A Shift in Healthcare: Using Data-Driven Technology to Improve Health Outcomes

We are seeing a major shift in the health care payment model from fee-for-services to fee-for-performance. Despite the ideological shifts in the White House, there is one thing everyone agrees upon: health care is broken and changing the reimbursement model to help align incentives is how we can fix the problem.

This shift is already happening with great results in the private sector. The government is attempting to usher us into this new world, step-by-step, with another revision now under the name of MACRA. As health care providers try to wrap their head around this, there’s one thing that’s obvious:

In order to accommodate the changes of reimbursement, we will need to change how we practice.

We need to learn to be more effective at helping our patients realize their health potential rather than just asking them to do so; this is what we, as providers, will be rewarded for.

However, we’re already inundated with paperwork and strange documentation requirements, which are leftovers from the old model, as well as quality tracking projects, which are a part of the new model. So, how do we manage both of these models at once?

One effective way we can figure out how to fill this gap in our current practices is to find patterns in patient care and interaction and use technology to help.

For example, one of the measures the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is interested in is the HbA1c levels. It’s not a mystery as to how we can improve HbA1c: better diet, weight loss, and medication compliance. Every medical student knows this. However, any provider will tell you that convincing patients to change their habits is an entirely different ballgame.  

The track record for technology so far hasn’t been great, as recent studies on wearables show that there’s not been any real improvement in health outcomes. However, the problem with using technology is that it hasn’t been data-driven. The technology was put forth with the hope that it would solve a problem without testing whether or not it could actually solve the problem.

What we’re doing to help:

We want to change this trend in health tech. We want to use data-driven technology to improve patient care and health outcomes, as well as make your job easier and save you time.

We’re developing a messaging platform that is optimized for patient engagement. We plan to build a platform that maximizes patient engagement level by using data to find the best mode, time and message content, based on individual patients (that’s also specific to their intended outcome). Our first focus has been optimizing appointment adherence. Now, we’re shifting our focus directly to health outcomes.

How does this help improve HbA1c levels?

We will help bridge the gap between visits by sending timely messages to patients with targeted reminders, such as helping them keep track of daily sugar levels or encouraging them to exercise. Currently, practices are not rewarded or incentivized to send messages between care interactions. Even if they were, most practices don’t have the resources to do so. That’s where we come in. This is a prime place where we can automate messages to help bridge this gap in care. However, rather than just throwing messages at patients and hoping for outcomes, we will be testing and ensuring, through data-driven products, that the intended outcome is the actual outcome.

 

Want to know how we can help you automate your process and start using messaging to improve patient care today? Contact us to get started!

 

Tashfeen Ekram, MD, is a radiologist, self-taught coder, healthcare innovator and Co-Founder of Luma Health. Contact him on Twitter at @tashfeenekramMD.

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