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Let’s Get Personal – How Healthcare Organizations Can Better Activate Patients in their Care

Carina Edwards

September 10, 2021

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It’s been proven that an activated and engaged patient leads to better outcomes. So, why is it that healthcare systems have trouble activating patients in their care? It starts with making these solutions personal, to the patient, their family who supports them and to the healthcare providers who prescribe these solutions. This leap to bold transformation and personalization conflicts with the incremental, one-size-fits-all approaches we see today.

Why is it that people can find the time to binge watch six episodes of their favorite show, regularly engage on social media, or get lost in their TikTok For-You Page, but spend precious little time preparing for an upcoming surgical procedure? My thesis is that we in the healthcare industry don’t make the processes entertaining, fun or inspiring – and most importantly, we don’t make it personal. The issue often boils down to the industry’s imagination deficit and their one-size-fits-all approach for enterprise scale.

The Industry Imagination Deficit – A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Analyzing what solutions new technologies have to offer can at times feel more approachable when a singular use-case is clearly delineated; it’s often easier to look at gaps or problems in a pre-existing system and look to a point-solution to plug in and address the issue for patients with that need. But there’s an imagination deficit in the industry, which manifests through this one-size-fits-all approach and creates a habit of tackling issues with tunnel-vision based on generalizations about a specific population of patients rather than focusing on the individual person. This generic information leaves the patients and their caregivers more confused and seeking information from alternative sources, and ultimately disconnected in their healthcare experiences.

Looking to an integrated platform solution that can improve operations organization-wide or address the various needs of as many different kinds of patients as possible is essential. Those of us who work to improve health literacy and patient engagement know full well that personalizing tools to each patient is key. Imagine a digital experience where your doctor welcomes you to your journey and shares a custom playlist for your health journey, broken down into bite-size pieces of information served up at the just right time, that link you to all the right tools you need to take the next best action.

We need to take this approach into our conversations with provider and payor organizations when integrating digital health tools into their services and systems as well. Maximum-impact transformation is best unlocked through collaboration. As new technology can get pigeon-holed as a point solution with some of the scope of its capabilities unrealized, communication and collaboration between new digital innovators on the scene and the provider and payor organizations they serve is the path forward to unlocking the universe of possibilities digital health tools have to offer.

How to Leverage Digital Health Tools for Transformative Care and Engagement

Point solutions that can be applied for a particular use-case can modernize processes and improve outcomes in a particular area but can leave a system out of synch without organization-wide integration capabilities. This can lead to a disjointed experience for patients and their families. Particularly exciting new technology is often applied narrowly – even when the technology could be employed for broader and truly transformative improvement of care.

Stakeholders throughout an organization should be looped in on innovation efforts to maximize efficacy of digital health tools. Managing Directors at a hospital system for example should have access to key insights on the kinds of tools that best activate their patient populations in their care. And on an individual patient level, MD’s need insights into patient care plan adherence, health improvements, and more importantly, any health declines so that they can intervene in a timely manner for maximum impact in quality of care and outcomes. When players organization-wide are involved in the process, direction for future investments in innovation become much more clear.

Scalability necessitates that stakeholders evaluate new digital healthcare solutions through a lens of what could be to unlock the full capabilities technology has to offer. Platform solutions that may build off the same technology as a point solution require forward-looking vision from all parties – developers, care providers, digital health leaders and payors – to create impact at scale.

In order to move towards the transformation in healthcare and patient engagement that our current technology does have the power to spur, we need to view interoperability and org-wide implementation as a critical when discussing deployment of these solutions. Leveraging technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to transform care pathways into personalized, inspiring, engaging patient journeys that make patients active in their own care plans.

Organization leaders can work together to leverage these digital tools to meet patients where they are, gain an understanding of their digital and health literacy, and bring forward the best possible outcome, but this all starts with ongoing conversation between digital health innovators and the organizations and patients they serve to identify opportunities for maximum impact across systems.

Stakeholders must come together to take stock of the tools new digital health technology has to offer, and rather than incrementally incorporating digital tools that bring a one-size-fits-all experience to patients, ask “How can we transform the experience to keep patients and their families tuned in with their healthcare journey by providing guidance to their next best steps at exactly the right time for them?”

Originally posted on LinkedIn by Carina Edwards, Executive Officer at Quil. View here.