The Healthcare Opportunity We Should Be Talking About

Here are some things we know:

  • When patients trust their doctors, they’re more likely to adhere to prescribed treatments
  • When providers share linguistic and cultural alignment with patients, patients are more likely to trust their doctors
  • The majority of Medicaid enrollees come from communities that are not white, not Native-English speaking, and are not culturally aligned with middle/upper-middle class culture
  • COVID has removed regulatory hurdles that kept Medicaid enrollees from accessing telehealth services
  • COVID has eliminated, at least temporarily, state licensing regulations in regards to telehealth treatment across state lines
  • 76% of respondents in a recent survey reported that they’ve used telehealth services in 2020, a growth of 154% over 2019.

The question is no longer, “will telehealth work?” The much bigger and more important question is, “How do we make telehealth work for the most people, delivering the best possible outcomes?” 

Given the state of our national health, we no longer have the luxury of gesturing vaguely toward the future as if change will inevitably happen at some point. Change must come now. It’s time to leverage technology and our understanding of people, their behaviors, and their needs, to build a system that actually works for all of us.

The answer is not the traditional healthcare divide and conquer approach. The answer is unite to care. The future is hybridized care: the ability to support in-person care with telehealth tools, and to support tele-health care with in-person tools. To have all systems working together, keeping patient data flowing between all parts of the care team. 

We need a world where patients can talk to a doctor who shares their cultural alignment and can meet their linguistic needs, regardless of location. For that same patient to be able to stop at a local clinic for blood work, vitals recordings, and to know their doctor will have that information to review with them during their appointment next week, even if that doctor lives several states away. Patients need access to doctors who can blend evidence-based medicine with deeply held cultural beliefs that can be big barriers to adherence. 

We can’t keep trying to bend people to fit the system. It’s time we bend the system to fit the people.

How do we get there?

  1. Modernize legislation. Hold telehealth providers accountable for their care, but stop creating barriers that block their ability to provide it.
  2. Think outside the traditional care delivery model. If care delivery were a new concept being invented today, instead of one that has evolved for thousands of years (from a time when the best medical providers had only a rudimentary concept of anatomy), it would look nothing like it does today. 
  3. Collaborate. State to Federal policy makers, Health system to health system, Plan to plan, provider to provider, tech solution vendor to all of the above. Radical change doesn’t happen incrementally and it doesn’t happen individually.
  4. Learn. The need for healthcare hasn’t changed, but the people who seek it have. Agewise, socio-economically, geographically, culturally, politically, and behaviorally. There is less tolerance for healthcare services that don’t work for the individual seeking treatment. Without tailoring care to the individual, the chances of disengagement become high.
  5. Act. Who can you call, email, tweet, or connect with today to have a conversation about turning big goals into big actions? 

 

ConsejoSano is ready to act, are you?