Home  >  Engagement   >   Connected Health Moving From Hype to Reality

Connected Health Moving From Hype to Reality

by ndrao | November 19, 2014

2014 has served as a coming out party for Connected Health. The buzz around telemedicine, virtual visits, and device-based monitoring solutions is rising to a fever pitch. For more clinically oriented stakeholders, this has been a welcome shift away from the noise around wearables and the limitations of patient portals.

A few weeks ago, Partners Healthcare had their 11th annual Connected Health Symposium. While there was certainly a fair share of cheerleading, an undercurrent of awareness seemed to flow through the discussions at the event, perhaps stemming from the provider-centric nature of the event itself. It seems there’s a growing admission that technology is not a panacea for any of the challenges plaguing the industry. Driving the point home, Partners’ Chief Clinical Officer highlighted how healthcare delivery is only about 10 percent of the determining factors for a patient’s overall health – behavioral factors are 40 percent. The unspoken implication was that technology focusing merely on the patient-provider relationship (e.g. a portal) is only going to get you so far.

Partners has invested as much (or more than) any provider organization in piloting new technologies; these efforts run the gamut of individual practitioners’ efforts to entire practices adopting mobile tools. They’ve partnered with leading telehealth vendors like Philips, who have been fine-tuning virtual models for acute care at places like Banner and Mercy for years. But as the patient care shifts from large hospitals to community and home-based settings, it’s becoming clear that this approach is not one-size-fits-all.  Smaller practices and downstream providers, including long-term facilities and post-acute care providers (LTPAC) can’t afford it. When it comes to the actual technology, the writing on the wall suggests consumers and doctors alike will resist adoption of additional devices when they can increasingly lean on their mobile phones as all-in-one hubs.

The startup world has also shown signs of getting its act together. Three years ago, the average startup was scrambling just to land a pilot. Now, a new class of younger companies like Omada, Ginger, and Twine have developed a more mature approach that involves demonstrating outcomes, interfacing with legacy software and third party hardware when and where they need to, and building for the end-user on all levels. These solutions are not yet ready for broad scale deployments (or conversely, the provider market remains unready for broad scale adoption) – but many VC’s are placing their bets that this nimbler, less expensive approach might be the key to transforming care across settings traditional and unconventional alike. Even EHR vendors – at least, some of them – seem to be opening up to unproven partners to bring remote monitoring tools to their customers.

From the consumer side of things, people can’t wait to get their hands on tools for better access. Televisit vendor American Well has had a strong year of growth, both with corporate partners on the payer and provider fronts, as well as with their DTC offering, which is just a year old. From other conversations with vendors and technology suppliers, it’s become clear that telehealth is a clear #1 priority for many in 2015.

At a time when Washington can’t agree on anything, bipartisan support continues for telehealth. The midterm election might actually help inject fresh energy into the industry. Skeptics may comment that we’ve heard this particular song before, but even they should take heed that the traditional barriers to connected health are steadily diminishing. The million (or really, billion) dollar question remains – is the market ready to start buying into these advanced tools and models of care? Depending on where you look, it already has.

Note: This month, CAS subscribers will have access to a Domain Monitor that will provide a brief overview of the connected health models that have secured a foothold in the market, as well as examine the trends and barriers that will shape future adoption.

2 responses to “Connected Health Moving From Hype to Reality”

  1. […] consumer engagement will remain a focus in 2015 as more patients work with their providers to take responsibility for their health, use technology […]

  2. […] that is realized through true connection with each patient and their surrounding population, will remain a focus in 2015.  More patients will work with their providers to take responsibility for their health, use […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay up to the minute.