Average premium for family care in the US has increased 22% over past 5 years and 54% over past 10 years - significantly more than workers’ wages OR inflation. I recently had the opportunity to discuss this with peers and students at NYU STERN’s Annual conference by the HealthCare Association.
We discussed challenges in the era of patient centric care and innovation, both of which are rapidly evolving while the system overall hasn’t necessary kept up.
I hope the Q&As below help challenge your thoughts and act as a guide for career development and skills to prepare for, in the coming future.
Q: What are the challenges to a patient centric approach? For context, the (Institute of Medicine) defines patient-centered care as: “Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions”.
A: Patients treated in patient-centric hospitals are also less likely to require readmission in the month after they go home. However, from a business perspective, transition to patient-centric care can create financial strains on the system. Patient-centric care may result in the use of resources not currently reimbursed while reimbursement policies will need to adjust. While wearables, monitoring devices and patient satisfactions surveys prompt patients to take control of their treatment, to some extent this could erode professional obligations to provide effective care. There is a balance.
Apple just merged over 400+ provider records for veterans using lab and EHR records from vendors who use iOS systems for helping over 20 million veterans manage all their health data in one place. Will this lead to better health management and outcomes? Bear in mind that to fully conceptualize this, Veterans have to be on an iOS system to leverage the service. The results will be a good one to watch.
Q: What is the role of provider incentives vs. guidelines for handling conflicts between what a patient wants and their best interests?
A: Physicians generally work to keep patients satisfied as they hope for return business. 3 main categories of healthcare transactions influence with provider-care –.
Q How does one measure or think about satisfaction in a patient-centric setting? “Physician Satisfaction Surveys” in particular.
A: Evidence based medicine (EBM) was always meant to be patient-centric, integrating clinical experience and patient values with the best available research information. Leaning more toward patient values has intangible benefits on staff productivity and morale. However, these patient satisfaction surveys add to the demands of EHR record-keeping which sadly has turned into an administrative burden.
Perhaps more outcomes-research on the scoring system and the benefit of the surveys is required. Plus, it is worth considering trends in data analytics. I am not simplifying this by any means, but when Google takes charge and funnels the right music to a Spotify account there is a certain intangible time-value benefit.
Q: Is it worth spending on DTC ads for pharmaceutical products for consumer education/awareness?
A: Depends on the product, but with increased data available on specific patient-types and more targeted communication channels to reach these audiences, I personally do not think that broad strokes DTC gives the manufacturer or the consumer the best value for awareness being generated. Besides, you want patients to be more educated on certain conditions not simply aware.
Q: What is a major change needed for health care markets? How do patient-centric models fit in?
A: If the end goal is to provide high-quality and cost-effective care, there needs to be a balance between guidelines and incentives. This is largely in the hands of health policy makers. For this, health policy makers will need to deepen their understanding of innovation and solutions being presented. It would be good to start funding research into patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. Physician education is another area that could evolve. The ‘art’ of medicine is now merged with real world outcomes and a full understanding of managed care guidelines and policy making.
Q: Is it costly or cost-saving to make the healthcare experience more patient-centric?
A: It is certainly costly in the short term for longer term sustained benefits. Plus, our understanding of costly medicine isn’t necessarily complete.
Patient-self monitoring software and educational efforts will likely result in better clinical outcomes, but these need to be addressed by policy and reimbursement for impactful adoption.
Q:What types of emerging digital roles do we consider:
A: Broadly there are 3-4 categories in the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical fields emerging with increased Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), manly driving insights to help make decisions:
R&D: Utilizing AI to identify viable targets and genes along genetic pathways that could show promising results in disease areas
Commercial: Identifying Physicians who are likely to seek information on the target patient for a specific product.
Executive: Leveraging AI to showcase competitive and market strategy to the C suite:
What are the different career-options in Data? A worthy read :
The Different Roles :
In closing, the whole purpose of Health insurance was to prevent bankruptcy due to high-cost. However, healthcare has become so politically charged that people aren't trying to solve problems rather than identifying problems.
I encourage all aspiring HealthCare students, early career professionals as well as those taking control of career growth opportunities to consider a range of career skills as population health, health policy and digital strategy that are going to shape healthcare in the coming years.
This is also good because at the core it encourages entrepreneurship – whenever large corporations are challenged with a problem, there is an opportunity for an entrepreneurial venture.
In the coming issues of my newsletter below, I will introduce experts in digital strategy who have had successfully made careers in consulting or entrepreneurship.
I believe in identifying challenges and figuring out a solve; trying not to focus as much on my thoughts but on creating actionable takeaways for the audience instead.
Happy to see the new Healthcare specialization at Stern as of this year.