How providers, payers rapidly deploy new tech

Healthcare providers and payers are eager to rapidly deploy new innovations, even if the evolution of technology in the healthcare industry has been slower than others.

At North Memorial Health Care, patient engagement tools have been a main investment, Kelly Macken-Marble, president of population health and ambulatory services, said at the at the MD&M Minneapolis conference, according to an MD+DI article. The Robbinsdale, Minnesota-based health system installed a platform where patients could call, Web chat or text with a scheduler or nurse to set up appointments or speak with a nurse.

When it comes to such tools, educating patients on access and use is especially important. A recent survey by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices and the Bipartisan Policy Center found that many consumers lack access to and knowledge of digital tools such as text and email reminders.

However, patients also want doctors who are more digitally connected; almost half of the more than 1,000 respondents to a survey by Surescripts said that renewing a driver's license would require less paperwork than seeing a doctor for the first time.

Insurer UnitedHealth Group was able to expand new technologies after it became evident that they helped improve interaction with consumers, said Brett Edelson, vice president of Medicaid products, according to the article. "Once we see that glimmer of evidence on our population, we very quickly scale," he said.

The payer partnered with startup Healthify for one of its projects to create a database of community organizations that have social services. UnitedHealth tested the tool in one market, and after that proved successful, was able to expand it to all Medicare markets, Edelson said.

In August, UnitedHealth expanded its mobile app, Health4Me, to members enrolled in its Medicaid plans. The move allowed members in 17 states to locate healthcare providers, track processed claims and access their insurance cards.

To learn more:
- here's the MD+DI article