Mobe | Reimagining healthcare delivery: Technology and the “whole…

Reimagining Healthcare Delivery: Technology and the “Whole Person Approach”

At the core of healthcare is human connection. Whether in-person or virtual, mental or physical, chronic or urgent, good health guidance is facilitated by the trust and personal attention between patient and provider. And although it might have seemed counterintuitive just a few months ago, telehealth is a great enabler of this one-to-one connection – if we use it wisely.

At last week’s American Telemedicine Association’s virtual conference, that sense of awesome opportunity – and responsibility – was palpable, as medical professionals, HIT experts, policy makers and health system administrators convened remotely to discuss the future of care delivery and how we can leverage technology to improve people’s lives and wellbeing.

As ATA President Dr. Joe Kvedar remarked, "This is our opportunity to reimagine healthcare delivery."

Telehealth and virtual care have become part of our national and global lexicon – a natural and accepted option within our health system, catapulted into the spotlight by coronavirus. Now, we must ensure that the opportunity to truly change the way people seek, access and receive care doesn’t slip through our fingers.

Reflecting on this “new normal” – and how we, as leaders, can ensure we don't simply layer the issues of the old healthcare system onto this new method of care delivery – the ATA community discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead. From behavioral science researchers to virtual health solutions experts, three key themes emerged from ATA speakers that hold the power to change health outcomes for the better:

  1. Technology must do more than simply connect us – it must enhance our ability to support the whole person. This was the heartening common thread I heard from a diverse set of leaders from across the health ecosystem. Telehealth may have become a household word during the pandemic, but the true opportunity is not only to increase access to healthcare, but to increase the quality of that healthcare. That means leveraging the wealth of data and technology available to us in order to better understand each individual’s health needs, and provide appropriate guidance.
  2. Behavioral science holds the power to drive lasting and sustainable physical and mental health change.Improving health isn't just about medicine, it's about a comprehensive approach to one's life, habits, and wellbeing. Motivating people to make and maintain behavioral change is core to health outcomes – but it's no small feat. Speaker Michelle Segar, University of Michigan motivation scientist and author, observed that "it's human nature to be less motivated by future, logical rewards than immediate, effective ones." The first step to achieving our health goals is to hone in on the positive emotions that we're feeling in the moment, and telehealth platforms can help users do just that.
  3. Tailored, individualized guidance on health and well-being is crucial to achieving better health outcomes. Telehealth platforms are only as successful as their ability to support each individual who uses them. Melynda Barnes, SVP of Medical Affairs and Research at Ro, highlighted an important point: “Access to care is, really, providing people with access to wellbeing and wellness on their terms. People want to live out their dream. They want to be seen as people first." When we empower individuals to understand their own health and provide them with personalized guidance, when they need it, with actionable ways to make sustainable lifestyle changes, the outcome is better health, happiness, and the ability to do what they love.

Personalized guidance is at the center of improving health outcomes, and technology has given us the opportunity to engage on a deeper level with people who might not otherwise be able to access that type of care. A whole-person approach – taking into account medication, nutrition, fitness, diet, and other factors impacting wellness, like sleep and mental health – is key, and as the telehealth sector evolves rapidly into a normal part of mainstream care, it’s our responsibility to ensure that human connection remain at the center of a technology-enabled platform.

If you’d like to learn more about MOBE’s approach to health and hear our participants’ inspiring stories, follow this link.

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