Population health is about improving outcomes for communities by improving outcomes for the individual.
Healthcare has shifted to coordinate care across networks, and providers need solutions to properly engage with their populations. To do that, health IT (HIT) leaders must deliver the necessary solutions and services to empower clients to identify, engage and maintain lifetime relationships with the consumers they serve.The future of HIT relies on helping our clients develop a personal connection with their consumers that enables them to become the patient’s healthcare provider of choice — a trusted partner in their health and wellness journey. The next generation requires more than great solutions and technology — they need a seamless experience that integrates with readily available tools.
Meeting consumer behavior patterns with population health initiatives
We've already seen the influence of mobile technology and apps on other industries. Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft have shifted the landscape of the taxi industry; consumers can now place a Starbucks order on their phone and pick it up at the counter, skipping the line entirely.
It should come as no surprise, then, that consumers are looking for additional points of contact with their healthcare providers and easier access to their health information. The link between these consumer behavior patterns and population health strategies cannot be refuted. If our goal is to improve the health of a population, we must design solutions that appeal to behavioral trends of that population.
Coupled with the shift to value-centered healthcare, providers are now focused on executing large-scale engagement strategies to capture and retain segmented populations of patients. Organizations have built ever-growing consumer networks that provide an outlet for offering competitive and integrated service offerings.
Healthcare is late to the party in terms of developing solutions that cater to the consumer in this way, but the trend is undeniable — and so is the need for HIT to adapt to it.
Innovating to improve engagement
Consumers want a unified, personalized, mobile-optimized healthcare experience, and health providers must build that sentiment into their engagement strategy. To remain at the forefront of consumer strategies for personal health engagement, the following is necessary:
Personal, dynamic user experiences
User experience (UX) has become a leading trend in HIT solutions. Future solutions will use inputs from multiple data sources and artificial intelligence to dynamically and hierarchically prioritize and render digital content for an experience tailored to each individual user.
Customized interface for online client experiences
In tandem with improved UX, future solutions will provide flexibility in how clients present their digital experience, with specific layouts and click-by-click user processes available throughout the application.
As the supplier-client relationship evolves, HIT providers must be particularly conscious of client-developed apps. These apps should be interoperable with health IT solutions, encouraging innovation and furthering the value of what’s being provided.
Retention of existing client relationships with external vendors
Clinically integrated networks typically have a large degree of IT vendor variance, so bringing together provider networks means integrating a disparate number of solutions. An emphasis on patient engagement further requires HIT solutions to be designed with interoperability in mind. Third-party apps must interoperate with a solution's main framework, allowing for quick adoption. Clients should have the ability to leverage their existing system while leaving plenty of room for flexibility in pursuing niche features outside of the solution.
A New Age of Consumer Healthcare
By reaching the consumer where they're at, we can educate and influence their decisions regarding healthcare. As leaders in the health IT industry, we have the ability to empower and support consumers - the very essence of population health management.