Thanksgiving is upon us once again, and it’s common for people to take a moment to think about those things in their lives for which they are thankful, including their friends and family, and particularly the continued health of loved ones.  With that in mind, we wanted to take a look at some of things that have been happening in the healthcare world for which we can all be thankful – specifically, innovative healthcare that is contributing to healthier, happier lives for both patients and physicians.

Virtual care

For any number of healthcare needs, ranging from minor acute illnesses to chronic disease, patient and physicians are meeting in virtual settings.  Patient and doctors alike are thankful for the added convenience of being able to connect over distances for appointments, reducing time and costs associate with office visits.

Remote patient monitoring

Increased awareness of how RPM can drive better care while reducing costs is driving its growth.  In fact, RPM uses have increased far beyond its more common use of delivering care to elderly populations and chronic disease patients, to a number of use cases benefitting patients of all ages.  Patients are benefitting from effective care thanks to regular monitoring and healthcare providers are able to focus on patients that require their personal attention.

Wearable tech

Fitbits, Apple Watches and many other similar devices have become popular consumer gadgets in today’s tech-savvy world.  But, they have also helped usher in a new era of connected health that leverages connectivity and wearable devices (as well as other connected home-based devices) to allow doctors to collect patient data and monitor their health statistics in real time to manage their treatment and provide immediate alerts based on defined thresholds.  The result is not only better information for physicians, but increased awareness and health management by patients, leading to better general wellness.

Patient-centered care

Also referred to as value-based care, this new model focuses on patient outcomes and ongoing wellness rather than simply treating current illnesses and conditions.  It’s a model that leverages data and technology to deliver proactive care and increase patient engagement in their overall health and wellness.  The goal is to not only drive individual patient well-being, but population health, relieving some of the burden placed on healthcare systems that are already faced with a physician shortage.

Artificial intelligence and automation

New models for proactive care depend on a vast pool of largely untapped patient and population data.  As these data points are integrated into connected health services, they will improve providers’ ability to deliver positive outcomes to individual patients and manage population health.  Providers can be thankful for artificial intelligence and predictive analytics that make it possible to turn these data sources into actionable intelligence for better outcomes – and so they don’t have to manually dig into the data.  Automation allows prescriptive results to be delivered directly to physicians or even patients as needed.

Improved legislation

While there are clear benefits to connected health technologies for both patients and physicians, its implementation isn’t growing as quickly as some may have expected.  Fortunately, regulatory activity has increased recently that will make it easier to deliver connected health solutions and should provide additional momentum for adoption of connected health solutions, increasing the value proposition across increased population groups.

These and many other advances in healthcare are creating new opportunities across healthcare networks for delivering better care, while helping physicians cope with an increasing workload.  As we move towards 2019, we’ll continue to discuss many of the topics related to connected health that are making it easier for physicians to treat patients, and for patients to keep themselves healthy.  The impact of this new age of connected health will be increased access to better and more convenient care and a generally healthier society – something for which we can all be thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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