Technology in Engaging the New Consumer

Posted by Mike Fontana on 25 Aug 2014

In my previous blog, I referenced a discussion I had with several hospital CEOs regarding the importance of patient engagement flexibility, both clinically and administratively. With the many different forces affecting the marketplace, engaging the consumer in multiple ways and locations is slowly becoming more important in order to:

  • Create demand

  • Meet the changing needs of the population

  • Create patient satisfaction

  • Develop efficiencies

  • Meet current and future legislative guidelines

Given these needs and expectations that are necessary to compete in this new consumer focused healthcare market, including and integrating new technology into the healthcare organization will need to begin as soon as possible if organizations are not currently doing so. While reimbursements from payers have long been an issue, provider organizations will still need to develop their strategy and put things into place in order to meet wellness and payment reforms around population health. Payers in the meantime will continue the process of making changes to include covering many of these new technologies, as it is in the interest of all involved to create reimbursements for services leading to wellness and efficiencies.

So what kinds of things can we expect or currently see continuing to be developed in the marketplace? On the clinical side, you will start to read more and more about ingestible and injectable items which will assist the body in staying healthy and monitor the patient at the same time. Is anyone old enough to remember Fantastic Voyage, the 1960s science fiction film?

You will also see the continued development of remote kiosks that will be available from retail clinics and provider offices to short and long term care facilities to your local grocery store. There were expectations a decade a half ago that sensors were very important items being developed and refined, and would play a major role in healthcare. If you were able to attend the annual HIMSS conference this year, you might have seen some of these patient remote home monitoring and provider services being offered.

Wearable technology has been in the news a bunch, with companies such as Google looking to make wearable technology in order to inform, monitor, analyze and assist with both the provider and the consumer.

Then we get to mobile phones and the development of applications and services which will also assist both the provider and the consumer in meeting their remote healthcare needs. I would expect that most of the monetization created for new items will be on the healthcare provider side, rather than directly to the individual.

With all of this telemedicine and associated services continually being developed, the question for many from the financial community will be how to play a role. Where can they use their technology, data services, capital, payments, and accounting expertise to assist and create value and efficiencies?

When I worked for a card company, I thought it was very important that they viewed themselves not just as a payments company, but as a technology facilitator and provider. Financial organizations will need to think about what they do and offer today that can be useful to the community, and what can be developed within their strategies and missions. They will need to do this by better understanding their Provider healthcare client and the consumer, the integration of data and disparate systems and organizations, as well as asking the right questions as they increase their dialogues.

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Mike Fontana Healthcare Industry Executive Mike has served in various roles for Consumer Directed Health Care Technology companies. His background also includes Management, Market Development, Consultant, and other roles for healthcare providers, financial institutions, and payers. Mike holds an MBA in Finance from Pace University in New York.

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