Thanks to the internet, social media, new digital health tools, and the rise of ecommerce, people’s expectations are changing when it comes to their personal health experience. Much like the retail industry, doctors and healthcare companies are working to gain and retain people’s trust in new and innovative ways.
What is Personal Health?
Personal health is shaped by the physical, behavioral, and social drivers that impact our lives every day. Physical drivers can include things like exercising regularly, maintaining a nutritious diet, and getting good sleep. Behavioral drivers can include your emotional health and well-being and the ability to receive counseling or other forms of behavioral healthcare when you need it. Finally, social drivers are largely driven by where we live, work, and play: Our support systems and access to things like nutritious food, healthcare, and transportation.
The personal health experience, as defined by the Beryl Institute, is the sum of all interactions that influence peoples’ perceptions across the continuum of care. Care providers and health companies can improve that experience by offering a personalized, whole-health approach that looks at the factors important to maintaining and improving each person’ individual health.
How Is the Healthcare Industry Focused on Personalized Healthcare?
Here are some leading ways that the healthcare system and care providers are improving people’s personalized healthcare experience.
- Digital Transformation to Simplify Healthcare and Drive Personalized Health
In a survey, 25% of people said results and records from one physician didn’t reach a specialist in time for their appointment. When physicians have ready, secure access to individual health information, it improves the personal health experience for people by reducing administrative delays, lowering costs, and improving care delivery. Many of the tools to facilitate coordinated care already exist, but on siloed and separate platforms. Digital transformation in healthcare is helping to integrate and align technology into one comprehensive platform so it works in existing workflows. AI-driven insights fueled by big data — both population-level and individual health data that is shared securely, with permission and while protecting privacy — are helping to make healthcare more proactive and personalized, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Efforts and Partnerships to Advance Health Equity
Just as everyone has a measurable heartbeat and blood pressure, everyone experiences social factors that impact their health. When there are unmet health-related social needs within these drivers, they create barriers to health equity. Health inequities are costly to people and communities in the form of greater illness (morbidity), higher death rates (mortality), and greater financial strain (out-of-pocket costs) among some populations, amounting to approximately $93 billion in excess medical care costs and $42 billion in lost productivity per year. Health companies and care providers can advance health equity by collaborating with communities to assess social drivers, tailoring programs to support unmet health-related social needs, and working to provide greater access to care. It’s all aimed at improving health outcomes and personal health experiences — for everyone.
- Value-based Care to Improve Outcomes and Drive Affordability
Value-based care is a way to improve care, drive better health, and address rising health costs by reimbursing care providers for outcomes rather than quantity of services. This model, which requires strong partnerships between health companies and care providers, prioritizes preventive care and often results in better outcomes and lower costs. Rather than fee-for-service reimbursement, value-based care rewards physicians for efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to people’s personal health experience. A study of value-based care showed that removing out-of-pockets costs for primary care visits decreased out-of-pocket costs for all physician visits by nearly 13% annually. In another study, 89% of participants in a value-based care program for people with diabetes said that it helped them take better care of their diabetes.
- Personalized Nudges to Care that Improve Healthcare
Part of improving healthcare is delivering the right information at the right time, so people can make the most informed choices when it comes to their health. This can come in the form of text reminders for screenings and other appointments, article recommendations on healthcare websites that are personalized to their individual needs, and tips for leading a more active lifestyle delivered as an email newsletter, among others. “We know that personalized nudges help influence people’s behavior,” said Anil Bhatt, Elevance Health global chief information officer. “That is why we are hyper-focused on building and delivering personalized healthcare, recommendations, and support. AI-driven personalization helps deliver that information when it matters the most — and at a scale that was previously not possible.”
- Meeting People Where They Are
While this concept is important in reducing or eliminating health inequities, it can and should be practiced with all people to improve their personal health experience. A consumer-centered health system can create the kind of personalized healthcare experience that people increasingly expect by offering online patient portals, telehealth options, and other technology for faster service and improved convenience across the spectrum of care. An intuitive consumer experience lets people focus on their health rather than on navigating the healthcare system.
Improving Personal Health: The Human Element
All five of these trends are helping to make healthcare more personal by supporting people as they navigate and drive their health journey. Implementing the right technology, protocols, and incentives will certainly improve people’s personal health experience, but a human, empathetic approach to care is another factor that’s harder to measure. It includes respecting people’s circumstances, experiences, and choices, working with them to meet their goals, practicing cultural humility, and engaging people to actively lead their healthcare.