Technology is revolutionizing the business side of healthcare and building tools to help people manage their health. Alongside technology, value-based healthcare has become the best way to reduce health costs and create good patient outcomes.
As Sachin H. Jain, president and CEO of CareMore Health, writes in Forbes, "Value-based care delivery organizations eschew medical paternalism in favor of radical patient-centeredness -- letting patients define what matters most to them, and focusing on that."
Personalizing healthcare delivery can create better outcomes for patients, and it creates a competitive advantage for healthcare providers. Here are four key ways providers can personalize care and take advantage of these new, value-based systems.
Embracing Patient-Engagement Platforms
Health management is becoming a digital experience for many Americans, and that's the space in which healthcare providers will need to engage.
Pegasystems' Janice Young argues that providers should frame "healthcare interactions" as opportunities to engage patients. "What if, like a typical retail experience, health plans provided customized and targeted information to consumers when they might use it?" she writes at Healthcare IT News.
There are many innovative patient-engagement platforms on the market, and the choice can be daunting. Providers should focus on two main areas:
- Does a platform meet a patient's basic needs? "Simple needs such as efficiency, better information access, finding and scheduling physician appointments and availability of personal contact," writes Gayatri Gopal from SAP's Personalized Medicine on LinkedIn.
- Does the platform have rigorous security and privacy standards? "The basis of improved patient communication is going to be efficient communication between patient and caregiver in a secure and private manner," HealthcareScene.com founder John Lynn writes.
Once a platform is decided on, it's time to put it to work.
Using Engagement Platforms to Empower Patients
Historically, healthcare providers only had limited time to share crucial health information with a patient. But, with always-on connectivity, a patient is more in control of his or her health. An informed patient can discuss care provision in detail and share or lead the decisions on next steps.
It can be hard for medical professionals to let patients guide the decision-making process. "Remembering we are treating a person, not an illness, is a key to making decisions a shared endeavor," oncologist Dr. Don S. Dizon writes at KevinMD.com.
Doctors often face situations where they're uncertain how to proceed with a patient's care. Most patients can't shoulder that kind of decision-making burden. That's why collaboration and transparency around treatments is the only way patient empowerment can work.
Terri R. Fried, MD, writing for The New England Journal of Medicine, recommends a couple of ways doctors can frame those conversations:
- "This is a really hard decision because we aren't sure what will happen if you choose option x; let me show you how I think about this, and you can tell me whether it fits with what's important to you."
- "Let me tell you about the pros and cons of options x and y so that you can decide which one matches your priorities."
Telehealth provides a critical part of this shift.
Extending Healthcare Provider Reach With Telehealth
Telehealth technology is becoming an ultimate enabler of cost reductions, better patient experiences and care access. World Clinic argues it's also essential to personalized medicine because it lets doctors continuously monitor each patient.
A healthcare provider could use patient data to make accurate predictions on future health needs and to create personalized, targeted treatments.
Martin Kohn, MD, shares an example at SearchHealthIT on how data can create opportunities for better care. A patient with COPD, for example, could have his blood pressure, oxygen levels and breathing tracked over time. Then, when a pattern predicts the patient could become seriously ill -- even four or five days in the future -- the provider could alert the patient and recommend low-impact treatments to prevent the condition from worsening.
Watching for New Tools and Trends
Smart providers respond well to ongoing technological changes.
Researchers from PwC write at HBR that health data is changing how patients and doctors interact. "With patients now owning and interpreting their health data, they will enter every medical encounter armed with meaningful, personalized expertise."
By using technology to empower patients, we're all building a better infrastructure for American healthcare. The researchers at HBR hint at the same thing: "When expertise becomes tailored to the individual ... providers must add greater value through relationship-building and a deeper understanding of patient needs."
Consumers can control their own data and take it to the providers they choose through a network of APIs. As NantMobile CEO Fay Arjomandi writes at TM Forum, "Patients are the starting point and own and control their data as they do in the physical world. With the consent of the patient, historical healthcare data becomes seamlessly accessible. Not only can it be used by care providers, but it can arm them [patients] with the knowledge to ask the right questions and demand the right treatment."
That's the very definition of a value-based healthcare system.
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Tags: Health Innovation, Healthcare consumerism, Providers