Here we have the next trend in the world of Connected Health for 2016. The end of Meaningful Use brought with it the beginning of other trends that will take its place (or perhaps, more accurately, its mind space and investment dollars). Such is the case with the checklist approach to patient engagement that we found under meaningful use, which will be supplanted by a more market driven approach to patient engagement. However, the end of Meaningful Use is also allowing us to shift focus to trends that were in existence but will grow in prominence due to their more long-term approach to managing patient wellness. Such is the case with outcomes based care and the longitudinal, and patient centric, care plans that are inherent thereto. It just so happens, this evolution will end up placing a very strong mark on the patient portal of the future.
Proper care coordination that meets outcomes based goals rests on the power of a longitudinal care plan. This is the plan that all members of a care team, including the patient, can both view and contribute to. As mentioned by Chilmark Research, in the current state, the long-term care plan only exists in theory. As it currently stands, these plans are siloed between facilities and still largely live on paper and within phone discussions. As such, patients have little opportunity for involvement in such a plan.
Enter the Digital Care Plan
At the heart of a care plan rests an important goal. We want to capture data from across an episode of care and, eventually, beyond its typical confines of the brick and mortar and into the “observations of daily living” to provide a full picture of a patient’s wellness and the path needed to maintain and improve wellbeing over the long term. Such a plan will be represented in two parallel paths that will eventually merge:
- Interoperability and the Digital Care Plan: There are currently, and will continue to be, plans under way to integrate data across the care paradigm. This is no easy task as the mergers and acquisitions of the past few years have brought with them a rather complicated mix of data systems. However, over the next few years there will be an effort to digitize the care plan such that care providers can coordinate electronically across an episode of care.
- Connecting the Patient via Portal: The promise of outcomes based care brings with it the ideal of the patient being the most important member of the care team. It is challenging for such to be the case when the patient is not able to contribute to the longitudinal care plan in their own right. In the future we are moving towards a new wave of patient digital engagement seeped in the principles of outcomes based care. This is one where the care plan lives electronically across the care paradigm and, eventually, becomes attached to the patient experience by way of the patient portal.
Needless to say, this trend will be with us for a few years to come as these digitized patient-centric care plans evolve. However, in the meanwhile we can look at health systems that are succeeding at consolidating patient data across the care paradigm and, in tandem, invest in increasing digital engagement with patients. Our fondest examples include New York Health + Hospitals, which has made tremendous investment in understanding their patient data story along with Healthcare Corporation of America that has beaten the odds and created a patient portal for a diverse group of patient populations across the country.
Meaningful Use is Dead; Long Live Outcomes-Based Care is just one of the trends we explore in our new guide, The Definitive Guide to Connected Health 2016: 10 Trends You Need to Know. Download the guide to see where this trend falls and to discover the other Connected Health trends healthcare executives must be aware of. In the guide we also provide insights to help organizations not only survive – but thrive – in the age of consumer-driven healthcare.