By Ron Gutman
The Future – Personalized, Engaging Virtual Care Services
We’re in the midst of a shift in the way that consumers access healthcare. Informational, content-based health portals are waning, opening the consumer-facing healthcare market to more personalized, interactive, and engaging virtual care services.
No single standalone “feature” will make this desirable outcome a reality. Crowdsourced patient sentiment, healthy-living apps, appointment-scheduling services, e-prescribing and even telemedicine alone are not enough to create a high quality healthcare experiences that will improve quality and reduce costs. Consumers cobbling together a better healthcare experience from a menu of such services is not going to work over the long term either.
The promise of Digital Health lies elsewhere: in an easily accessible, intuitive, and integrated end-to-end experience. Consumers want a central destination that offers a solution to help them easily manage the entire continuum of care: from getting health information to pursuing healthy living goals, from managing conditions and obtaining treatments to interacting with specialists and adhering to health regimes—all in one interface that’s interconnected, ubiquitous, and available around the clock. Moreover, an easy to use solution that will drive real results needs to use real data to help get patients to the right resources and the right help from the moment of their first interaction. With technology now available to deliver valuable health care services, patient and physician engagement is required to enable a major positive impact on health, wellbeing and health care costs.
How We Get to This Future—Best Practices for Building Engaging Health Technology
On-demand platforms and services are on the rise. We enjoy immediate and personalized access to information, digital media offering that are tailored to our taste based on prior usage of people like us) through services like Wikipedia and Yelp, Netflix and iTunes, and Amazon and Google Express. Yet most of us remain stuck in a world of antiquated, slow, disconnected healthcare delivery.
So how can this be changed? Design a personalized and engaging integrated healthcare experience for both consumers and doctors that also happens to be the industry’s only platform delivering end-to-end virtual care.
HealthTap serves consumers with more than 68,000 U.S. licensed doctors through all three stages of healthcare: from learning (getting information from HealthTap’s vast repository of doctor-created answers, news, health app ratings, and medication ratings) to getting help (talking with doctors via text message or live HD video consults) to taking action (by following through on doctor recommendations by personalized checklists and health tips).
HealthTap also serves doctors who want to interact with patients throughout the continuum of care, from providing information (answers, tips, medication ratings, and more), to care (Virtual Consults), to follow through (checklists and reminders).
To benefit both consumers and doctors, building a strong learning platform is essential. Every time it’s used, it becomes smarter and more personalized for the individual user, and more useful for doctors and future users. The key to realizing the potential of these services is use, and use depends on engagement. Keeping patients and doctors engaged, means being available–whenever they want to use a service, and on whatever platform they choose, including mobile devices, personal computers, and wearables.
Moving Healthcare Forward
At HealthTap, we have a very ambitious mission: To help everyone everywhere live healthier, happier, longer lives. We believe this mission can be realized by creating intuitive, integrated, easily accessible ways for patients and doctors to connect and stay engaged with health and well-being; by making these services available to everyone in the world from anywhere in the world; and by constantly developing and refining these offerings based on usage patterns and user and doctor feedback
I also personally believe that healthcare is a fundamental human right. The vision for HealthTap–and for the industry–is ultimately to see this belief codified into healthcare processes on a global scale. Each day brings us closer to having this vision realized.
Ron Gutman is the Founder and CEO of HealthTap, which has reinvented the way people all over the world manage their health and well-being through the company’s free web and mobile apps that enable 24/7 access to personalized, relevant, and trusted health information in the form of answers, tips, checklists, and news from over 68,000 U.S. doctors.