How Apps are Modernizing Healthcare Organizations

The App Economy Will Impact Population Health, What about the Business Side of Healthcare?

It’s Sunday night, and you’re making resolutions to start your new “healthy lifestyle” Monday morning. You hop on your phone and head to the app store to download some apps to help keep you on track. MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, Lifesum, and so many more health-related apps pop up on your screen, ready to make your life easier simply by touching “Install Now.” Wouldn’t it be nice if things were that easy at work? For healthcare professionals, the industry is slowly (but surely) headed in that direction. Here are three major areas experiencing appification on the business side of healthcare, and the apps that are leading the charge.

What is Population Health?

So, what is population health? Population health is the concept of improving the health of a certain human population, not just by increasing the average health of the group, but working on the distribution of positive health outcomes within the group.

One notable company that is hyper-focused on this is Higi, a population health enablement company. Their product is initially targeted towards consumers, empowering them to take charge of their own health. You may have seen a Higi station at a nearby grocery store or pharmacy (find a station nearby here), where consumers can take stock of their blood pressure, pulse, weight, and BMI, as well as participate in health-status knowledge checks and other surveys or assessments. If a consumer creates a free Higi account, they can track the progression of these factors, set health goals, participate in “Higi challenges” and celebrate their efforts towards a healthier life.

Not only do these features improve the lives of consumers, but they also help healthcare organizations better serve the populations they care for. Through Higi, consumers can choose to have their data shared with healthcare partners, creating value for both sides.

By adding this unique, timely data set to their workflows, payers and providers can understand the health status and needs of their populations, improve risk adjustment accuracy and reduce the burden of unscheduled care, retail pharmacies can better serve shoppers by better understanding their health needs; government organizations can enhance planning to support at-risk populations, and employers can conduct virtual health screenings accessible to all employees.

The benefits of Higi align around the consumer, starting by empowering them to know their numbers, then facilitating the ability for those consumers to share their data with trusted healthcare organizations, which in turn allows those healthcare organizations to provide better care at a lower cost, leading to the improved health of the individual.

Care Coordination and Engagement

While each healthcare organization wants to be the best in their respective industry, every single one has likely asked themselves: What is population health, and how can I improve outcomes for more patients? In order to make that happen, care providers are collaborating to coordinate the delivery of care, no matter how much the care setting varies for the patient.

Geneia is one of the major companies helping to drive better care coordination across the healthcare industry. They’re a healthcare analytic solutions and services company that helps improve outcomes and lower costs.

They have many products that support the transformation of the healthcare industry, but the product that best drives care coordination is from their Theon Platform. Within the platform, they have the Care Collaborator, which provides the tools for physicians, patients, and their care teams to act according to the 360-view of the patient’s plan of care. Once they gather the information in this tool, they can utilize products such as Theon’s Care Engager, where care providers can set strategic clinical and business priorities, forecast shifts in population health, raise patient/staff ratios through workflow tools, and compare organizational benchmarks to design better plans, manage costs, and negotiate relationships.

Elevating the Patient (and Provider) Experience

With advancements in technology and transparency in healthcare, organizations have to deal with consumerism in a way they never have before. Patients are finally understanding their options and making educated decisions about their care. How does your organization stand out in the sea of options? What can you do for your patients to ensure they get the best experience possible?

Companies like Formativ Health are working to help providers improve that experience, from marketing before the patient even gets in the door, all the way to billing and payments after the patient is gone. Once a patient shows interest in the organization, Formativ has tools that assist in handling the entire onboarding process. They begin by opening up patient access through engagement services that allow patients to interact the way that they are most comfortable, resulting in quicker responses and better communication.

After they acquire the patient and gather patient preferences and medical history, there is a provider-matching algorithm that pairs patients with the physician who best fits their needs. When the correct physician is pinpointed, they are able to utilize Formativ’s scheduling platform to make the process of making the actual appointment easier than ever before. All of these tools not only streamline the onboarding process but make it a much more pleasant, empowering experience for the patient.

These apps can provide replicable success, and value much faster than building from scratch each time. To take advantage of this, many software vendors are creating their own “App Store experience” where they provide enterprise-level apps to extend the functionality of their platform. Organizations can browse and select apps based on their needs.

Salesforce AppExchange is a great example of a version of an “App Store” for businesses that have been successfully implemented. Salesforce users can browse the store by categories, or search for a specific app, and they’re able to see reviews by other Salesforce users who have used the app. A newer example that is specifically for healthcare is PointClickCare’s new Marketplace. They have a network of pharmacy, lab, and solution providers that integrate with their EHR platform.

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