Digital health technologies, particularly those designed to engage and empower patients, have the potential to address unmet health needs and deliver care in new, lower-cost ways. Information shared from electronic health records, the “cloud” and apps can help clinicians target conditions, measure and monitor patient outcomes, personalize treatments, and engage patients in their care. This briefing will examine innovative uses of digital health technology to engage patients and deliver care, with particular focus on high cost, high need patients.
A distinguished panel of experts discussed key policy, regulatory, and practical questions surrounding digital health technology.
If you were unable to attend the briefing, here are some key takeaways:
David Blumenthal (moderator) of The Commonwealth Fund
Ten percent of Americans use wearable technology and 75 percent believe it will improve wellness, David Blumenthal stated. Mobile technology that helps monitor health creates an opportunity to reduce costs for high-need, high cost patients (the 5 percent that account for 50 percent of health care spending), he continued. However, he cautioned, digital health services that foster more convenient access to care should not be viewed as a substitute for improving the nation’s primary care system.
Michael Blum, director, UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation
Investors will increasingly demand results from digital health technologies after initial enthusiasm wears off, said Michael Blum. Innovations to expect in the next year include: more sophisticated wellness devices, chronic disease management tools, pervasive use of telehealth, and integrated EHR systems that can help control costs for high-need, high-cost patients, he added.
Andrey Ostrovsky, co-founder and CEO, Care at Hand
Digital health technologies should address the needs of vulnerable populations, and there is a growing market for innovations addressing long term services and supports, stated Andrey Ostrovsky. Challenges include an excessive focus on doctors and hospitals, unpredictable reimbursement, and an evidence gap for innovations, which can be addressed with rapid cycle testing, quality improvement, and encouraging start-ups to partner with providers.
Liz Hall, vice president of federal affairs, Anthem
Digital health technologies can improve access and convenience for patients, but different state regulations and definitions remain a barrier to wider digital health and telehealth adoption, Elizabeth Hall said. For example, some states prohibit physicians from prescribing on-line or require the initial consultation to be in person, limiting use of digital technologies, she added.
Christine Bechtel, president and CEO, Bechtel Health Advisory Group
Consumers increasingly expect and use digital health as part of their health care, Christine Bechtel said. However, culture change, payment reform, consideration of patient and provider workflows, and the resolution of technical issues such as standard-setting are necessary for continued progress. Digital health technologies should be built with the input of patients, not only for them, she added.
Ed Howard of the Alliance for Health Reform and David Blumenthal of the Commonwealth Fund moderated.
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Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
David Blumenthal Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Michael Blum Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Andrey Ostrovsky Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Elizabeth Hall Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Christine Bechtel Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)