Connected health is the key to patient engagement

During the COVID-19 pandemic, connected health emerged as a critical resource with many healthcare organizations, patients and providers benefited from technology that enabled various segments of the healthcare system to stay connected, while also staying apart. Connected health technologies continue to expand access to care, support better disease management and reduce utilization costs associated with unnecessary hospitalizations and readmissions. 

As technology helps to bring health and well-being to patients, in their homes and throughout their daily lives, connected health has been an integral part of providing care continuum even post-pandemic. Now healthcare organizations, patients, payers, and providers are looking to expand to new care delivery models to help improve health outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs.

What is connected health?
Connected health refers to a model of healthcare management and delivery that uses technology to provide healthcare services remotely. These technologies are used to drive more integrated care and better health outcomes in a value-based environment. Connected health is effective because it is designed around the patients’ needs and helps bridge the gaps between patients, caregivers, clinicians, and payers.

What are some examples of connected health?
Connected health encompasses programs that leverage existing technologies and connected health tools such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring, medication management, wearable technology, secure messaging tools, and mobile solutions to help connect patients to their providers. Both pharma and healthcare enterprise organizations are investing in connected health solutions to help close gaps in care, meet patients where they are, and deliver guided support throughout the treatment journey. 

What are the benefits of connected health?
Connected health delivers many benefits across the healthcare system, including expanding access to care, reducing potential exposure to COVID-19 for medical staff and patients, and supporting disease management for patients with physical or behavioral health concerns. Connected health also presents a more cost-effect approach to reducing physical barriers, staying connected to patients, and presenting essential health information in real-time with increased transparency. This new level of insight is driving more patients to take an active role in their health while using existing communication channels. 

How does connected health improve patient engagement?
The benefits of connected health extend beyond care delivery and expanded care access. They also influence the way patients engage in their health. From the use of connected health tools such as remote patient monitoring devices, medication management systems, and fitness apps, individuals are more empowered to self-manage their health and wellness. Below are just a few examples of connected health technologies that can improve patient engagement.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Connected health technology can help increase patient engagement by bridging the gap between individuals and their healthcare providers. The technology enables clinicians to remotely monitor and analyze a patient’s health data in real-time, provide actionable information to triage and treat individuals faster, which results in more engaged patients and better health outcomes. Bluetooth devices relay the patient vitals to a hub which aggregates daily vitals with relevant data from their patient portal and electronic medical records (EMR). Based on each day’s readings, providers adjust the patients’ care plan to provide intervention or mitigate potential issues.

Patient Portals
Patient portals are another example of connected health technology that facilitates patient engagement. Secure messaging, which is hosted on many portals, allows patients to send messages to their providers when they have a question. In many cases, these messages improve communication between the patient and provider, saving time and mitigating potential issues.

Medication Management Solutions
Medication management solutions such as Medisafe can help ensure medication adherence and lowers the risks of overmedicating or missing a dose. Patients engage through email, text, and phone reminders that encourage both adherence and compliance. The advanced technology behind these solutions helps to determine dosing schedules, risk of contraindications, alert for medication refills, doctor appointments, and engagement with pharma-branded information to support proper dosing. Digital drug companions also incorporate notifications to providers and caregivers if a medication is missed. This type of continuous monitoring and engagement fosters self-efficacy and self-management.

Fitness Apps and Wearable Devices
Fitness apps and wearable devices also have an influence on engagement. These connected health tools record and track fitness goals enabling individuals to be more active participants in their health and wellness. Many new fitness apps can track elements such as nutrition, heart rate, blood pressure, and alert to the risk of exposure of flu viruses based on temperature. By integrating these apps into a central dashboard, patients and providers can capture a more complete view of a patient’s overall health for continued guidance. 

Connected health technologies are making it easier for individuals to be more active participants in their personal health. These devices are effective tools that not only help improve access to care, support disease management, and reduce risk, but they significantly influence patient engagement, which ultimately contributes to better health outcomes.

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