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Analysis

Tech Tools are Driving Changes in Healthcare Delivery

By Mandy Roth  
   February 12, 2019

Digital expert from Accenture weighs in on the value of devices, apps, and more.

This article appears in the January/February 2019 edition of HealthLeaders magazine.

Innovation is everywhere these days and HealthLeaders recently honed in on five tech tools that could make a difference in the way hospitals deliver care. For further insight, we turned to a digital expert to weigh in on why these devices and apps matter, as well as the trends driving these developments.  

Brian Kalis, managing director of digital health and innovation for Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services firm in Minneapolis-St. Paul, reviewed background materials and websites for HeathLeaders' January/February cover story, "5 Tech Tools That Could Change the Way Your Hospital Delivers Care." Kalis is a recognized digital health expert with significant experience combining business strategy and digital innovation.

"We're increasingly seeing technology becoming a key part of the care team, whether that's at home, on the go, or in the inpatient setting," says Kalis. "In some cases, you're seeing the combination of a new care team emerge that includes patients and physicians, as well as machines. You'll see that in some of the [featured technology]."

"Video apps—like what Northwell has developed—offer caregivers, family members, and other providers the opportunity to easily assist and support the care of the patient through simple videos—eliminating long, complicated instructions," Kalis says. And "the EASE app gives family members peace of mind with a channel for communication between the patient's family and the surgical team while a patient undergoes surgery."

Consumer behavior is a driving force behind many of today's innovations. As the populace uses technology for other purposes in their everyday lives, health systems are now competing with experiences from outside of industry. "We're seeing those boundaries of expectations changing for health systems and healthcare," says Kalis.

In addition, digital therapeutics are being developed to complement clinical treatments for chronic diseases, such as COPD or diabetes. "These types of applications are growing in popularity as health systems explore new ways for patients to effectively engage and manage their care," Kalis says.

Many emerging solutions are developed in response to people's interest and desire to use technology to help them get healthy, stay healthy, or live with an illness.

"Wearables and monitoring devices, like [the Health Tag from] Spire, could bring value in detecting patterns and outliers in data that suggest abnormalities, such as a person getting sick," says Kalis. "The idea is by having a better understanding of unique indicators—such as respiratory patterns, sleep, and activity—you are not only more in tune with your body but actively engaged in managing your individual health."

Sometimes, however, these consumer devices lack scientific support to ensure their quality and patient safety.

"We're increasingly seeing technology becoming a key part of the care team, whether that's at home, on the go, or in the inpatient setting."

"What's unique about many of the solutions featured here," says Kalis, "is they're using a clinical evidence base and [some of these innovations] are coming from within a health system, demonstrating that they are solving problems that systems have en masse."

Consumerism, technological innovation supported by clinical evidence, and economic pressures are converging simultaneously to drive change. "You're seeing health systems, health plans, and new growth businesses responding to meet those needs," says Kalis, "while also solving macro needs of the overall industry in terms of how we provide quality care with less resources, while improving the experience."

Editor's note: This story was corrected Tuesday, February 12, 2019, to state that Brian Kalis works for Accenture.

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Tech tools are becoming a crucial element in delivering care.

Consumer behavior is spurring innovation at health systems.

Digital therapeutics are engaging patients in their own care.


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