Digital health care – A millennial convergence

Lately, we’re buzzing about how millennials will adapt to the future of the health care delivery system. Many millennials have implemented new age health habits, such as eating locally sourced food and adopting trendy workout routines. Although millennials are a health-conscious generation, their fellow generational groups are still paying the doctor a visit every time they have an issue with their health. It is important to look at how this will impact millennials’ adaptation to the inevitable changes that are coming to the health care delivery system thanks to the changing provider and insurance landscape.

There are three key principal drivers of the healthcare industry: cost, accessibility and quality. Driving costs down is a focus for all competitive players in the industry. The money spent on healthcare is 17.6% of GDP. Because of this strong share of the economic output at play here, there is a strong need to drive down the cost of healthcare, and thus, an opening for breakthrough innovations in this market.

The emergence of these innovations will be driven by two key trends – the ability to adapt to millennialism, and the ability to set new standards for operational ease and efficiency. Digital health and a connected health ecosystem are allied in principle, aiming to address the same need of seeing “big healthcare in a small world.” It is the industry players that exchange volumes of transactions, both secured and unsecured, everywhere.

The value chain of healthcare companies is being disrupted, therefore diminishing their isolated operations and impacting their patients. This has led to the construction of what is known as the patient-centric ecosystem. There are still Peta bytes of unorganized data that need to be “experientially” channelized to bring together the patient-centric business model.

Digital solutions will transform healthcare, increase patient care and safety, improve disease management and enhance wellness and independence all while reducing the cost. Additionally wearable devices such as wireless body area networks – consisting of sensors, devices, social interaction, demographic profile and psychographics profile are being implemented in healthcare systems.

Real world evidence uses observational data, such as electronic medical records, claims information, patient registries and patient surveys. By evaluating the data associated with the delivery of care, “real-world” analyses can demonstrate treatment impact on measureable outcomes such as hospital length of stays, readmissions, overall health status and the total cost of care.

What can such data provide additionally?

  • By analyzing the treatment patterns, the body’s clinical trends can help to characterize diseases and patient populations

The ability to build predictive analytical models that can be used for the clinical trials

  • Assessing medicines and therapies for their efficacies

Some of the most watched items will be digital health devices (there are many in the market) and systems among the healthcare providers. For example the apps market has grown exponentially to include millions of apps. All of these apps and platforms are integrated together by their functions. To physically integrate all of them, however, is impractical, and key stakeholders like consumers, providers and payers have to delve into this fragmentation.

If a consumer is diabetic, for example, and required to manage his or her own care, the medical condition is listed in one system while their medications are listed in another system, both being interoperable. Even in emergency situations, health records could be made available to the immediate care provider.

Many service providers in the healthcare industry predict the following things may happen in the near future:

  1. The millennial patient will receive all services
  2. All devices and applications will be integrated
  3. Costs will be reduced by promoting the locations of independent care
  4. Teams will be self-organized’ and crowd sourced
  5. The use of data visualization to map an epidemic spread by geography; or be it enabling a venture capitalist to make right choices for investments
  6. Cloud space and low cost hardware will be used to host trillions of meaningful data

In a an interesting article, Paul Keckley, PhD writes “What Do Millennials Want from the Healthcare System?

  • Make it as Health for all age groups, the millennials think U.S Healthcare system is geared up for “Sickest” and the “Oldest”
  • Make it easily accessible – Healthcare not to be a privilege for those of means, but should be a right for all.
  • Make it Simple – No hotch potch processes, easy payment, administration and care delivery.

Balaji Raman

Senior Director - Delivery, Virtusa. Balaji has more than 18 years of professional IT experience, especially with leading Healthcare, life sciences customers for large transformational and product implementation solutions in the payer space. At Virtusa, he manages a large program that deals with analytics products in the healthcare Industry.

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