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Message: INDUSTRY BULLETIN: Payers Are Using mHealth, Telehealth to Promote Better Health Outcomes

mHealth tools and telehealth services are giving payers like Humana the opportunity to push better data to their members and care providers - which, in turn, will help them make better decisions about health and care.

December 20, 2019 - mHealth and telehealth are enabling payers to give their members and care providers the information they need to make better decisions and provide better care.

But it’s not just about giving doctors and patients more data, says Worthe Holt, vice president of the Office of the CMO at Humana. It’s about giving them new data not found in the medical record, and in real or near-real time, helping them to make more impactful decisions about healthcare and wellness.

“Having actionable insights and data at your fingertips is extraordinarily important if you’re going to be effective,” Holt said during a recent episode of Healthcare Strategies, the Xtelligent Healthcare Media podcast series.

Holt, a panelist at Xtelligent Healthcare Media’s Value-Based Care Summit this past October in Boston (where the podcast was taped), sees Humana as being “on the cutting edge” of the connected health landscape, offering new tools and services that boost member health and wellness, reduce wasteful expanses and improve clinical outcomes.

“Anything that we can do that will allow us to deliver care more efficiently, meaning at a lower cost and more effectively, with a better outcome and decrease the burden on the physician as well as the member, has the potential to bring tremendous value to the table,” he says.

That includes looking at wearable mHealth devices that can capture real-time biometric data and supporting remote patient monitoring programs that connect doctors and patients at home, or looking at text messaging programs that push notifications and resources to members and “decision support tools” that help care providers choose the right treatment or specialist.

By giving doctors and patients the data they need to make decisions, he says, “you can do things ahead of time to maintain people’s health and avoid those unfortunate types of events,” like ER visits or hospitalizations caused by a lack of attention to proper care management.

Holt sees this new ecosystem existing outside the EHR, connecting providers and patients through the cloud and in places of their choosing.

EHR integration is good, he says, “but still for most physicians that information is largely just historical data that they’ve recorded in an electronic format. The ability to draw insights and learn things from that that can be applied is really a newer development, and that’s where the true value exists.”

Moving forward, Holt says payers have to work hard at promoting mHealth and telehealth, pushing at adoption percentages that still hover around the single digits or go no higher than one in every four people. It takes time to build support for new technology, and then to scale that technology out so that it can help entire populations.

“These have great utility, but in many cases you may not see the see the benefits of these technologies for many months or, in some cases, many years,” he says.


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