Digital Health Priorities: Patient-Centered Care

Patient care

COVID-19 pressed hospitals, health systems and providers to accelerate digital health adoption and utilization. Now health systems work to comprehensively implement digital health solutions and seamlessly integrate them across system operations and all along the continuum of care.

This is one of the key takeaways found by Becker’s Hospital Review after consulting with providers, health plans and tech experts late in 2020. COVID-19 and Healthcare’s Virtual Transformation, published by Becker’s, Google Cloud and Amwell, describes three themes critical to healthcare’s virtual transformation. “Marriage of virtual + in-person care” is key: “The future of care will not involve binary choices between virtual and in-person care but will rather merge these modes of delivery to provide comprehensive, continuous care through a new blended model.”

The whitepaper makes an important distinction, however. This blended model incorporating virtual care “is not about replicating the in-person experience. Instead, it is an opportunity to reimagine care delivery in a new way. Technology should serve as the vehicle to support new patient focused [emphasis added] care models.”

This opportunity should be the number one goal and primary focus of all players – hospitals, health systems, providers, health plans, digital health innovators, and investors – as they rush to capitalize on healthcare’s digital transformation.

The third key theme, per Becker’s, is the importance of “unified, interoperable, data analytics platforms: Providers, health plans, and technology innovators will not be able to deploy in-person and virtual care synchronously without seamless data exchange across their organizations.”

Important in and of itself, data analytic platforms also will be critical to achieving patient-centered care.

Maximizing digital health’s potential to reimagine care delivery will mean that patients and their providers can access all records, medical history, and test results in real time to avoid duplication and delay. It will mean smooth scheduling and informed handoffs among providers and specialists for appointments and in hospitals. It will mean patients are notified when wellness actions are needed and checkups due. It will enable transparency and understanding of cost and billing.

And that is just the basics.

Data analytics and big data will advance our ability to measure quality and patient safety and achieve better outcomes as the performance and effectiveness of treatments, protocols, products and services are more precisely measured and that information is broadly and readily shared. And then you get to digital solutions revolutionizing medicine from artificial intelligence to biotechnology and the genome, robotics, and so forth.

It is an exciting time to be in healthcare. Time to seize on all the wonders and potential of the digital health revolution while reshaping the health system to put a laser focus on the patient.

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