Digital Care Delivery During COVID-19 and Beyond

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the U.S. healthcare system was going through a major shift in healthcare delivery and reimbursement. The current structure is unsustainable as healthcare costs continue to rise and more consumers need access to high-quality affordable health outcomes.

Given this necessary shift, massive well-funded self-insured employers, such as Walmart, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway, as well as investor-backed healthcare companies, such as Maven, VillageMD, and Iora Health, are pushing U.S. healthcare towards innovative consumer-centric care.

We are also seeing the continued shifts in reimbursement and the management of patients from fee-for-service to value-based care arrangements, such as capitation and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) that drive the need for population and panel management. This requires that healthcare providers have better technology and digital tools to engage in these types of future-forward care delivery models. 

This shift was already occurring but has now been dramatically accelerated with the onset of COVID-19, where we are experiencing a drastic shift to digital and virtual healthcare delivery.

Many large healthcare providers had been taking years to integrate live video visits between a physician and patient, but with the onset of the coronavirus and better reimbursement from payers, we saw the shift to telehealth happen instantaneously, going from a few hundred telemedicine visits per year to thousands in one month. 

Thankfully for most patients the results from a telehealth visit are largely qualitatively positive. The patient no longer has to drive through traffic, find parking, pay for parking, wait with other sick patients in the waiting room, wait for doctors who are always behind schedule, and interact with care team members who are staring at a computer instead of looking at the patient. 

Now that healthcare systems and other providers have gotten a taste of the value of virtual care and digital healthcare delivery tools, it’s important that organizations continue to shift healthcare delivery to achieve what we have termed the Triple Aim + 1, otherwise known as the Quadruple Aim: 

  • Improve health access + outcomes
  • Reduce healthcare spend 
  • Improve patient experience
  • Improve provider + staff experience  

Given this shift in healthcare delivery we launched a webinar on Digital Care Delivery in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond. 

What is Digital Care? 

Digital care is patient care that incorporates technology. In the case of COVID-19, this is largely telemedicine live video visits, phone apps, and remote patient monitoring devices. 

We are now hearing the buzz terms The Digital Front Door and The Digital Care Journey.

The Digital Front Door is how we use technology to interface with potential and current patients in order to drive them to get the care they need at your institution. In many situations, such as pregnancy and surgery, the patient does in fact have a choice as to where they would like to receive care. 

The Digital Care Journey is how we incorporate digital tools into the patient’s care journey from beginning to end, whether those are digital tools for scheduling, monitoring, or navigation.

Digital care can be provided as a population health tool that reaches the masses or as an individualized care tool that provides precision medicine to one individual patient.  

One of the most important population health tools that reaches the masses is DIGITAL RECORDED VIDEO, which has been largely underutilized as a digital health tool in healthcare delivery.

Given the importance of recorded video as a digital care delivery tool, let’s discuss the issue with the status quo and how digital video can improve care, access, and experience while also improving clinician and staff efficiency.

What is wrong with the current status quo? It is:

Whether care is provided in-person or through a telehealth video visit, we know that care is inefficient and it is not fulfilling the needs of your patients, providers, or staff and not achieving your organizational mission.

This causes many problems for PATIENTS

  • They may not be listening.
  • They might not understand.
  • They may forget.
  • They may not speak English as their first language.
  • They might need a caregiver to manage the information.
  • They might toss the paper in the trash without reading it.

Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners! So how effective are we really being with a one-time verbal communication of information to patients?

There are also many problems for the PROVIDERS

  • They don’t have time to convey all the information to their patients in a single appointment. 
  • They have to repeat the same standard information with each patient.
  • Their patients aren’t prepared for their appointments. 
  • They feel frustrated and view their patients as non-compliant.

There are also problems for the ORGANIZATION overall:

  • Poor quality outcomes and ratings 
  • Poor patient experience 
  • Provider and staff burnout 
  • Surgery cancellations and appointment no-shows 
  • Wasted $$$ on paper educational and marketing materials that go in the trash 
  • No brand engagement/increase in market share

The list goes on but the overarching theme is this: when we leave patient care to be entirely verbal and on-paper then we are providing inefficient care that wastes time, money, and energy. We are also leaving increased revenue on the table that could be driven from improved patient outcomes and experience as well as increased market share. 

How do we make care more efficient using digital tools?

We must implement digital asynchronous video as a care delivery tool

We use recorded videos in care delivery to drive targeted benefits such as increasing revenue, cutting costs, improving access and outcomes, reducing spending and improving experience. Many organizations are familiar with video libraries. But these are never developed with a targeted ROI and they are never integrated into clinical care. They attempt to check a box for patient education but never check the box for clinical and operational efficiencies. 

We follow a three-step process to ensure ROI with recorded videos: 

  1. Strategize
  2. Develop
  3. Execute 

1. The first step in implementing digital asynchronous care is to ‘strategize’.

We work with our clients to lay out the goals we are trying to achieve, the target consumer, topic, and how we will directly measure that we have achieved those goals. We also help our clients to develop a multidisciplinary team customized to the client but often including a clinical leader, an administrative leader, and a marketing lead.

2. The second step is to ‘develop’ the content, operations plan, and marketing plan.

This step is incredibly important because we need to both create high-value videos while also ensuring the videos will be viewed by consumers. We take on every step of video production including scripting, filming, post-production, and post-post production add-on’s that include hosting the video with clickable Calls-To-Action. We simultaneously partner with the marketing and operational leads to build implementation plans using our templates.

3. The last step is to ‘execute’ on our plans.

This includes publishing the video(s), implementing our marketing and operational plans, and analyzing the process and goal metrics to calculate our ROI. 

Why is recorded video better and more reliable than verbal and paper clinical operations? Analytics.

With digital marketing tactics we can use analytics to see who watched the video, how much of the video they watched, whether they clicked on our call-to-action buttons, and whether they understood and gained value from the content.

This data can be used to drive performance and action and we can directly correlate time and money saved for your clinicians and staff. 

Which content areas benefit the most from digital video as an asynchronous care delivery tool?

If you have the strategy, processes, and analytics in place you can make videos on any content area: women’s health, surgery, cancer, transitions of care…the list is endless!

Just be sure when implementing that you are targeting ROI.

The ROI calculation will be different based on the organization, your target audience, and content area. It will range from cost cutting, i.e. replacing paper and lost expensive clinician/staff time, to increased value, i.e. improved patient outcomes, experience, and market share.

It is recommended that you start small with the clear and crafted ROI you are seeking and then grow and expand to other content areas. 

In order to become the leaders and achieve ROI in virtual care through digital asynchronous care, there are some decisions you will have to make:

The first question to ask yourself is: Where are your low hanging fruit? 

To determine the low-hanging fruit areas you should target, ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Where are my providers/staff having redundant standardized conversations with patients that we could put on video? 
  2. Where would it be better and more effective for the patient to know the information BEFORE the appointment
  3. Where is it critical that the patient has access to the information (along with a caregiver) in order to ensure the patient complies with their care, i.e. we can’t risk them forgetting or not understanding

The second question to ask yourself is: Will you build digital asynchronous video in-house or work with a partner to achieve success?

If you decide to work with a partner, you need to know what to look for in a partner. They should have the following background and expertise: 

Because it is a partnership you need to focus on partnering with someone who knows:

  • How to develop your strategy
  • How to develop ROI and metrics
  • How to film including set design, editing, post production, CTA’s, etc.
  • How to market and operationalize
  • How to PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act)

So, what do you need to think about in order to start your digital care journey and be the best-in-class in virtual care? Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Where are your low-hanging fruit?
  • What are your barriers to incorporating digital asynchronous care?
  • How can those barriers be overcome?
  • How would you establish the ROI of digital video at your organization?
  • Who do you need to engage to ensure buy-in for your first pilot? 

With digital asynchronous care you can move a 1:1 redundant unstandardized conversation into a standardized impactful conversation that can reach millions of patients with one click and drive operational efficiencies. 

We have worked with clients across different spheres of healthcare topics to integrate digital recorded video as an asynchronous care delivery tool.

With Resolution Care Network physicians, we were able to save over 15 hours and over $1,000 in clinician time in just two weeks of implementation.

Our goal is to support healthcare organizations across the country to optimally integrate digital asynchronous video into their care delivery operations. With asynchronous video we can improve access, outcomes, and efficiency that is a win-win-win for patients, providers, and organizations.

Ready to chat about digital asynchronous care delivery at your organization? 

We hope you found the webinar and this information valuable as we further shift towards optimal utilization of digital care delivery tools in the future of virtual care and beyond.

Cheers to Your Health and Happiness!

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