With 2019 behind us, the era of “everything online” in healthcare enters a decade where its convenience and access will spur more innovative care delivery models. The ease of automation when it comes to communications, data, and processes, has influenced patients, healthcare providers and payers to the point that they will look more and more to smarter healthcare solutions.
Patients will expect greater access to care anytime, anywhere.
Providers will continue to deploy strategies that will enable them to manage more patients at any given time.
Payers will continue to implement payment reforms for more value-based care.
Because of these expectations, telehealth as a multi-solutions king will continue to reign in 2020.
Here are 5 trends we expect to make a significant impact to telehealth in 2020.
The last decade has seen the opioid crisis reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, with more than 130 people dying by the day. A crisis from the misuse of and addiction to opioids, technology’s role in patient monitoring, supply tracking and medication management is coming to the fore.
In opioid treatment, there is a patient factor as much as there is a physician factor involved. “Physicians frequently failed to recognize signs of medication misuse and patient addiction, for example, positive illicit drug screens, obtaining opioids from multiple providers, selling medications, and others, often resulting in death particularly among young male patients,” according to an editorial view published in Anesthesiology. The challenge to physicians is to determine how to provide opioid analgesics to those who will benefit from treatment while limiting exposure of those who might harm themselves or others with these medications.
Malpractice claims can arise from poor opioid medication management and, according to the same editorial, they are primarily caused by:
Failure by the prescribing physician to communicate a care plan
Inadequate monitoring and documentation of care
Inappropriately high-prescribed doses of opioids
Unethical or illegal clinical practices
Bottomline: Last year, poor or no patient engagement strategy to monitor treatment, manage medication, and track prescription supply became a serious issue. In 2020, healthcare providers and pharmacy benefit managers will continue to turn to telehealth to make medication management more effective.
Tech like LifeWIRE’s innovative solutions for patient engagement provide medication management solutions supporting patients in their self-care providing greater insights and efficiencies for the providers managing them.
Prescription refills, initiating refill request from providers, and the accompanying payment issues can overwhelm providers, pharmacists and call centers. By integrating LifeWIRE into Rx management, patients medications are taken care of seamlessly. It simplifies communication with patients at anytime, anywhere, and any device of their choice – text, email, interactive voice, IM & Chat. LifeWIRE’s automated and interactive dialogue ensures effective engagement without the limiting barriers of an app or device.
Awareness of mental health and its importance to our overall health has been on an uptick in the last decade, and that awareness will translate to more and more people accessing mental health care and services.
According to eHealth, “...the merger of technologies in the healthcare industry can bring a breakthrough alteration in the traditional methods of Patient Data Management, Diagnosis and Treatment, improving and saving countless lives.”
This new decade will see partnerships between and among allied health solutions, to offer a holistic approach to mental health care. A behavioral assessment tool adding a patient communication platform for example, such as the co-marketing agreement entered into by LifeWIRE and PSYCHeANALYTICS.
Providing a communication platform to psychosocial screening tools will deliver a real time intelligent assessment, enabling providers to efficiently target and reduce symptoms before they escalate. Dr. Alan Lorenz, chair-elect of the American College Health Association, Mental Health Section believes that “...the seamless integration of a patient engagement platform with a behavioral and psychosocial assessment solution will not only reduce suffering, but it will save lives.”
According to PSYCHeANALYTICS CEO David Haddick, the highest and best use of LifeWIRE and PSYCHeANALYTICS combined solutions will mainly be in the student health services market, mainly colleges and universities where depression and suicide are growing exponentially.
Provider Data Verification
An insurer’s lists of doctors or providers network are critical when it comes to accessing health care services. To patients with acute conditions, accurate provider information is crucial. Updating that providers’ list has become problematic in the last decade.
A study on the access available to providers and network accuracy of insurance marketplace and commercials plans found that “...network listing accuracy issues are distinct but inherently related to network adequacy issues. Inaccurate provider directories are challenging for patients attempting to access providers, and they make it difficult for regulators to assess network adequacy.”
According to the study, requiring frequent updates of the listings will likely increase accuracy. Simon Haeder, assistant professor at West Virginia University and who led the study, attributed the difficulty of insurers keeping provider data up-to-date to the cost of data verification, and how providers don’t put a lot of effort on giving insurers updated information.
Making it easy for providers to update their information on the network is a solution that will trend in 2020. An automated verification process is part of the value of LifeWIRE’s communication platform, in that it allows for relentless communication between parties. LifeWIRE’s provider data verification technology continuously verifies provider demographic information, ensures accuracy of provider data directories, and updates multiple data fields anytime, anywhere, on any device. It also includes a complete audit trail of all communications, data edits and data verifications.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Driving medical costs down will continue to be a goal, regardless of decade. Payers will always look for ways to save money, maximize budgets, improve outcomes and when pressure shifts to healthcare providers, improving efficiencies and processes becomes an imperative.
This puts population health management at the core of healthcare delivery. Managing a patient population of 100,000 easily as one is only possible with the use of smart technology. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a solution that makes good business sense. Solutions that increase productivity and outcomes will help that adoption curve in 2020.
With the new payment codes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added for remote patient monitoring, this is expected to drive improved return on investment for providers. “Providers will be more likely to invest in RPM technology and harness both the operational and care benefits it presents to hospitals and patients, respectively,” according to MedCityNews.
The real value of RPM is not only how it affords providers to appropriately allocate their time and resources, but how they can personalize care, optimize treatments because of the comprehensive view of their patients from the health data, and records they can access through the technology.
Not all RPM technologies are created equal. There is a patented technology for population monitoring through a media chosen by the patient, whether text, voice, email, app, wearables and more. This LifeWIRE advantage empowers healthcare providers to have on-going patient contact and insight through personalized, automated remote dialogue.
Health and Wellness Management
Once a fringe benefit, employee health and wellness programs have become a key element in productivity in workplaces. This trend will continue as more and more organizations see the value of managing their employees well-being as a strategy to boost the organization’s overall performance.
“As we look toward 2020, all indicators point towards a rapid evolution of the U.S. workplace wellness industry characterized by innovative solutions for managing health care costs that serve the increasing need for proactive ownership of well-being,” - Corporate Wellness Magazine
According to PWC,, “...employers are taking a more active role in managing healthcare costs. For example, they're negotiating contract prices themselves, setting up provider networks and even building a parallel health system to take care of employees at more manageable costs.”
The overall management of health in the workplace has also facilitated employer-employee engagement. This collaborative partnership in health management has a positive impact on reducing medical costs. There are many ways and approaches to manage health and wellness of employees, but it almost always starts with member engagement.
An automated population management solution does the job as easily as enabling real-time dialogue that is controlled, secure and responsive. LifeWIRE’s solution allows corporate organizations to design and deliver innovative wellness programs through a personalized automated engagement. It manages and tracks insights and activity to monitor customer success, drive change, improve health, and promote well-being to foster productivity.
Because personalization is also being extended to the way health and wellness information and activities are delivered to employees, it’s important that the technology used in wellness programs can pull data from digital health tools and wearables. For a more holistic approach, LifeWIRE’s solution can tie in to over 400 wearable/medical devices, all instantly, without the need for special equipment, software to monitor and manage health and wellness programs in an automated real-time engagement. Thereby creating a multidimensional perspective on the individual unique to them
With the foregoing trends, clearly the future of an innovative healthcare delivery is a multi-solution technology. #BeLifeWIREd