Austin Winberg, Director, Clinical Engagement & Outcomes, SONIFI Health
The current state of patient-facing technologies is one that focuses on providing patients up-to-date information on their care which then offers patients the ability to make meaningful decisions about their own care. Patient-facing technologies, such as patient portals and interactive technologies, serve as a bridge between patient, families, and care providers keeping the patient informed between interactions with the care team. Since the adoption of CAHPS measurements and Meaningful Use, renamed as Promoting Interoperability, these technologies now set the standard of providing patients with information and giving data back to the patient.
The backbone of these technologies has been the ability to integrate into multiple healthcare systems, such as the Electronic Medical Records, to create a single source of information for the patient. The challenge with this approach is that the patient’s interactions with care providers only represent a small sample of the patient’s life. With the ever-expanding world of consumer products, the industry is shifting towards tying consumer driven products with patient data to create meaning for the patient to achieve their desired outcome.
Migrating At-home Technology to Healthcare
Technologies available to consumers are increasingly more affordable and more functional. Voice assistant technologies, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, have found a place in healthcare, both within and outside the clinical environment due to their low cost, ease of use, and patient familiarity. Leveraging technologies within healthcare environments that are already familiar to the patient increases the likelihood the patient will adopt the technology and will continue to use and engage with care information at home.
"A platform driven off wearable device data can display the information immediately back to the patient to track progress toward an established daily goal"
These devices, in coordination with existing healthcare technologies, extend flexibility and usability within healthcare. For example, voice assistant technology is used as a communication device between patient and caregiver, allowing nursing teams to send patient reminders or remotely answering patient questions. The voice technology reduces the amount of learning or acclimation time needed for patient use. For example, patients can control activity with their in-room television and their education access and playback with the voice assistant device. The voice assistant functionality also enables audio data capture from the patient. This can be used to enhance the patient’s interactions with other patient-facing technologies. This ability is showcased with capturing a patient’s literacy level from voice prompting, allowing the technology to modify the appearance, options and language of the interactive session. As a result of this data exchange, an environment more tailored to the patient need is created and the patient is less likely to have a low engagement level.
Potential in Patient Wearables
Researchers have found positive health outcomes using wearable devices to track patient activity. Despite their positive findings, the research suggests that patients, as well as physicians, do a poor job of estimating patient activity. This inconsistency represents a need for greater awareness into what the data means and creating meaning for the patient. It is possible for new technologies to make the data actionable in several ways. A platform driven off wearable device data can display the information immediately back to the patient to track progress toward an established daily goal. One example is a post-surgical scenario. Patient data is measured against an algorithm of surgical types and how the patient’s progress should be tracking for a favorable outcome. Data is presented back to the patient as a visual to motivate and create patient awareness. The patient wearable data is used to trigger positive patient activity.
Patient messaging, education, and alerts can be triggered based on the patient data and how that data fits with recommendations based on the patient’s condition, diagnosis and demographics. An integrated platform measures this data with multiple source data to build a profile on how the patient will likely engage with their care. This level of engagement is used to create messaging and build an interactive experience that is unique to that patient. The technology platform supporting this ability helps account for a patient’s ability to engage with technology. The concerns on the varying levels of patient adoption with technology are reduced by using the data to drive a custom experience.
Technology Ups Connected Care Expectations
We are witnessing a drastic shift in healthcare with how patients consume and interact with care providers today. This will continue as technology becomes more advanced and adopted in patients’ lives. Relying on a technology strategy that utilizes a single device will inherently have challenges due to the growing expectations of patients. Investing in a technology platform that marries healthcare driven technology with consumer driven technologies will not only yield a patient-first experience but will drive improved patient outcomes due to the personalized interactions.