How to Bring Healthcare to the Consumer

February 5, 2021
Moderator Rajat Relan with panelists Aliza Bach, Anna Youngerman, and Mike Cantor.

While the pandemic is exaggerating issues of disaggregation and lack of coordination in healthcare, it’s simultaneously accelerating new ways of bringing healthcare directly to the consumers. Finding the right ways to bring care to the patient, rather than the patient to the care, will continue to trend as we seek to create interconnectivity within healthcare.

In our last panel, Anna Youngerman (Chief Value Officer at Children’s Minnesota), Mike Cantor (MD, JD at Bright Health), and Aliza Bach (VP of Strategy at Prospero Health) shared how to overcome new barriers in care and the immediate and long-term implications COVID will have on our healthcare system.

COVID’s Impact

It’s impossible to discuss any topic in healthcare today without addressing the impact of COVID.

  • Everything is impacted by COVID – people, culture, service delivery, and more. Beyond the business, it’s a time of significant impact to humanity, which is imperative for everyone in the industry to keep in mind.
  • Providers experienced an increased need in palliative services and clinical coordination, particularly for elderly and at-risk individuals. Both groups face issues associated with isolation, which demanded a rapid response to meet their needs and bring care directly to their homes.
  • COVID uncovered more issues than it caused, but the system will emerge stronger and better due to working on those issues. We will continue to advance positive changes, like bringing care to the patient, and eliminate barriers to necessary care.

Innovation in Bringing Healthcare to Consumers

The timeline to implement new ideas has shortened drastically during the pandemic.

  • The pandemic accelerated ideas and forced the healthcare industry to be nimbler. Companies moved from contemplating ideas on a three to five-year planning cycle to implementing weekly.
  • Pediatrics tends to lag adult system care, and they pushed to stand up innovative models quickly. Children’s Minnesota saw a 4,700% increase in telehealth visits over the space of weeks.
  • Laying eyes on people at-risk is critical, especially in elderly care. Prospero Health evaluated technology to deploy for elderly patients and launched a partnership with GrandPad, offering custom tablets to meet patient needs.
  • CMS made changes to telehealth payment regulations, which accelerated changes in telehealth and gave providers more flexibility.

Mental Health Matters

All of us deal with mental health in some capacity.

  • While behavioral health needs have spiked during the pandemic, access to care is increasing, as well!
  • There’s stronger recognition of the need for mental health care integration in primary care. The interconnectivity between mental health support and wellbeing is coming to the forefront.
  • Isolation isn’t good for anyone – including children. We see higher acuity experience in terms of acute mental health crises at young ages.
  • Telehealth is an excellent platform for mental health concerns – there are fewer no-shows and better access. However, technology isn’t the goal; it’s merely the tool. The goal is to ensure people get what they need in a way they value.

Payment Structures

Consumers push back on price.

  • The cost structure for brick-and-mortar-based care is inherently different if you can push more volume to virtual care. However, the healthcare system needs to make plans in context instead of basing it on an anomalous year.
  • All consumers are bearing the cost burden now and overpaying for video services. The day is approaching where that will not be tenable, and the industry will analyze and drive down personnel cost.
  • When consumers visit in-person, there’s revenue from ancillary services. You can’t get labs drawn or have mobile x-rays today, but that will change! There is a greater focus on home-based care. If you save money by shutting down buildings and deploying remotely, you shift the savings to the home infrastructure.

Closing Thoughts

The pandemic is accelerating access to innovative services that bring healthcare directly to the consumer, including telehealth and home-based care. At-risk and elderly patients drive the need for rapid changes to combat issues of isolation associated with pandemic living. While it’s unclear what our reality looks like post-pandemic, we expect many care delivery advancements will stick around and positively change payment structures in the future.

Extra Credit

Pandemic’s Mental Health Burden Heaviest Among Young Adults. In a recent survey, almost two-thirds of 18-24-year-olds reported symptoms.

Thanks to Home Care Providers, Telehealth is Turning into a $250B Industry. Many believe the increased demand will stick around through 2021 as vulnerable populations need monitoring in a home setting.

How GrandPad Makes Communicating Easier for the Elderly. Smartphones often have complicated or confusing interfaces for those who didn’t grow up with them. GrandPad creates purpose-built tablets for seniors over 75 years old.

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