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HomeHealthPayers and providers should re-evaluate their digital strategy to prepare for the...

Payers and providers should re-evaluate their digital strategy to prepare for the future

In the near term and just beyond the crisis, payers could explore reimbursement parity for in-person and virtual visits, integrate telehealth data with EMR and lab data, and expand beyond e-checkups to include effective home care and virtual behavioral health check-ins.

digital medicine

While pursuing these initiatives, however, it’s imperative that health organizations accelerate their long-term enterprise digital strategy to achieve their virtual care objectives. Given the disruption caused by the current crisis, health organizations should evaluate all digital strategic initiatives to either drive growth or create value from a cost of care and efficiency perspective.

We believe that chief digital officers (CDOs) should focus on the following strategic imperatives in close collaboration with their CEO to accelerate enterprise digital strategy:

  1. Evolve your roadmap: Take a structured approach to re-engage, reassess, respond, and reinvent in order to take your digital roadmap to the next level. Start by re-engaging with members and listening to social media to understand their members’ needs. Reassess the value and feasibility of your digital roadmaps and related strategic plans based on your understanding of members’ priorities and preferences. Respond to your members’ needs and reinvent your digital strategy with agility. A revised, agile roadmap should be re-evaluated periodically, such as once per quarter or twice per year.
  2. Prepare for the unknown: Use a well-defined use case prioritization framework to identify relevant digital initiatives from both a strategic and tactical standpoint that can be employed to manage ongoing challenges to your operating environment. For example, one of our health plan clients prioritized the implementation of a chatbot to handle a sudden spike in call volume to their call center. This is a tactical initiative, yet it was relevant and timely for their operating environment. A cross-functional team of digital health consulting experts can help you respond to ongoing challenges by taking prioritized use cases through an agile development process. We recommend leveraging an iterative “learn, test, and learn” process to help you quickly scale successful experiments across the enterprise.
  3. Modernize your infrastructure: Loosely integrated technology and siloed data sources across departments pose a significant barrier to scaling virtual care, so it’s important to modernize your technology infrastructure in the long term. It’s also a time-consuming, investment-intensive process, so it’s critical to apply a tech investment lens during the roadmap re-prioritization process for high-impact, strategic use cases, not afterward.
  4. Become agile and user-centric: Discover and scale your prioritized use cases at the pace of the crisis based on member and employee experience with your technology offerings. Continue to learn, scale, and test with a continuous feedback loop.
  5. Invest in your team’s adaptability: Partner with human resources to leverage online training programs. It’s essential to provide continuous learning opportunities to your digital team members so that they can adapt to the many changes your business is facing and will continue to face. Prioritize remote boot camps and workshops in a collaborative learning environment for your digital team, especially those that focus on work-from-home models.

We recommend that CDOs pursue these imperatives while holding fast to some guiding principles: Health organizations should partner effectively with outside digital strategy consulting organizations to bring this “digital first” journey to life. Online channels should be designed around simplified, streamlined, value-adding member experiences driven by digital technology and data. Finally, the member experience should be seamless and friction-free across the entire business process.

Health organizations should move forward and achieve progress while moving at the speed of trust. Patients and members have a trusted relationship with their physicians and providers. It’s hard to switch from an in-person care visit with a “trusted advisor” to a virtual care environment. Large-scale adoption of virtual care can only be achieved by having an empathetic view toward members. It will take time to build trust with continuous, sustained ethical innovation.

Digital can no longer be an afterthought. Patients and members expect the same digital experiences from healthcare that they encounter in every other sector of the economy. Payers and providers need to accelerate their digital implementation with agility and resilience and achieve success in weeks and months instead of years. This necessitates a crucial mindset shift. Digital health consulting firms can help health organizations understand the issues, implications, and ideal solutions regarding digital medicine.

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