What will and should healthcare look like in 2023, and in the years to come? That was the main question posed at this year’s HLTH conference in Las Vegas, where more than 10,000 people—including a few members of Bright.md’s team—gathered to discuss top issues affecting healthcare. Labor shortages, interoperability, provider burnout, and direct-to-consumer competition were all top of mind for speakers and attendees alike, while the future of digital health and value-based care sparked interesting discussion among presenters.
Supply chain shock and a stressed workforce
As HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen said on the HLTH main stage in an opening session, healthcare is experiencing a “unique” supply chain shock, primarily affecting its workforce. Systems are forced to find ways of extending the reach of the resources they do have, including doctors, nurses, and other staff. Fragmentation remains a fundamental issue, leading many executives to turn toward innovation and digitization to alleviate strain.
But is it better for an organization to build or buy or partner? A number of speakers—including Hazen and Dr. David Feinberg, Chairman of Oracle Health, among others—highlighted the importance of strategic partnerships and outsourcing digital endeavors as a solution to labor shortages. However, these partnerships often take time, making it difficult to stay focused on a long-term vision and plan. With today’s patients increasingly unsatisfied with the value they receive from health systems, Hazen warned the future of value-based care needs to be flexible.
At Bright.md, we understand the need for digital investments that streamline clinician workflows and deliver value not just for patients, but for the health system as well. Because Bright.md is designed to automate paperwork while providing extensive clinical decision support, our solution addresses common staffing challenges and leads to significant clinician cost savings—systems don’t need to hire more providers to meet the demands of growing patient populations through asynchronous care. In addition, we help free up provider time spent on treating low-acuity common conditions, enabling doctors to spend more time on complex or routine needs.
We also see our health system partners through a robust implementation process from contract sign to go-live—our goal is to accelerate speed to value for organizations, patients, and providers by implementing our platform in 12 weeks or less.
The mental health mismatch
A number of conversations at HLTH focused on the supply and demand mismatch currently plaguing healthcare—impacting patient access and costs, as well as health systems’ bottom lines. However, the value of asynchronous telehealth for meeting mental health demand is becoming more and more apparent. “With [asynchronous telehealth], we have the ability to change the dynamic of taking medical history and asking questions—and to get more continuous, always-on care,” said Dr. David Stark, Chief Medical Officer at Morgan Stanley, in “The Ununited Mental State of America” panel moderated by Out-of-Pocket Health’s Nikhil Krishnan.
Work needs to be done, though, on bringing mental health services “closer to where people are,” Dr. Stark added, posing the question, “Can we embed mental health in communities and in primary care?” Additionally, mental health treatment needs to move even further “upstream” and include services such as prevention, self-care, and even strategies to tackle loneliness. With nuanced conditions such as these coming into the limelight, panelists also touched on the importance of patient routing and triaging, while matching patients with the appropriate provider.
Bright.md’s asynchronous solution includes clinical interviews to diagnose and treat hundreds of conditions—and the fastest-growing in use among our health system partners is our behavioral health interview, which helps treat anxiety, depression, and stress.
Not to mention, we’re also seeing “anxiety/depression” as the fourth most-common symptom searched by those looking for care through our digital front door solution, Navigate. The search term “mental health” is also within the top 10 conditions patients are searching and seeking the right care for with Navigate.
Amazon, Walgreens, and today’s health systems
HLTH 2022 also didn’t come without big-time announcements regarding direct-to-consumer giants and new plans to expand into primary care. Amazon chief medical officer, Dr. Nworah Ayogu, spoke about his company’s decision to announce Amazon Clinic and its desire to “lead with competency” to connect customers to products and services they want.
“We’re connecting customers to providers who provide care. We’re playing matchmaker and building a great customer experience. It’s a win-win,” Ayogu said onstage at HLTH.
But what does this mean for health systems grappling with already reduced revenue and stretched budgets going into 2023? “It really hasn’t been more clear—for health systems to compete against these big players, they need to accelerate adoption of asynchronous telehealth to fuel a hybrid care model, not only to help address today’s challenges but also as a vital investment for the future,” said Steve Giannini, CEO at Bright.md.
The announcement of Amazon Clinic, in fact, confirms Amazon’s development of “telehealth 2.0”—where asynchronous care both solves capacity challenges and integrates into existing workflows, instead of a synchronous approach alone. In fact, that’s one of the biggest lessons the healthcare industry has learned over the last few years. Although the pandemic accelerated critical investments in digital health tools, virtual care solutions need to do more than just replicate the in-person care experience—they need to transform care delivery by solving healthcare’s largest root problems.
At Bright.md, we know this is an indication of where Amazon and other large, direct-to-consumer entrants are heading, which should accelerate health systems’ plans for the same: virtual-first care delivery that subsequently lowers costs, reduces fragmentation, and improves overall outcomes.
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