Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
Peter Cranstone writes for CIO Review:
“..In the last 30 years or so we’ve seen three major technical revolutions and interestingly enough they all have the same thing in common. First I would choose the PC and Windows GUI, secondly I propose the Internet and the Browser, and finally I would call out the Smartphone and mobile operating system.”
“The commonality between all three of them can be boiled down to one thing – the User Interface. In each case the inventors took something very complex and made it simple – a concept known as Simplexity. I can operate windows with a mouse, surf the web with my browser by clicking on a link, and navigate my smartphone with my finger. So why has the smartphone and all the new health apps and devices not solved the healthcare’s business problems? Well in my opinion it’s mind numbingly complex – there are thousands and thousands of apps to choose from, all with a slightly different interface….”
“…In the case of healthcare, we need to dig a little deeper and return to the core business problem – technology (the electronic health record and point solution apps) is driving the current strategy. If we let business strategy drive IT architecture – we’d see that we must enable healthier consumer behavior to offset our current costs, and we need to differentiate our services to sustain user adoption.”
Monday, April 11th, 2016
1. Nothing remains constant except change, itself.
I had the most amazing PCP for 20 years. She took a holistic view to health. Over the years she suggested treatment options ranging from pharmaceuticals, to acupuncture, to home-brewed teas. When she retired, my care transitioned to one of her colleagues. He is a kind, caring man, firmly rooted in western, allopathic medicine. I was not sure it would be a good fit. But seeing as he is in Boulder (the healthy lifestyle capital of the world) and he inherited patients with wide-spanning views on health management, the pressure to support this diversity was considerable.
Fast forward 3 years. Where he once rolled his eyes and poo-pooed eastern and natural treatment options, he now sincerely offers them up to patients who want greater choice and to take an active role in their healthcare and lifestyle decisions. He provides an excellent example of adapting to the changing needs/desires of his patients.
2. Walk a mile in their shoes.
I have no doubt it was difficult for him, but he did it, because it was in his patients’ and his practice’s best interest.
We ask people to change their behavior – exercise more, eat healthier, quit smoking, consistently take their medication – but most don’t, even though they know they should. The same is true for us. How often do we prescribe a specific digital health service or exercise class versus a drug? Provider groups and health systems find it just as hard to change deep-rooted behavior relative to day-to-day business and clinical operations, as patients do making prescribed “lifestyle” changes. We are all human.
3. Practice what we preach.
If we want to change our patients’ behaviors, we must lead the change with strategies and tools that can guide them day-in and day-out, in a personal and meaningful way. We need to treat them like people, and not just patients. We must adapt to, and adopt new health and health IT innovations that can make a difference to their health – and to our bottom lines. Just like we evaluate each patient’s situation, we need to be strong enough to judge each innovation on its merit and not let the fear of change keep us from doing what we know is best. If we can’t change, how can we expect it of the people we are trying to help?
4. Our fear of the unknown is always worse than the reality.
If we want to change our financial health in the world of consumer-driven care, then we must first start by changing our own behaviors – just like my doctor did. We must accept that the bulk of the competition and healthcare innovation is not coming from the incumbent health IT entities. We must be open to new care delivery strategies, innovations and partnerships to achieve sustainable results. Trying something new can open up new worlds and opportunities you never thought possible!
Thursday, March 10th, 2016
I’m taking a quick detour from my normal digital health topics, as last night I attended an event that left me inspired. I was privileged to witness an 84 year old, woman entrepreneur present her business and ask for advice on channel and digital marketing strategies. This woman, after injuring herself by tripping over scattered pillows and comforters in the middle of the night (you know, the shams and duvets we all pull off our beds before going to sleep), decided to solve the problem.
What was so inspiring, is that she took her idea and her retirement savings, went out and designed and patented a product, bought the tools to build the product, and is now diligently working to take her business to a larger, more sustainable level. Look out Joy Mangano!
She is talking to her customers and learning how her product is being used in the real world (apparently it offers much more than convenience and safety, and has proved helpful for those with diabetic foot neuropathy, by keeping the direct weight of sheets and blankets off of the feet while sleeping), and she was open and actively asking advice from us “digital age” youngsters, on how to improve her business. Shear determination. No fear. Open mind. Inspired.
You can see her solution here: Slide and Hide Cover Keeper. I’m buying some for my guest bed, and a few more as holiday gifts. Last night’s team of marketing experts was quite excited about the benefit it could bring to senior living and assisted living communities, as well as nursing homes – for both residents and housekeeping staff. Very cool.
In my activities with the Prime Health community here in Colorado, I am fortunate to see the diversity of those involved in starting new digital health business. And while this business is not a digital health offering, it exemplifies the inclusive nature we are building here in Colorado and as part of Prime Health – because you never know where the next innovation is going to come from. A good reminder, to never judge a book by it’s cover. Young or old, we can, and are having a positive impact on health and happiness.
Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
When considering digital health innovation, it’s time to think beyond technology. Successful digital health strategies consider the context of their users. Most of us don’t consider ourselves patients. With the exception of those unfortunate few with serious, life-altering conditions, being a “patient” is a transient state that we move in and out of over the course of lives. First and foremost, we consider ourselves people – parents, teachers, artists, athletes, friends, masons, and architects.
So why do we expect “patient-centric” apps to engage people in their health when we are not addressing them as people. Motivations are a tricky thing and what works for one person may not work for another. There are no easy answers or one-size-fits-all solutions to consistent patient engagement, but why not start with putting the person ahead of the patient and respecting our shared human behavior.
There are no one-size fits all solutions to engaging people in their health
Engage people as people. Think beyond the health condition and the app. Look at how your solution can actually integrate into your customers’ lives and not just integrate with an electronic health record. To truly engage patients and change behavior, think beyond traditional boundaries.
The early Greek Olympians and philosophers had it right with their triad of “healthy in mind, body and spirit”. We tend to take better care of our physical selves when are happy, intellectually engaged and have access to the people and things we love – physical, spiritual or digital. This kind of balance gives us the strength and energy we need to stick with a medication, rehab protocol or diet and to start building lifelong healthy habits.
When thinking patient engagement, think beyond connectivity to meaningful connections.
Thursday, February 18th, 2016
The healthcare industry is suffering from a chronic disease. Like our immune systems responding to illness, stress and poor lifestyle choices, healthcare is responding to countless attacks from changing consumer behavior, regulation, technological innovations and costly vendor lock-ins.
We have progressed beyond a simple infection to a full-blown autoimmune response. All our good intentions are actually destroying our healthcare delivery system – margins, care quality and customer satisfaction – which triggers the cascade of failing industry health.
It is imperative that we address the root cause. We can no longer simply lower prices, or incrementally improve productivity, or jump on the coolest technology bandwagon. We need to think about healthcare delivery and health system infrastructure differently. We need to thoughtfully and deliberately embrace meaningful innovation – both technical and human, as Aurora Health has demonstrated in this insightful case study:
We can rebuild our industry in a way that is better and stronger – developing care delivery models that are inclusive and unique; that are agile and controlled; engaging and simple. Our strategies must withstand regulatory change, consider human nature and embrace continuing technological advancement. It’s time to address root cause health improvements and simplify the transition to better care delivery habits.