Once the current challenges in navigating the health-care exchanges are sorted out#, many organizations will still need to iron out how to support the direct to buyer model.
Getting into the Healthcare.gov system is a step in a multilevel game that includes questions on how to pick a plan, whether one qualifies for federal subsidies, picking doctors, precription coverage, and provider reliability.
First things first -- the portal needs to be in working order, and users will need to be able to complete tasks. Starting with such a disadvantage means it will take a while for the reviews and data to be available.
Buying insurance is one way to manage personal health, and just the tip of the iceberg. Although right now it looks more like a scene from the Titanic.
Getting to health engagement will require more than a patient portal, says health economist and management consultant Jane Sarasohn-Kahn#:
The “consumer” wears many hats in health care, Porter rightly points out: she’s a patient, a plan member, a clinical trial participant, a user of health tools and information.
As the chart indicates, while we are in the midst of a decentralized mess, the trend line is moving in favor of the patient driving the process. The quantified self movement has already been providing usable data for fitness through apps that track health and wearable gadgets that keep an eye on what we are doing all day long#.
The world of healthcare is evolving in complexity, costs, and number of stakeholders. This is presenting huge challenges to policy making, decision making, and system design.
Peter Jones provides a compelling case for how service and information designers can work with practice professionals and patients/advocates to make a positive difference in healthcare.
Getting to health will take collaboration from many fronts -- providers, payees, hospital networks, physicians, pharmacists, regulators, policy makers, patients, their families and support networks.
The American patient
The future for the American patient is already here, just unevenly distributed. Early adopters of technology have already opted into a greater understanding of health through data-driven feedback loops.
Which is one reason why this would make a good case for the intelligent use of data to understand social graph connections. In Connected, the surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives, Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler reveal how your colleague's husband's sister can make you fat, even if you don't know her.
The authors built upon their research study conducted over 20 years in the community of Framingham# to track the dynamic spread of happiness (people surrounded by many happy people / those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future), and the collective smoking behaviors in the same community#.
The future of health
Is social, and not strictly in the sense of coverage or relationship with providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.). Making the process easier to navigate is just the tip of the iceberg. The future of health is a journey from direct approach to ownership and accountability.
For many however, it takes a lot more than getting on a scale to start working on personal fitness. We are not rational beings and habits take time. Which is why it takes a movement to involve people in behavior changes at scale.
While data is important, we are more likely to change behavior as a result of peer pressure. Sticking with a program is more fun in the company of others. A group or community creates the context for patterns to emerge -- and we are primed to recognize and track patterns.
[image credit Design for Care]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.