Diversity of care
One of the more powerful themes that sets up a tentpole topic for 2017 is the diversity of types of care. It’s now obvious there are several different types of care. Health 2.0 explained it like such:
- Healthy patients are lighter touch
- Chronically Ill patients require maintained focus
- Acutely Ill patients are at risk and a priority
- Healthy patients on the verge of becoming Chronically Ill are concerns and should be monitored
- Chronically Ill patients on the verge of becoming Acutely Ill are a danger
- Meanwhile Acutely Ill can come back to Chronically Ill through certain care
- And Acutely Ill can go back to being Healthy patients
Whew, a lot of bullet points. What does it mean?
Simply this: We are starting to understand better than ever as technologists where Digital Health products and services belong along the continuum of care.
But more importantly the opposite is true, too. One size does not fit all. Diversity of patients combined with diversity of care situations means healthcare requires a diversity of products and innovations.
The bummer, as we heard all week, is this also means physicians and health system decision makers (CIOs, et al) are inundated with too many solutions, too many options, too many things to divert focus.
What will be interesting is where this diversity point and the over-burden point meet. That feels where real progress will be made.
Is it time for Health 3.0?
Jonathan Bush, CEO of athenahealth, provided the biggest spark of the conference, in the only way he can. He took Health 2.0 to task. “Health 2.0 needs to die along with the old concept of interoperability,” was the shocking call out.
Wait, what? It was actually quite powerful. Jonathan’s point was “health 2.0” as a concept is tied to “digital health” as a patient-centric, empathic focus on technological innovation, which is totally cool, but we have largely convinced everyone of the importance, so now we should build on top of that and focus on what’s next. We need to move onto “health 3.0” with bigger ideas. His positioning of “what’s next” is a new concept of interoperability. No longer should we consider “interoperability” as the drudgery of connecting unique, replica systems everybody maintains on their own. Instead it should be “networked health” of authoritative yet connected datasets.
It’s compelling, and my paragraph doesn’t do the justice of Jonathan’s hour-long delivery, which was rousing.
We share a similar view (though still consider data central to the future of healthcare, obviously). In a way, the path towards interoperability is more about connections and networks, and less about data. You could say the more healthcare is networked, the better the data will get, anyways.
Focus on the patient
Lastly, we should call out the importance of the patient in all of this. It was a popular topic throughout most panels, and the majority of all demos the entire day focused on the patient. It’s important to never forget.
A quote from Darren Dworkin, CIO of Ceders-Sinai, was exceedingly insightful. He said, “Where our digital health experiments have failed are when new innovations thin the patient-clinician relationship too much. We can’t get ahead of our skis too much. It’s ultimately about the patient-clinician relationship.”
This is a fine point to end the conference. While we are here to improve patient outcomes at lower costs (a favorite mantra of HCO executives), all of healthcare is ultimately two-sided. You have the patient but you’ll always have the clinician too. Technology needs to not only improve the life of the clinician, but the relationship between the two.