Health Care Model Under Siege as Patient Empowerment Grows

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Innovation Mandate, the first panel of the Summit, explored the “disruptors” in today’s model of health care delivery for both providers and health care companies alike. The theme of the morning session explored the growing influence and impact of the empowered patient through the eyes of three health care experts from outside the optical arena.

During the panel discussion, Mickey McManus, president and CEO of MAYA Designs, a technology design and innovation lab, spoke to why innovation matters today and said the three components of developing innovation depends on creativity, agility and insight. “It all comes back to solving a real person’s problem and figuring out where they fit in.”

 
 The panel (l to r) Mickey McManus, John Shagoury and Bart Foster answers questions from the audience.
McManus pointed to several trends that are changing at a lightening paced speed. The cost of complex products and systems has dropped dramatically and soon “there will be more transitors than grains of rice.” The explosion of information, which used to be stored in books, then radio and TV is now on the Internet. “Which brings us to the people—where do they fit in?” McManus said people aren’t always able to catch up with the ever-changing wave of technology. “But this is where innovation can happen, when you figure out how to close the gap between the information and the people. We are at an intersection and you, as health care providers, need to focus on people—your customers, clients and suppliers.”

John Shagoury, president of Eliza Corporation, a leading provider of integrated health care communications, continued the “people” thread started by McManus and said, “It’s all about engaging people and focusing on more coordinated trends. The biggest challenge in health care today is to drive engagement by making it personable and adding value.” He stressed the value of personalizing health care communications and said, “patients need to know the message is for them. It’s all about meeting them where they are, adapting to their needs so they don’t have to change their behavior, and making the delivery acceptable to patients.”

Shagoury said providers need to stay on top of how people want to receive information, be it through blogs, social media or even member-to-member forms of communication. “Health care is more complex because the rules of engagement keep changing. We at Eliza Corporation believe in driving healthy trends through more coordinated communications.”

     
 MAYA Designs’ Mickey McManus spoke about how technology is affecting innovation today.  John Shagoury of Eliza Corporation concentrated on the dialogue between patients and health care providers.  Bart Foster of SoloHealth referred to the self-service mindset of today’s consumer.
Bart Foster, founder and CEO of SoloHealth, featuring the next generation of health care kiosks, referred to today’s self-service environment of ATMs, store check-outs and hotel check-ins, saying “self-service health care is coming.” The kiosks are their own “ecosystem” which can empower people to start the diagnosis process (through BMI, BP readings, as well as vision screenings) and then go on to find a local doctor or OD. “It keeps coming back to the question consumers keep asking: ‘What can I do for myself?’”

Foster stressed that health care providers need to reach people where they are, in retail locations, “since consumers visit supermarkets an average of 2.1 times per week. In the past, retail clinics didn’t work because they weren’t economical, but that’s all changing. We need to stop trying to regulate the marketplace and reach consumers where they are.”

He stressed the benefits of kiosks directing people to the appropriate provider in their area. “If we can educate a consumer about their conditions, we can make the system more efficient for providers by raising the bar and having the technology work as a history taking triage tool.”

Foster said he believes, “There is an opportunity for the eyecare industry to be part of the overall health care system. We are entering a period of hyper growth and our biggest challenge may be what not to do.”

mkane@jobson.com