Digital Health means different things to different people. Its scope however seems pretty clear, in that it involves mobile health (sometimes known as mHealth), health information technology (HIT), wearables, personalized medicine, and telehealth/telemedicine. Despite the relatively broad scope and sometimes varying meanings, one thing is absolutely clear: digital health represents the convergence or immersion of health related technology into our daily lives. Although still in its relative infancy, in theory, this should allow us all to lead better and simply healthier (and arguably more productive) lives….if we all do it right.
For payers and providers, digital health represents a new frontier – one that is rapidly evolving, often at so fast a pace that it is impossible to keep up. Nevertheless, the future beckons and it is up to the industry to embrace it and adopt it in a manner that is consistent with its higher values. However, two significant challenges - among many others at this point - present themselves at this juncture in the digital health story. One is the ability to separate the proverbial "wheat from the chaff" and the other is to then deploy strategies – at scale - that cost effectively work at actually improving healthcare. It is important to note however that what works in one part of the country may not work in another. Nevertheless, below are some of the things happening in digital health today.
- Conducting physical therapy sessions in the comfort and familiarity of a patient's home using virtual or augmented reality.
- Obtaining a medical opinion for that skin spot or mole via telemedicine using highly accurate and advanced imagery. True
care coordination via a single platform or record
- Simply and clearly documenting your long term care or end-of-life preferences
- Profiling and analyses at the bio-molecular level
- Using wifi to monitor not only just your door bell or kids coming home from school but also aging parents movement/sleep patterns or propensity for falls
- Actually transforming behavior using evidence-based, data-driven care management to result in more real (and better) chronic care outcomes
- Using digital health to combat – and conquer - opioid addiction
- Improved medication therapy management (MTM) and medication adherence
- Using games and gamification to improve memory and retention
- EMT's triaging someone instantly using a handheld device leading to smoother patient flow at an ER and more effective overall medical response
- Improving concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) response right on the field of play
- Having an aging parent walk down memory lane without leaving their home or care facility
While the items above represent a small fraction of the various digital health initiatives going on in the world today, they represent meaningful ways to not only control a Payers Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) but also significantly improve individual lives. Many of these will be embraced over the coming months and years as we more specifically move from general population health management (PHM) initiatives to more personalized ones. Others will falter for a variety of reasons including industry resistance and apathy. One way to increase success rates however, is to work with reinsurers who understand digital health and its emerging ability to impact high cost and catastrophic claims, and tail risk along with financial implications and risk exposures. As many payers today struggle to come up with a remedy for their current digital health challenges, we have been deeply engaged with our Digital Catalyst teams to develop remedies for today's complex healthcare environment. What's your remedy?
Location: United States