Digital innovations in health care keep the industry in a constant state of evolution. Just a few years ago, you had to call your health insurance company to find out who your local in-network doctors were — and then you had to do even more research to find out if other people liked them. Now you can have virtual appointments with those doctors through telemedicine and access reviews from other people using your health plan with a single click.
Keeping up with emerging technology in health care isn’t just important for doctors and patients — it matters for employers, too. Offering strong benefits with integrated technology is one key way to retain your top employees and ensure that your entire workforce has the best access to care possible.
But how are you supposed to prepare for changes that haven’t happened yet? Here’s a look at how digital innovation is shaping the future of health care.
Good Data Is Transforming Digital Innovation
Technology can transform the health care experience — but only if it has access to good data that brings actionable insights.
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) argues that though health data can be some of the most critical data, the health care industry has lagged its financial and consumer counterparts in harnessing it. As they continue to close that gap, health care organizations are perfecting data science strategies to manage the wealth of information they’ve been amassing. Part of this strategy means ensuring that data is error-free, correctly formatted and unique. Relevant health care data sources include user preferences and behaviors, data from partners, and claims and employer information.
When it comes to working with good data, the stakes are high. “If an organization tries to aggregate and analyze poor-quality data,” write the NEJM authors, “it may derive useless or even dangerous conclusions.”
To keep your employees engaged in their health as well as safe, look for providers and technologies that inspire confidence in their data management.
Comprehensive Engagement Keeps Employees Healthy
Using good data to drive user engagement paves the way for positive outcomes. Today, many apps integrate user data to connect patients with the information and services they need.
With their patients’ permission, some doctors and health care providers now store health care documents online, for instance. This means that patients can access their records at any time, not just during business hours. They can get details about previous doctors’ appointments, transfer records to another doctor online and review test results whenever they want. Other health care companies are integrating with wearable technology, allowing the data gathered from digital watches, for example, to shape compelling user experiences.
Comprehensive engagement provides employees with decision support and wellness ideas. In the past, for example, employees may have learned about doctors through word-of-mouth or at an urgent care center. Now, health care providers can not only prepare a list of in-network doctors for patients but pair those suggestions with reviews from other people who use the plan.
The same applies to well-being. Keeping up the motivation to stay healthy on your own is difficult, but the perfect gym buddy doesn’t always appear at the right time. As an employer, you can create a wellness program that works in tandem with a health app to “gamify” wellness, motivating employees to reach goals by offering time off, gift cards or reduced health care premiums. Apps can also support employees with specific health concerns. In the future, look out for more apps geared toward specific chronic conditions, with reminders about health goals and tasks.
Personalized Experiences Are Paramount
There’s another quality that digitally driven health care experiences need to truly engage your employees: strategic personalization.
Examples from other industries make a strong case for personalization. Netflix subscribers can already see a curated list of movies they want to stream based on their past usage patterns, while the Starbucks mobile app makes customers’ favorite orders easily accessible.
Modern health care providers are racing to offer similar features. It’s becoming the new standard, for instance, for health care providers and doctors to allow patients to refill their prescriptions and schedule their appointments online. In more advanced cases, high-tech tools can help patients manage chronic conditions properly, suggest treatment options and aid preventive care with tailored programs and activities.
There’s still room to grow in this area — particularly in the realm of artificial intelligence — so expect to see health care providers developing new ways of bringing your employees health information that’s relevant to them.
While it can be a lot to keep up with, don’t be afraid to embrace innovations in health care. They’re key to your employees’ long-term well-being.
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