The Consumer Experience in Acute Care with Digital Health 

Lianne E. Brown  • December 12, 2022

The burden of chronic disease in the US is an issue familiar to anyone working in healthcare. With more than half of all Americans suffering from a chronic disease, and nearly 3 trillion dollars of associated economic burden, it is a problem of epic proportions that needs and deserves our attention. Technology and digital solutions have been at the forefront of how we climb the chronic disease mountain for years, but we can’t forget about the other side of the disease management coin—acute care. For Shawn Smith, CEO of 1 True Health and Syed Arfeen, VP of Strategy and Operations for Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), digital health has created a new value proposition whereby innovative disease management engages the healthcare consumer through a more personalized touch.  

For 1 True Health, personalizing the healthcare experience has been through shifting the paradigm for accessing personal health data. The current electronic health record (EHR) model does not give patients the ability to have meaningful or comprehensive view of their health history. At HITLAB’s Innovators Summit, Shawn challenged the audience to consider an ATM, which gives a real time financial snapshot, as a comparative idea to illustrate how personalized healthcare data would be accessible anywhere in the world. Through this modality, patients could make better decisions about their health at any point in real-time. Along with the 21st Century Cures Act, which prevents data blocking of electronic health information (EHI), 1 True Health has a good shot at disrupting the current EHR system by extracting meaningful personal health data and making it immediately accessible. As consumer engagement continues to be the focal point for digital health investment, acute episodes of care continue to challenge wider adoption because of its less compelling business case for investment.  

At HSS, Syed Arfeen and his team have begun to tackle the challenges seen in acute care by offering on-demand services virtually. Starting with Physical Therapy (PT), HSS has expanded access and availability of 1:1 sessions through virtual appointments. By doing, patients as well as providers have seen greater flexibility in scheduling and HSS has expanded its geographical catchment area much wider than previously considered. As a business case, this model has compelling attributes through strengthened service lines for the hospital as well as a wider revenue stream. This virtual platform has greater application for other revenue generating services that do not always require in-person access. 

Working in healthcare is tiring, burdensome and it takes a high level of emotional and intellectual effort that is entirely unique to the type of work healthcare providers perform. That said, innovating and ideating new ways to deliver creative solutions that tackle chronic and acute disease care management without increased burden to staff, with a focus on engaging patients will be how the industry continues to improve outcomes, engagement, and satisfaction. Innovative disease management will be fruitful through a multipronged approach that considers the use of virtual health, wearables, and more personalized care experiences.  

Learn more about: