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Health in Motion Network – A Digital Future for Population Health

Columbus, OH – 4/9/2021.

There’s endless commentary about the difficulties and slowness in meaningfully evolving healthcare. Some of that has to distill down, simply, to the complexity of what underpins good health. A person’s wellness is almost unfathomably multifactorial, encompassing internal and external influences ranging from genetic predispositions to the weather.[1]

Moreover, it’s one thing to talk the talk about creating solutions that are whole-person and systemic in nature. It’s quite another to figure out, realistically and effectively, how to walk that walk. Health spending in the United States, at $3.8 trillion, accounts for 17.7% of the GDP.[2] Notwithstanding the extraordinary volume of resources expended in the interests of keeping people healthy, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more.[3]

Industry prognostication suggests digital enhancements will be relevant in remediating some of the strains on population health. A common complaint of healthcare is how fragmented and disassociated it is. This becomes especially problematic when a person is contending with at least one chronic illness, necessitating multiple providers, prescriptions, appointments, and lifestyle considerations. The digital influence is already visible in how we interact with healthcare as consumers.

In the last decade or so, the use of electronic health records has become essentially ubiquitous, with a handful of companies dominating the market. Many of us have become accustomed to using our phones or watches to track movement, sleep, and other personal data points. Conditions like diabetes have become exponentially more manageable with the advent of technology like continuous glucose monitors. Our predilection for using the internet for activities like shopping and making dinner reservations has begun to translate in the healthcare context; more providers now offer online scheduling capabilities.

What’s next, though? COVID-19 accelerated interest in telehealth solutions. Long discussed, but only patchily executed, telehealth has many potential upsides. Strategic, inclusive, and connected telehealth can do what has only minimally been achieved previously: facilitate continuity of care, and help consumers establish a true medical home, supported by their chosen providers.

Again thinking specifically about the chronically ill, and taking diabetes as an even more precise illustration, having a digitally centralized and accessible platform, through which people can directly connect with their pharmacists, doctors, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and any other needed health professionals has the potential to support better medication adherence, consumer-directed lifestyle modification, timely identification of any concerns needing attention, coordination among providers, and ultimately health outcomes and reduced costs. Consumers seem entirely open to a world that looks a lot like this, indicating through survey data they are ready to embrace telehealth modalities. [4]

Population health will never not be complex. Physical and social determinants of health are myriad and shifting. But offering digital solutions that are targeted, coordinated, and appropriately data-centric, valuing convenience and accessibility alongside quality, helps establish the foundations for a newly connected and outcomes-oriented healthcare system, modernized for the consumer, and meeting the needs of healthcare professionals.

 

 

[1] https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/about/foundation-health-measures/Determinants-of-Health

[2] https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm

[4] https://www.sykes.com/resources/reports/how-americans-feel-about-telehealth-now/

 

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Health In Motion Network delivers a consumer-centric, digitally enhanced healthcare ecosystem, enabling centralized and personalized, pharmacist-driven care management, empowering consumer choice and optimizing clinical outcomes.