The goal for many healthcare technologies is the same as for other gadgets: to meet consumers where they are and become a part of their everyday life. The marketplace for technology-enabled care is wide—it includes everything from wearable sensors that monitor patient vitals to end-to-end population health platforms that stratify data.
Technology-enabled care that makes primary care more accessible and less expensive includes sensors and applications that attach to and are incorporated with mobile devices that then send data to providers. Several technologies—including remote patient monitoring from Vivify Health for chronic heart failure patients, a renal care management platform from Cricket Health, and a mobile application from Deloitte prescribed for diabetes patients—aim to use mobile devices and sensors to curtail chronic disease and increase program adherence, says Dan Housman, chief technology officer of ConvergeHEALTH, a health and life sciences software consultancy created by Deloitte.
On the payer side, technology-enabled care includes add-on technology to existing software that streamlines claims and clinical data, Housman says. Horizontal tech players such as Salesforce are working to connect back-end provider systems with payer systems to coordinate care at lower costs. On the EHR side, Cerner and Epic are consolidating with smaller, specialty systems in order to work more efficiently with payers.
According to research by McKinsey & Company based on 2014 healthcare expenditures, technology-enabled care could shave up to $220 billion per year off primary care expenses with widespread use, and an increase in automated and self-service technology in healthcare could save up to $48 billion annually in productivity. New revenue streams brought about by tech-enabled care, including remote patient monitoring and telemedicine, could add $13 billion to $24 billion in revenues.
Deloitte’s 2016 Survey of U.S. Healthcare Consumers found that people of all ages are becoming more open to tech-enabled care. They survey found that seniors show a growing interest in remote monitoring technology, and millennials with chronic diseases are more interested in telemedicine. Fifty percent of survey respondents said they are interested in using telemedicine for post-surgical care and chronic disease monitoring. The survey also found that more than 80% of adults want to receive care at home, if possible, a fact that makes self-regulated and continuously monitored technologies an increasingly important part of care models.
“There has been a big shift in mobile utilization combined with sensors and artificial intelligence. We are starting to see more engagement to the patient on the channel of their choice,” Housman says, adding that in the future, healthcare technology will aim to take advantage of chat and voice-enabled engagement already present on platforms such as Facebook and Google.