HIMSS21 was hosted in Las Vegas this year in the middle of the pandemic, and a single resounding message during all discussions, panels, and presentations was clear: empathy. Although HIMSS21 might be over, our work to help shape healthcare to provide better patient care is only beginning. If you missed the What’s Next: Continuing to Enhance the Care Experience panel, here are some of the highlights on care management.
What is the current state of Patient Care Experience?
During the pandemic, there was a rush to get online and provide care remotely. According to a study, baby boomers were just as likely, if not more, to request online, mobile, and remote care services during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic can be seen especially in the three areas of healthcare, and they are as follows:
1) Service: There was a tremendous rise in telehealth and remote care management services. Many organizations looked for a fast solution while others implemented the correct answers fast. The journey of implementing telemedicine strategy continues.
2) Products: Rise in wearables and mobile apps. Remote monitoring became necessary as patients were restricted from traveling to the hospitals for general checkups and follow-up visits.
3) Analytics: New use cases for AI were introduced during the pandemic to predict the needs around patient care to maintain the healthcare team’s utilization. There has also been a further exploration of blockchain for decentralized transactions.
Healthcare organizations took the first step of connecting patients to remote care, moving to the cloud, increasing the adoption of wearables and telehealth services, and introducing new use cases for the application of AI and Blockchain. However, what has been missing is putting the patient in the center and bringing it all together in one cohesive network. That’s what Simplus is working on with the help of Salesforce technology.
What else is missing currently in Patient Care?
From the care experience perspective, the solutions need to pay further attention to the care team and the care cycle. Organizations currently build solutions that only take patients into account. However, the family members and caregivers often are not included or considered in the care plan. The care cycle is also inaccurately focused on just the duration of the care. In reality, the actual care begins much sooner, ends much later, and is not limited to the time when you engage with the patients.
Where is the Patient Care Experience going next?
The future belongs to empathy-driven systems. Here’s what I mean by that: products used to be designed and introduced by one person’s intuition—the key decision-maker. Then we started to analyze data, and based on that analysis, we designed the next set of products. Engineers began to find ways to have data become a part of the design process itself, giving rise to data-driven decision-making in engineering.
However, that was not enough. The product looked good on paper, but it didn’t connect with the patients; it didn’t feel right. With design thinking, engineers began designing products centered around empathy, which is where we are today. The natural next step is to allow empathy to become a part of the system itself. The biggest question is, “what will that look like?” It’s early to tell, but we do know from early evidence that it will have an element of psychology, business agility, and unifying cloud technology like Salesforce.
What other external factors should be considered in Patient Care Experience?
I met with the Associate Counsel to the President of the United States about a month ago, and we talked about socioeconomic barriers to care and social determinants. On the one hand, technology is helping us to level the field by giving us an opportunity to provide equal care to all. On the other hand, it is surfacing new barriers to care, such as access to broadband for all.
The only way is to partner with other sub-verticals in the HLS ecosystem and with companies across different industries such as communication, media, technology, and public health to solve these challenges and barriers. At Simplus, we are developing solutions that put empathy and awareness of socio-economic barriers at the forefront by starting the conversation with industry-specific advisors.
What should healthcare organizations do to begin their Care Experience journey?
Leverage the art of possible. I spoke to a doctor who is teaming up with engineers to design a new hospital in London. With the capabilities of queuing theory, collaborative communication, and predictive modeling, the hospital was built with no check-in desks or waiting rooms. The patients can arrive at the hospital and walk up straight to the doctor, similar to the no wait time at Disney. Similarly, think about what you would like to do because you can practically design and build any level of care experience you can think of with the technology today. Therefore, think about others in the ecosystem—care is more holistic and impacts many.
What one piece of advice would you give to a healthcare company looking to implement a digital transformation strategy for Care Management?
Start with a greater level mission. As a healthcare organization, figure out what you are working towards, such as preventive medicine, and look at different factors from that lens. Develop a comprehensive cloud solution. Empathy will remain a part of the design. Don’t forget about the caregivers. Digital acceleration comes from combining your digital strategy with emerging technology. Don’t forget about the caregivers, and kindness matters!
Jayneel is VP, Healthcare & Life Sciences, here at Simplus. With a Ph.D. in engineering and MBA from Duke and over 15 years of experience, Jayneel designs and delivers empathy-driven innovative solutions in healthcare. He has developed digital strategies to reduce risk, increase visibility, and improve patient and member satisfaction. His passion is to enable better care through technology.