Advances in technology have brought about a transformation of business models across industries.  Healthcare is no exception and new connected health capabilities are helping solve some of the challenges the healthcare industry is facing, not the least of which are a growing elderly population, a physician shortage, and rising costs.

Connected health applications are evolving and enabling better general care as well as for specific conditions.  These include services like virtual visits leveraging audio, video, or web conferencing capabilities to connect patients, physicians, and other caregivers at a distance; store-and-forward technology that enables easier sharing of health information with specialists; remote patient monitoring for enabling more convenient collection of medical data without the need for in-person visits; and patient portals and mobile apps that help increase the efficiency and accuracy of two-way information exchange between patients and providers.

The good news is connected health can help reduce the strain on healthcare systems, while also helping drive an enhanced patient experience and greater patient engagement.  Several factors are converging to offer reasons to believe this year will bring a significant increase in the use of these and other connected health services.

Patients want it

Consumer market has become increasingly tech-savvy and are keen to leverage the technologies they use regularly to enjoy easier, better, and more convenient healthcare experiences.  In fact, 70% of people say technology will play an important role in improving their quality of life, and 56% say they would use technology to interact with their providers.  Time and cost savings are major drivers for patients, who would share information digitally with providers to lower wait times (61%) or reduce costs (55%).

Providers are investing

Physicians also understand the benefits of connected health solutions on their patients’ well-being, with 71% saying the use of personal sensor technologies will have a positive impact on health, while 68% say at-home diagnostic testing will help drive better outcomes.  As a result of the perception of better outcomes, along with operational and cost efficiencies, 91% of healthcare organizations either have already made investments in technology to improve the patient experience or place it among their top priorities.

New products and solutions

We’re only two months into the year and have seen significant focus on connected health from two major conferences already, with a host of new products and solutions having been announced at each.  At the annual HIMSS conference two weeks ago, interoperability, automation, telehealth, and the consumerization of healthcare were among the key topics of discussion.  In January, CES 2019 had a greater focus on connected health than ever, with a focus on collecting and using health data to drive better outcomes, along with a host of new related product launches.  The message from both was clear: the evolving use cases and benefits for patients and providers give connected health significant growth potential.

Expansion of reimbursement policy

The growth of the elderly population is increasing the reliance on Medicare and Medicaid, which makes regulation a key factor in driving the use of connected health services.  CMS has already shown a commitment by introducing new definitions and codes for reimbursable services that will make it easier for delivery of care through telehealth and remote patient monitoring services, including geographic barriers to adoption, including removing the originating site geographic requirement as of July 1, 2019.

To learn more about why connected health services are ideally positioned to help deliver better outcomes and relieve the mounting pressure on the healthcare system, visit us here.

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