23 Oct Utilizing Technology to Build a Continuum of Care
Each year, Mayo Clinic’s Transform symposium offers a place for healthcare innovators to reimagine and redesign the current challenges facing healthcare. A keynote speaker at this year’s event, Vaughn Kauffman, discusses the impact of consumerism on the healthcare industry and how health insurers play a central role in controlling expenses and improving quality. Principal at PwC’s Health Industries Advisory Services, Kauffman has served a variety of health insurers and providers focused on information technology and business operations. Recently, his work has revolved around examining health care reform and innovation in health care information technology to identify ways to achieve efficiencies across the health care field by improving quality and accountability of care.
Opening his presentation, Kauffman asks the question, “Are there ways that businesses with a large consumer base can get involved in healthcare? Do we really understand what we need?” Currently, we are operating at an intersection between traditional and nontraditional healthcare. In order to improve the healthcare experience, innovation needs to occur within the business models of traditional companies by looking to other industries that have moved from an analog to a digital world. The technology and automotive industries are prime examples of meeting and exceeding customer expectations in order to build brand loyalty, which has led to product loyalty. The healthcare industry can learn from these front runners by better aligning to customer expectations, shifting from a system of limited hours and standardized treatment plans to one featuring personalization of treatment and protocols.
Intrigued by the idea of innovating the delivery of healthcare, Kauffman and a team of researchers surveyed 1000 patients to gauge interest on leveraging technology in health practices, asking questions such as, “Would you use a home diagnostic kit to test for a strep throat?” According to Kauffman, 82% of survey respondents said they were open to trying new, non-traditional ways of seeking medical attention or treatment. Patients are willing to use new technologies that focus on their needs and desires. In another example, researchers developing a simple test for adult Group A Strep calculated their tool could prevent up to 780,000 doctor visits annually. Across just the 13 areas that Kauffman’s team looked at, it generated over $64 billion of provider revenue.
Kaufmann suggests that there are a few trends that need to happen in order to transform the current healthcare system into one focused on providing personalized medicine. First, a shift in the demographics needs to occur. Improving consumer empowerment by actively engaging consumers and asking them to bear more responsibility will create savvy users that will be able to navigate the healthcare maze. From a technological standpoint, a merging of social, mobile, analytic and cloud usage also needs to occur. Finally, the delivery model of healthcare needs to shift to one of “care anywhere.” Today, there are already online services that offer the ability to evaluate digital photos of rashes, moles and skin conditions or connect a consumer with a physician within an hour for a flat fee. Middle-aged consumers, caring for their kids, themselves and perhaps their parents, are most open to new, affordable, convenient digital, DIY, home-oriented options. Creating technologies to increase patient experience will change the way we think about the business model of healthcare.
Kauffman emphasizes that this new business model is not meant to replace physicians, but rather allow them to better understand the needs of their patients. Integration of “in-home” medicine would allow physicians to have a comprehensive view of the patient’s story, even when they are not physically in the office. These efforts are about creating partnerships with institutions by transforming the way that we provide care and how we think about the current delivery model. Kauffman concludes his thought-provoking presentation with the following takeaway, “By building a continuum of care we can create an experience versus an independent product or service.”