How Healthcare Consumerism and Big Data are Driving Innovations in Care
The mandate to bring down healthcare costs in America is not driven by any single factor. Public and private payors are steadily moving toward value-based reimbursements. Consumers have more invested in their health insurance and have become more cost-conscious as a result.
And as Modern Healthcare points out, annual U.S. healthcare spending already hit $10,000 per person in 2015, a figure that eclipsed Luxembourg’s second place position by 29 percent. The healthcare industry and the populations it serves cannot afford a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to achieving the Triple Aim of healthcare reform: better patient experiences, lower per capita cost of care and improved population health.
Let’s look at how two factors in particular—healthcare consumerism and healthcare analytics—are spurring innovations in care.
Healthcare consumerism and healthcare data inspire new care approaches
Acknowledging the pressure to transform the healthcare experience, Modern Healthcare cites a burgeoning innovation industry within healthcare made up of both young startups, venerable academic research institutions and pioneering hospitals and health systems. The innovations focus on a variety of goals, many of which address the shift to healthcare consumerism.
“With consumers bearing an ever-greater share of healthcare costs, they are much more engaged and are demanding more information about quality and costs and a better consumer experience,” said Ed McCallister, CIO at UPMC.
The switch to value-based care has forced hospitals and other healthcare providers to think about the patient experience across the whole continuum of care. This might not sound like innovation, but true care coordination—beyond the walls of a hospital or healthcare practice—is a rarity.
With the adoption of EHRs and improvements in interoperability and data sharing, what were once disparate puzzle pieces are coming together so that providers can identify gaps in the care continuum that contribute to higher costs and poorer outcomes.
For example, Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania has earned a reputation as healthcare delivery innovator, bringing together resources, facilities, and healthcare data to reduce readmissions and increase positive outcomes.
Modern Healthcare reports thatafter reviewing data on readmissions, Geisinger identified nursing home care as a problem area. The health system was able to reduce patient readmissions from nursing homes by 10 percent by monitoring patient progress—outside the four walls of the hospital.
Value and quality care options:
Healthcare consumers expect value and quality, and increasingly, payers do too. Healthcare data and analytics plays a crucial role in the “value + quality” equation. For example, hospitals can optimize service lines analyzing financial and clinical data.
By identifying variations in care relative to outcomes, the Cleveland Clinic has been able to deliver cost-effective, high-quality care packaged as bundled payment contracts. Since 2010, the Cleveland Clinic has been delivering the quality and value that healthcare consumers—and a number of large businesses including Lowe’s and Walmart—expect for cardiac care. More recently, the hospital system has expanded its bundled payments push to include hip, knee, and spine surgeries.
With more wallet-share on the line, healthcare consumers expect more from healthcare providers, and their expectations reflect the common advantages they find in experiences with retail, hospitality, and other industries—quality, value, convenience, and personalization.
Hospitals and other healthcare providers are taking a page from consumer-favorites like Amazon and Apple to improve patient experiences. Fast Company recently highlighted the “O Bar” at Ochsner Medical Center. Modeled after Apple stores, the “O Bar” curates a collection of doctor-recommended products such as iPads, activity monitors, wireless scales, and blood pressure monitors—along with reviews and recommendations for a wide range of health apps—to help patients find the right technology tools to assist them on their healthcare journeys. Less tech-savvy patients can also get personal demonstrations for how to use the devices and apps.
“The goal,” writes Fast Company, “is to give patients the tools to incorporate data that patients generate outside of the hospital, like their steps and sleep, into their electronic medical record. That gives their doctor insight into how they’re faring once they return home.”
How do you know which patients are most likely to embrace high-tech health products and apps? The use of psychographic segmentation can help. Psychographics focuses on the personal attitudes, motivations and expectations bring to healthcare, allowing healthcare providers to better understand consumers beyond broad demographic, geographic or economic generalizations.
By classifying patients using psychographics, providers can fine-tune messages, communication channels, and other personal preferences to improve engagement and deliver more relevant, and satisfying experiences. And that’s what hospitals need for their bottom line, too.
PatientBond, a company that automates patient engagement through emails, text messages and Interactive Voice Response, uses c2b solutions’ psychographic segmentation model to customize all communications to patients’ “healthcare personalities.”
Working with the Orthopedics department at Massachusetts General Hospital, PatientBond helped reduce hospital readmissions more than 75 percent for a form of spine surgery. PatientBond’s series of two pre-op and seven post-discharge communications helped patients understand what they needed to do to promote recovery and motivated them to act accordingly.
As Sarah Thomas, managing director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, notes, “The hospitals with higher patient experience scores are higher financial performers.” Are you ready to leverage healthcare data and analytics to innovate and win?