposals expect innovation and differentiation. New entrants, capitalizing on high costs and poor engagement, are siphoning off business from traditional players while some frustrated large employers are threatening disintermediation altogether.

What does it all mean? The status quo in healthcare is no longer an option. Organizations that thrive in this era of disruption must reinvent their approach.

Digital health management combines technological innovation with transformation services to give people the support they need, when and where they need it. It has the power to shake up “business as usual.”

Here are four specific digital health management core competencies to drive patient engagement and satisfaction, improve outcomes, and differentiate your organization in today’s competitive market.

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Support the whole person with a comprehensive solution

Most organizations acknowledge that patients need more holistic support to improve their health — but few feel they have the tools to accomplish this. Many organizations organize their teams around particular conditions. Or, they’ve invested in multiple point solutions such as wellness programs, condition-specific apps, or texting services. While well-intentioned, this approach can quickly overwhelm patients.

Organizations must enact more practices that support the whole person, improve the patient experience, and demonstrate differentiated value. Instead of leaving patients with multiple apps to manage, or many care teams to communicate with, organizations should offer health guidance tied to a single solution. This solution may, for instance, include chronic or complex conditions, comorbidities, care transitions and care navigation, lifestyle, wellness, and social components. Personalized solutions like these will more likely result in patients feeling more supported, more engaged in their clinical programs, and better able to independently manage their health.

Generate insights that enable early interventions

Digital health management can generate large amounts of data from patients’ interactions with their mobile clinical programs, as well as from digital communications with their care teams. A digital health solution that harnesses this data as analytics can create unique insights into patient needs and behaviors, insights that extend far beyond the four walls of in-person care.

Care teams can then better assess patients’ progress to provide timely, proactive support. An effective digital health management solution also leverages survey instruments from mobile apps to gather important social determinant data, like whether a patient has difficulty picking up their medications. Interaction with two-way messaging or video chat can help care teams build long-term patient relationships, and in so doing, uncover important insights they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

Extend the reach of staff to engage more patients

By embracing digital health management, care teams can deliver holistic, personalized, and timely support that helps them develop long-term, trusted patient relationships and improve outcomes.

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An effective digital health management solution will help care teams work more efficiently, and at greater scale. Care team transformation is a critical component of this work. One such example is a concierge approach, sometimes referred to as a “hub and spoke” model, where a care team includes a staff member serving as a single point of contact to address all patient needs. This staff member can do research, solve issues, and find convenient and affordable care options for you. Remember — digital health solutions can never replace the personal relationships care teams have with patients. Instead, they should help staff reimagine how to better support patients.

Deliver measurable value and continuous improvement

Many organizations struggle to identify the appropriate patient populations to address and/or quantify the overall impact of the optimization programs they implement due to missing, incomplete, or ineffective digital health management solutions.

An effective digital health management solution can establish a clear framework for targeting, enrolling, and engaging patients. Once patients are onboarded, data generated from descriptive and predictive analysis can be leveraged to improve decision making at the operational level. This same data can quantify the overall impact of digital health management programs. Ultimately, this measurement can strengthen organizations by enabling them to continuously improve patient outcomes while differentiating their services.

Chase Zaputil is chief growth officer Wellframe.

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