Lessons learned, strides made towards consumer-focused care

By Dave Muoio
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As new technologies and consumer-focused strategies continue their takeover of the healthcare industry, health systems will have to adjust their care models or be left in the dust. Rewiring an incumbent healthcare enterprise is no easy feat, however, and nearly every decision and assumption made along the way is a potential pitfall that requires an open mind.

“Team-based, technology-enabled, person-centered care is clearly our future — but only if we deliver it in a way that patients find simple, engaging and satisfying,” Dr. Gregory R. Weidner, medical director of primary care innovation at Proactive Health at Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas Healthcare System), said. “Roadblocks inspire creativity and necessity-driven problem solving. If we stay true to our vision and our relentless customer focus, then each ‘roadblock’ is in fact an inflection point for growth."

During the Digital & Personal Connected Health event at this year’s HIMSS Annual Conference, Weidner and Ann-Somers Hogg, director of innovation at Atrium Health, will discuss how their system transformed their primary care model into one that incorporates digital resources, team-based care, and proactive strategies. While implementing a new program throughout patient care was a challenge, Weidner said, working from scratch with frequent reminders to focus on patients’ needs allowed the team to fully engage with new ideas.

“Probably the most fundamental [lesson] is that a digital strategy is more than just digitizing or automating existing physical processes that serve the current business model,” he said. “Real digital strategy involves combining digital, human and physical resources in ways that create value via new consumer experiences and business models. Especially in primary care, where engaged patients are a critical asset, our focus should be on allowing consumers to connect with their health and with their healthcare team in seamless and satisfying ways.”

Speaking on the business side, Hogg will describe the design challenges Atrium faced when introducing a new model, how key partnerships eased the transition, and the value this new model provides to payers and consumers alike.

“When I say ‘value to the consumer,’ I mean better quality of life,” Hogg said. “They have a more convenient, seamless, frictionless, delightful experience. They’re really empowered to own their health, they’re engaged in managing and optimizing this life, because at the end of the day no one wants more healthcare — they want their life. Proactive Health is really a model that is built to help people optimize their life.”

Weidner and Hogg will be speaking at 10:10 a.m. on March 5 at the During the Digital & Personal Connected Health event in Las Vegas.