The industry consensus is that COVID-19, for all its disruption and devastation, was effective at catalyzing the acceleration of innovation within healthcare. It is no secret that change tends to happen slowly in healthcare. There are a lot of reasons for that, among them the complexity, the institutionalized and intractable attachment to doing things the way they’ve always been done, the vast size of the U.S. healthcare system, and the staggering dollar amounts associated, as well as antiquated viewpoints about practice modalities, reimbursement, technology, and provider roles. Remarkably, shifts are currently observable within components of all those factors.
Endless reports underscore changing public attitudes about telehealth. Our strong position is that telehealth, including video-based care, should be part of a successful care management plan, complemented by appropriate and as-needed in-person care. The potential upsides to more comprehensive digital integration into healthcare delivery are myriad, including nothing short of better clinical outcomes and a more effectively and efficiently administered system altogether. We’re big believers in the bidirectionality of information. Consumers are making it clear they want to be a part of what’s going on with their healthcare. Effectively consolidating care teams, connecting consumers to their various providers, makes it possible to greatly enhance the timeliness and accuracy of care management.
We’ve got our eyes on a few evolving priorities within healthcare overall. One, for sure, is payments. The traditional, historical fee-for-service model has its weaknesses, to say the least. Volume-based reimbursement did not work during a pandemic when people were actively avoiding any non-emergent care, and sometimes even emergency care. Not only do providers need a better way to get paid, consumers deserve to know more about what they’re paying, and for what, and why. We’ve been glad to see more dialogue around value-based care and other approaches in recent months. Including, importantly, from the payers themselves.
One of the most exciting developments in a peri-COVID world is a more inclusive perspective around cross-sector collaboration. The future of healthcare will require the involvement of technology, and effective overlap has been abundantly noticed by the private sector, with entrepreneurs and financial backers clamoring to engage. Employers are eager for help to drive down costs while supporting their employees with meaningful benefits. There’s a willingness to come together to share ideas and execute what works.
This, eventually, has to involve the day-to-day practice of healthcare. Medicine has long been fully top-down. We’re seeing increasing stratification in terms of which providers are being empowered and equipped to do what. We believe that community pharmacists are poised for strategic advancement. Pharmacists are positioned, trained, and suited well to be care coordinators, coaches, and champions. Helping with medication adherence, disease and wellness counseling, and responding to consumer queries can be done in conjunction with care teams, contributing to better utilization and outcomes, and reduced costs.
We’ll see how these trends and more continue to progress. For now, we’re excited to be where we are, right in the middle of it all.
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.