What do patient engagement, mobile health and interoperability have to do with each other? They were all key themes at this year’s HIMSS conference, which Primacy recently attended. And they signal the continued direction of healthcare as increasingly interactive, mobile, and consumer-focused.
Even as patients are being asked to take on more responsibility – from a greater share of costs (via high-deductible health plans) to a more active role in managing their conditions and wellbeing, they are asking
for more connection with their providers. A cited Harris Poll
noted that patients want a deeper digital connection with their doctors.
Progress on the patient engagement front is certainly being made. More consumers are using patient portals and apps that collect and share daily biometrics with providers, and are even connecting their home and work environments to their health choices. And as new technologies are being developed, HIMSS speakers called for behavioral psychologists to be more involved in the development process – both to leverage the huge amounts of data now being collected about our behaviors and
to help design technologies that will make a difference in patient health.
While providers have been slow to recommend mobile apps, there’s no denying that patients have flocked to Fitbit-type devices and we can only expect more adoption. Younger consumers are almost by definition technology-centric consumers, and their sheer number (up to 80 million) means millennials will soon start to displace older, less techonology-savvy patients as the main audience for providers and payers alike. The confluence of big data, consumer demand, increasing demand for active health management, and the sheer proliferation of devices signals mobile health will become a centerpiece of the healthcare landscape – probably sooner than we think.
It wouldn’t be HIMSS without talking about interoperability. Data exchange, and using relevant and understandable data to make more informed decisions echoed were prevalent themes both on the exhibition floor and within seminars. Our client, Healthagen/Medicity delivers interoperability solutions, which means we were well-versed in these discussions even before the conference!
A final note:
If it hasn’t been so far, it sure is clear today – big data is the next big transformative wave, with the power to change the landscape of healthcare. A high point in this discussion was keynote speaker, Bruce Broussard, CEO of Humana, session, in which he described how the growing availability of data, especially cost information, will push healthcare to become a system built around demand, rather than supply.
No doubt we learned a lot at HIMSS2015!