The Future of Connected Health, Chapter 2

Many of you commented on the future – in response to my earlier blog, Chapter 1 – and provided terrific insights.  Your posts included future scenarios that I missed and reviewed critical components of a healthcare system improved by the ubiquitous information and communication technologies that have transformed essentially every other industry before us.

At the Center for Connected Health, we strive to create the context and verification for new care models that are more efficient and of high quality, while maximizing access.  As we look at the next several years, we must keep this fundamental mission in focus.

Taking into account market readiness for connected health as a solution to healthcare’s challenges, it seems reasonable to expect employers to adopt first, health plans later and providers last.  Certainly our current activities and market interest in our Center’s activities are consistent with this.

We’ve spent the last decade focused on creating the case for connected health for providers using our own system as a test bed.  That work continues to go well and the folks involved inspire me on a daily basis.  It will really take off when health care reform ‘ripens’ and payment reform takes hold.  I can’t wait.  In the meantime, we’ll broaden our horizons by creating a series of offerings designed to speed connected health adoption in other sectors.  The launch of Healthrageous is our first example of this activity.

Chapter 2, then, takes a look at how we can help broaden the reach of connected health, among more diverse populations in the future.

The connected health model has achieved success in helping consumers and patients who are motivated enough to care about their health reach a new level of health behavior achievement.  However, we’ve tended to offer solutions that are too one-size-fits-all and too provider dependent.  The next generation of connected health must:

–       allow for population segmentation and subsequent customization so as to engage all individuals wherever they are on their journey to improved health

–       include a more rich set of objective inputs; we need to go beyond obvious vital signs such as blood pressure, blood glucose and weight to new frontiers such as emotional state, motivational state and other currently non-quatified health determinants

–       predict individual coaching requirements and deliver those coaching tools/messages in the most efficient way possible

–       integrate seamlessly with EMRs, PHRs and social networks

–       integrate with the avalanche of genetic information that will be coming our way

The Center for Connected Health will be doing our part to ensure that these refinements to the connected health model will take place.  To do so, we’ll be partnering broadly across the industy in the following ways:

–       work with providers such as Partners to integrate connected health into the next phase of care delivery, including the patient-centered medical home and the accountable care organization

–       collaborate with entrepreneurs who have novel technologies and business ideas by helping them test their prototypes, products and care models, adding our 15 years of experience to the mix

–       conduct ongoing research in the areas noted above as well as deliver services both in the Partners system and beyond

–       continue to act as a market development agent by educating and convening

–       refocus slightly  to look beyond the important work we’re doing in our provider-centric context to capture new market interest in connected health

After all, if we want to change healthcare delivery, we don’t have a minute to waste and we need to look beyond our current perch, which is highly provider focused.  We’ll be eager to jump in when providers are ready to adopt – and that time is near. In the meantime, we’ll be looking to create opportunities with  other sectors, to play our role as change agents.

Where do you see opportunity, challenges and needs? What tools need to be applied, or created, to get the job done?