The healthcare industry now has powerful tools to apply to these goals. Thanks to the careful and thoughtful analysis of population-level data, often assisted by machine learning – a technology that uses data to make predictions to enable more informed decisions – it has become possible for providers to develop personalized treatment strategies for each individual patient to offer. New approaches to home health care, such as emergency home care, are making the patient experience more comfortable than ever. These developments have the potential to change the time patients spend in contact with the health system and the resulting outcomes.
However, a major challenge remains: to get all the different parts of such a system – including health determinants such as diet and housing – working together. Solving this puzzle would mean finding a new path for the aging world population. The good news is that the solutions are getting closer every day.
Humana, a health care plan maintenance and management company, has used artificial intelligence to identify and personally reach customers who may need more assistance with accessing health care. These efforts revealed insights into their greatest needs as well as the strong influence of social determinants of health. Many people said that access to nutritious food was a serious problem. As a result, Humana has delivered more than 1.5 million meals to seniors across the country. After Humana. had heard that many struggled with the loneliness of social distancing, Partnerships with organizations like Papa to alleviate isolation by connecting seniors with younger caregivers.
The data makes the healthcare journey more personal by addressing social determinants of health, but it also provides important insights into how and where older Americans want to be cared for. Surveys have shown that 80 percent of older Americans prefer home care.
And thanks to a number of innovative companies such as DispatchHealth, Heal and Kindred at Home, home care is not only possible, but also increasingly normalized. When Humana member John, who suffers from multiple chronic conditions, struggled to catch his breath, the nurses at health care company Kindred at Home DispatchHealth called, a company that provides hospital-grade acute care at home and provides chest X. treatment – Ray reveals that he had pneumonia. The coordinated care of Dispatch and Kindred saved him a costly emergency room and possible hospital visit, and also helped him get the drugs he needed from his local pharmacy.
For John, managing his conditions requires home visits from health professionals. However, other patients may not need or want the same home care. Because of this, health plans need to create a resilient, coordinated ecosystem of traditional home and remote care options. A combination of understanding of patient needs and comprehensive services to meet them will help create the quality of care older people deserve.
The coronavirus pandemic only added to the already growing patient demand for ways to connect remotely with healthcare providers. As a result, telemedicine saw a 32 percent usage rate, up from less than a third percent before the pandemic. Telemedicine, along with other digital tools like remote monitoring and telepsychiatry, is also helping to reach older Americans. Remote monitoring tools like a heart rate monitor can help providers track their patients’ daily health needs, and telepsychiatric services show promise in helping seniors access critical mental health care from their own home.
From home visits to video appointments, multi-pronged approaches are opening up the path to personalized, holistic healthcare for older Americans. And it’s just the beginning. Every day, industry-leading researchers and talent at places like MIT AgeLab and Humana’s Studio H in Boston work together to create more innovative care options for older adults.
Such digital tools do not replace doctors or traditional care offers. The trend in healthcare innovation is not to replace human-to-human interaction, but rather to complement it by making health services more convenient for patients.
Exciting digital developments in healthcare go hand in hand with an industry-wide responsibility to stand up for the 42 percent of older Americans who do not have adequate broadband access at home. Initiatives like the FCC Emergency broadband benefit, an effort to provide affordable internet services to connect eligible households is critical to ensuring that no one is left behind.
Another responsibility that the industry must continue to bear is the ethical handling of data. As people interact with digital health tools more and more, it is important that they know that their data is protected. Building a foundation of trust is essential to using data to create better experiences.
With baby boomers turning 65 every day, there is no time to wait – the healthcare industry must invest in personalized, integrated care to meet the health needs of older adults. By making a commitment to such an approach, the health system can provide the high quality care we all need to manage our health for decades to come.
Heather Cox is Chief Digital Health and Analytics Officer at Human.