The transformation of the global health care system is being driven by 3 compelling forces –– consumerism, continuous care and care at home. Fueled by technology, these 3 Cs are building the future of the health care system.
Innovative health care technologies
Major world events have shaped the health care ecosystem for decades, but the worldwide pandemic has expeditiously compelled us to reevaluate the current care delivery system in the last couple of years.
Thanks to the exponential growth in innovative technological solutions, the health care industry is now speeding up the migration toward patient-centricity at an accelerated pace. Patients, too, increasingly seek clear and transparent information about their health and clearly defined treatment options.
This shift from standardization to personalization in health care has the potential to power a rapid evolution in the industry with quality, affordable care and superior outcomes.
Placing patients at the center of care
There is a rising trend of consumerization in health care. As the term suggests, it refers to a consumer-driven ecosystem, where patients are actively involved in making decisions about their care. As an extension of this trend, personalization in health care is also on the rise, where patients increasingly seek clear and transparent information about their health and treatment options.
Numerous studies corroborate these developments. According to research, about three-fourths of patients who receive leading medications for cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, etc., do not have the desired or expected benefits.
Conversely, pharmacogenomics testing/ whole-genome sequencing studies have identified that 40–80% of patients respond better to non-standard personalized drug regimens, further proving that when health care systems are tailored to serve the consumer, they create better and more cost-effective outcomes.
Technology has had a fundamental role to play here. Advancements like point-of-care and remote monitoring solutions are already reducing lag and delivering more value per visit with immediate interventions. Combined with population health stratification solutions that facilitate targeted personalized care, this shift to a consumer-centric system will only accelerate.
Continuous care: Enhanced access
As patients go through various stages of treatment with different providers, the lack of coordination and information integration leads to fragmentation of care and may hamper the quality of treatment. The evolution of the continuous care model aims to rectify this and enable better access for health care providers and consumers.
It has been reported that continuous care delivered through an impactful digital health care program that employs various digital tools, such as health monitoring devices and wearables, led to over two-thirds of the patients (71%) achieving target blood pressure control, compared to just about a third (31%) under usual care.
A 50% decrease in physical interventions for patients following a digital glucose monitoring program has also been noted; this has effectively doubled the capacity to manage patients with diabetes.
The top factors supporting the rise of continuous care are smartphones and other smart wearable devices. India has an estimated 930 million smartphone users while the smart wearables market is set to increase by a CAGR of 23.91% over the next 5 years.
Easy-to-wear devices require minimal physician support, while AR/VR technologies enable consumers to manage behavioral health in a non-clinical setting on a continual basis. Other health-tech drivers include mobile applications or chatbots that educate consumers on the actions to be taken based on real-time findings.
Providing round-the-clock assistance
The third “C” shaping the future of health care is “care at home” — providing high-quality clinical services to patients at the convenience of their homes. In addition to reducing the strain on hospital resources and staff, it is also a cost-efficient and convenient way to enhance patient experience.
Research states that about 40% of all hospital admissions can be managed at home. According to a study, at-home care programs have brought down the total cost of care by 32%, with shorter hospital stays for patients (3.2 days vs. 4.9 days), and a 15% decline in complications.*
MedTech innovations have not only scaled up care at home but also contributed to a more integrated health care model with portable health devices helping care providers track the physiological conditions of patients in non-clinical settings, including any adverse impact on health requiring emergency intervention.
Advancements like the imminent large-scare adoption of the 5G technology will further continue to support this shift with a sharp increase in the number of consumers who have access to health care remotely.
The future of health care systems
The future of health care will be defined by continuous care, delivered where consumers are and personalized to their needs. And we can trust the ongoing progression of digital technology to help us get there.
Real-time monitoring of clinical and non-clinical data coupled with analytic insights through IOT enabled devices and advanced predictive care, facilitated by AI, will power instant access to physicians across the world. This digitally progressive care system will also create a tremendous scope for careers in the field of health technology, presenting an opportunity for aspiring professionals to contribute to creating a healthier world.
As new talent continues to improve upon and develop new technologies, a superior care ecosystem will gain momentum, redefining how health care providers, policymakers and consumers approach, perceive and access care. Stakeholders will continue to bring consumers to the center the ecosystem and will further help people live healthier lives while making the health system work better for everyone.
This article, authored by Suresh Kumar Rajasekar, Vice President, Technology at Optum Global Solutions (India) Private Limited, was published in BW Healthcare World.
For more such content, please visit – www.optum.in