Adding value to value-based care through a digital health solution
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Adding value to value-based care through a digital health solution

Michelle Schwartz

By Catherine Collings, MD, MS, FACC, DipABLM

Whole person health, health equity, value-based care, and striving for the Quintuple Aim are key topics of discussion in healthcare conferences, among accountable care organizations, payers and providers.  Tremendous resources are being directed to each of these topics as well as to the frameworks to accomplish these goals.  Assessing and directing resources to social determinants of health, mental health services, care coordination, medication compliance, and data analytics are vital ingredients to these frameworks.  However, other ingredients are needed to lift and fully meet the promise of the Quintuple Aim and authentic value. The missing elements are three-fold.

Missing value-add #1: Authentic human connection.

Each patient is a human seeking connection with other humans, particularly when it relates to their physical and emotional health.  As a cardiologist and lifestyle medicine physician with decades of clinical experience, I found that offering authentic connection to my patients had great therapeutic value to them…and as it turned out, to me.  It allowed me to provide whole person health, recognize and respect social drivers of my patient’s health, and incentivize the patient and I to coordinate their care and even factor in sensible solutions to cost of care.  There is simply no substitution for human-to-human connection when working with humans.  However, expectations of high patient visit volume and data acquisition by physicians along current provider shortages are impediments to this very personalized care in decades to come.  Keeping this ingredient first and foremost in scalable digital solutions is paramount.  

Missing value-add #2:  Robust integration of lifestyle treatments.

The second missing element is under recognition that everyday lifestyle behaviors, whether driven by decisions or circumstances, are the root cause of most of the chronic disabling and costly conditions we, our patients, and our families face.  While there are things out of one’s control and acknowledging these are vital in compassionate care, exploring more of what is within an individual’s control is under-recognized as a tool in healthcare.  Cursory attention to the well-researched data linking lifestyle to major chronic conditions and their costs of care, will limit the financial upside of avoiding costly hospitalizations in capitated frameworks.  

Missing value-add #3: Providing evidence-based information and support.

The third missing ingredient is optimism or specifically, a belief that patients have a phenomenal capacity to make changes in lifestyle behaviors when given support and accurate information. I and other lifestyle medicine certified physicians see this every day, as do health coaches and other providers. Patients tire of fad remedies sourced through the internet and crave detailed lifestyle and self-care information and support from trusted healthcare organizations, payers, and providers.  

All three missing ingredients can be scaled by integration of well-crafted digital health solutions.  HealthFleet’s approach is to provide human-connected coaching focused on everyday lifestyle behaviors on a backbone of accurate lifestyle curriculum and content which adds up to whole person care at scale. The results are undeniable: better patient satisfaction, improved health outcomes, better provider wellbeing, lower costs, and equitable care.  Patients engaged through lifestyle coaching have better emotional health, the skills to navigate social determinants, comply with medications, and collaborate with care coordinators.   Now that’s true value in value-based care scaled through digital health solutions like HealthFleet.  

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