“Digital Push” is a phenomenon that has swept across industries, moving them toward increasing integration with IT. However, as organizations move toward greater efficiency, accessibility, and convenience in the IT era – it is useful to be reminded that the core of transformation in healthcare is patients.
According to Accenture, “healthcare technology is designed by humans, for humans.” Despite the explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other health IT developments, it is important to be mindful of two major considerations:
- Clearly define the intended user of the technology. For example, is the purpose of a weight-loss smartphone application intended for patients as the consumer, to collect data for intervention/monitoring of patients for doctors as the provider, or is it for both stakeholders?
While having a clear target of end users may not seem critical since patients and doctors often share the same goal, healthcare organizations are complex entities comprised not only of doctors and patients, but also health insurers and management teams. By distinctly defining a clear target, developers will be able to focus on proper functionality as well as overcome financial barriers required to develop the given application.
- Healing is a journey, not a measurable outcome. Per research conducted by Cognizant, the concept of “warm care” vs “cold system” may help with improving better health outcomes while reducing cost of care. In a “warm care” system, healing is a trial-and-error process where patients discover how to heal and find what works for them. In contrast, “cold systems” treat patients as part of a one-size-fits-all framework where the success of their treatments are measured by numbers rather than patients’ experiences and ability to function.
Through “personalized nudges”, patients can receive assistance and support necessary to achieve better health. Cost-wise, this may be more efficient because it will not only lead to more sustainable recovery but will also alleviate bottleneck in the demand at health institutions. Therefore, maintaining focus on patients through embracing “warm care”, both patients and management will be able to achieve synchronized end-goals.
Although the two major considerations discussed are not exhaustive, it is crucial to remember that technological advancement must be developed with patients front and center. Through having a clearly defined target and looking at patients as more than just numbers, the industry will be able to advance as a unit and reach the ideal Pareto Efficiency.