A Commitment to Healthcare Singularity
Envera Health has always been motivated by the desire to play an active role in transforming healthcare for the better— for us, our area of expertise and where we can make the greatest contribution, is patient access. There is no denying the role access plays in the healthcare ecosystem, or on an individual level impacting patient outcomes. As we envision a better future for healthcare delivery, patient access will continue to be at the forefront, as the first step of the care journey.
In an impassioned article Robert Sundelius, former Ascension COO and transformative consultant, recently articulated what so many of us have been thinking: We must move towards Healthcare Singularity. The “sick-care” approach is terrible for patients, it’s not working for providers either. As a business, providers are in crisis, from budgets and a shrinking workforce to industry disruptors with deep pockets. Providers are also in crisis as individuals, healthcare workers are burning out at all levels, moving out of the industry entirely or into early retirement— contributing to the slow and painful descent of our existing system. The entire healthcare delivery system needs a refresh, not just to move away from the “sick-care” model that isn’t working, but to include the wealth of modern prevention tools and new resources we now have for improving overall health management.
It’s time for a change and a big one. Together, providers and industry partners must agree to move away from this broken system and build a better future for healthcare. Care delivery is more than a noble cause, it’s essential to every aspect of our society. Public health impacts economic health and has an impact on not only where we stand, but what we can accomplish as members of the global community. Currently, many aspects of healthcare in the US sit on par with third-world nations.
A natural evolution is to move to singularity, where the intersection of consumer-driven choice, access, digitization, and specialty care meet. This intersection offers consumers ease of access through a new and more digitally enhanced preventive and primary care system that allows for the retailization of “well-care” while integrating the science of medicine where necessary. Yet, in order to truly accomplish this “singularity”, we must also fundamentally change the two most critical elements of what has created this current fragmented and expensive system: data and personal accountability to preventative health. Unhealthy individual choices are breaking consumers' bank accounts, and the lack of data prevents these segments from creating a unified record or patient view.
We must start somewhere, why not access?
To begin the shift, we can better engage patients and emphasize personal health accountability. This means instituting strong outreach and engagement campaigns, reactivating patients, and motivating them to take a lead role as advocates for their own health. As an engagement partner, we are well-versed in the amount of effort this will take. Old habits die hard, and patients will need extra attention at first, but as with any positive change, soon it will become second nature. To facilitate this, we must reimagine individual health goals in the image of the modern healthcare consumer; reinforced by convenience, personalization, and value.
When surveyed 92% of patients say they value convenience over anything else. To successfully re-engage patients with their health, accessing care must be easy. Whether it’s reaching their provider, scheduling an appointment, or accessing information and programs that promote better outcomes, we must improve the delivery methods to meet patients where they are— using the tools at our disposal to create a better “on-demand” experience. Auxiliary services have a role to play here as well, by making health tracking and personalized health data more accessible.
More personalized health plans must be established for patients, strategies that “make you better” when you are already good. Patients need to be engaged with how their choices impact their long-term health and presented with opportunities for education, resources, and programs that can assist them in adopting a more health-goal-focused lifestyle— and these need to reach them at their convenience, through the channels they prefer. A personalized healthcare experience requires the right combination of people and technology in order to be effective and still honor the values of care culture; technology alone cannot get us there.
We know that it’s cheaper to be healthy than sick, we just need to better illustrate the connection between pocketbooks and preventative care. It won’t be an easy attitude to change, the cost of healthcare in the US is steep, and many patients avoid care altogether due to the cost burden— exacerbating existing health issues. It’s our job to help patients understand how proactive involvement in their care also improves their financial health. We also have a responsibility to curb the cost of care where we can, and that means being proactive ourselves, minimizing expenses, and eliminating faulty practices that drive up cost. For many providers, this will mean stepping outside of their comfort zone to embrace new technologies and away from ridged self-reliance.
This future will be built on mutually beneficial partnerships.
As an organization, we reaffirm our commitment to transforming healthcare in the coming year and stand behind our industry partners that are ready to move towards healthcare singularity. From streamlining the access experience to provide a more unified “front door,” to executing activation and engagement campaigns, and improving margins for providers through better schedule management, reduced no-show rates, and improved resource allocation, we are proud to be well-positioned to play a key role in the changes necessary to improve care delivery— for the continuity of the industry today and the benefit of the patients of tomorrow.
Erinne Dyer, Vice President of Growth at Envera Health
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