In January, the 38th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference (JPM) in San Francisco made waves throughout the healthcare industry. The conference bills itself as the largest and most informative healthcare investment symposium in the industry, bringing together industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators and members of the investment community. With more than 9,000 total attendees and more than 450 private and public companies in attendance, the event afforded AssistRx an opportunity to mindshare with stakeholders throughout our industry.
Big Tech Met with Privacy and Accuracy Concerns
Big names, including Google and Microsoft, and healthcare tech buzzwords were a significant portion of the dialogue at JPM. Artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing were among some of the bigger hot topics, but patient privacy remains a top concern among healthcare consumers and the health systems that may look to adopt technology from these companies.
Patient data privacy must be valued above all and weighed heavily when considering new solutions. Many new patient and healthcare provider engagement solutions are hitting the market. Protecting the patient–through mechanisms such as capturing patient consent at the point of care and offering secure messaging between the patient and their provider–should be the first consideration.
Patient data accuracy is another important factor. AI in particular is met with scrutiny from healthcare and technology providers looking to improve the patient journey starting at the point of prescription. Because AI technology relies on historical data to predict information such as medical and pharmacy benefits, it doesn’t provide the accuracy delivered by real-time connectivity to payers and PBMs.
Access to accurate, patient- and product-specific information at point of prescription delivers cost transparency to both patients and healthcare providers at the most important part of the patient journey. This results in informed decision making, improved primary adherence and an enhanced patient and provider experience.
Defining Digital Health
Moreover, one of the themes of this year’s JPM is confusion over exactly what digital health is and how that lack of definition might be harmful to the sector. Digital health, as defined by the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, is “all technologies that engage patients for health-related purposes; as such, it encompasses a wide range of products used across the wellness and healthcare industries.”
The similar term digital therapeutics is “distinguished from other digital health categories through their primary function of delivering software-generated therapeutic interventions directly to patients to prevent, manage or treat a medical disorder or disease.”
With this confusion comes a loss in credibility to the market. If every player claims they offer digital therapeutics, but there is no consensus as to what that means, no one truly offers it. Since many digital therapeutics products—which offer the most potential to chronic disease and complex therapy patient populations—will require prescriptions and may be difficult to access, it is essential to clearly define these products and their clinical effectiveness.
Using the Right Technology to Accomplish the Triple Aim
Across the board was an acknowledgement that every player in the industry needs to be working toward the triple aim: improving population health, reducing costs and enhancing the patient experience. These goals, as developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, are complex and challenging, but when broken down, can be achieved by informing and improving patient access to their prescribed therapies and thereby improving patient outcomes.
Technology’s ability to speed access to therapy and improve patient uptake is important to improving clinical outcomes. Acceleration services—such as e-prescribing, e-prior authorization, real-time benefit check, e-eligibility, e-enrollment and other services—streamline processes that are often enough of an administrative burden to negatively impact primary adherence. However, technology should be implemented in a manner that meets patients and providers where they are and in their time of need to be effective.
Specialty Therapies Require Specialized Talent
At an event where drug costs were top of mind—and patient access often depends on affordability—technology plays a significant role in streamlining enrollment into financial assistance programs. It also plays a large role in providing visibility into affordability at the point of care. By automating and streamlining these processes with intuitive, real-time solutions, it is finally possible to allow people to focus on people while technology drives process.
Because healthcare is such a personal and unique experience, and especially complicated when it comes to specialty therapies, the brands finding the most success throughout the product lifecycle are the ones that leverage both technology-based acceleration services and the robust talent and expertise of specialized patient solutions teams. We heard this sentiment throughout JPM: that relying solely on technology or people-based solutions could not provide the well-rounded patient experiences that encourage adherence and brand loyalty throughout prolonged and complex specialty patient journeys.
The lines between healthcare IT and healthcare services are blurring–creating a catalyst for industry innovation and transformation that finally delivers informed access and improved outcomes. Recognizing this trend early, AssistRx provides both the technology and services sides of healthcare, uniquely positioning our organization to provide the most established and proven solution as the two become more closely entwined.
What is the right balance of technology and talent for your organization? Contact us to learn more.