By 2018, IDC Health Insights estimates that 70 percent of healthcare organizations worldwide will invest in consumer-facing technology including apps, wearables, remote monitoring, and virtual care. It is impossible to miss the impact technology is having in healthcare, forever changing how caregivers interact with patients and how patients interact with their own health.
As digital health technology continues to transform the healthcare landscape, one of the emerging drivers of digital health monitoring is the introduction of new reimbursement and payment models. As we experience a shift from fee-for-service compensation to value- and outcomes-based patient care, providers will benefit from increased payments from payers due to better patient outcomes, and fewer relapses and readmissions. Simultaneously, payers have the opportunity to save money on claims with better patient outcomes, fewer relapses and readmissions, and the prevention of medical crises due to early detection, ultimately earning higher ratings and receiving increased reimbursements from government sources, such as Medicare.
As the industry changes drastically to prioritize the patient experience, wearable technology and remote monitoring across health systems and hospitals are also becoming more commonplace. New technology allows patients to become active and effective participants in their care and to provide their doctors with data and insights in real-time.
Imagine this – post-surgery, patients can text daily survey responses to their doctors to rate their pain levels. If they are not recovering within normal parameters, the doctor can intervene and proactively adjust treatment. Or, if another patient suffers from heart risk, there are wearable apps that monitor his heart rate in real-time and alert caregivers when he is at risk of entering a danger period.
Technology continues to evolve the patient experience for not only the patients, but for everyone around them. Mothers of young children with Type 1 childhood diabetes can soon rely on blood sugar monitors that will provide minute-by-minute alerts, save the data and directly report patterns to the doctor and / or caregiver, preventing the possibility of emergencies due to a delayed response.
New studies are even showing that seniors are adopting digital and mobile tools to better manage their healthcare and communicate the status of their health on an ongoing basis to doctors and care managers. In fact, we’re beginning to see more individuals choosing home-based care over nursing homes and assisted living facilities as technology is now enabling patients and their family members to communicate with physicians, pharmacists and other medical professionals from disparate locations. Telehealth, digital consultations and online social media support networks are just some of the ways technology is improving the patient experience and enhancing the quality of care at home.
These advances keep patients from feeling isolated, alleviate stress and anxiety for family members and provide clinical caregivers more accurate information and the ability to be more proactive in their care.
In addition, the design and user experience for patient-facing mobile health technology is becoming more accessible with usability at the forefront of any design technique. Using innovative software, incorporating creative design-thinking and staying in compliance with the FDA, HITECH and HIPAA, doctors will continue using specialized mobile healthcare apps for better patient care delivery in the coming years. As the focus on the patient experience remains a priority for healthcare providers, mapping patient journeys will continue to help advance mobile technology. A patient’s journey is never linear and by allowing designers to empathize with these experiences, a better digital experience can be created and achieved.
Innovative technology solutions are becoming the industry norm. Mobile healthcare applications are widely accepted, helping doctors and clinicians access patient data and allowing patients to access health and wellness tools wherever they are. This soon will become the standard of care, making further advancements the true differentiators. The race is on and it will be exciting to see what comes next.