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Benefits decision-makers need to determine which innovations provide optimal results for delivering patient-centered, quality and cost-effective care

The digital transformation in health care is nothing short of remarkable, as employers recognize the value of meaningful digital solutions to provide greater health benefit experiences for their employees and retain members during open enrollment season. Digital health has the advantage of providing access to care no matter where people live or work and at any time. In this process, it is essential for benefits decision-makers to determine which innovations provide optimal results for delivering patient-centered, quality and cost-effective care.

Building a Strong Foundation for Digital Transformation

Prior to the pandemic, there was marginal adoption of digital health solutions compared to the uptake and utilization surge that ensued with the widespread prevalence of COVID-19. The phenomenal, growing adoption of telehealth, for example, provided access to health care when in-person provider visits were simply not possible. As a result of these virtual experiences, people are now more confident in telehealth and dependent upon digital health as an essential component of everyday health care along with in-person visits.

Additionally, there are demographic changes in the U.S. driving this digital transformation, especially an expanded aging population which will need more advanced care. More and more people want to see their doctors virtually and get bloodwork online — rather than traveling to a physician’s office or lab if they can possibly avoid doing so.

But digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Over time, it requires a connected health care ecosystem of many players working across silos to provide the best care. Key to this change is enhancing the patient experience, a conclusion reached in a recent survey of health plan technology leaders which reported that building a strong foundation for digital transformation is part of enriching the patient journey.

Digital solutions address another significant concern: the Association of American Medical College reports that the U.S. faces a shortage of 21,400 to 55,200 primary care physicians by 2033, with the pandemic only highlighting this challenge to accessing care.

An effective digital patient engagement strategy directly addresses these issues with emerging support for moving away from a reactive approach to health care to a proactive model in which engagement tools and support bolster both patients and health care providers. Clearly, integrated digital solutions that improve coordination between all stakeholders – providers, patients and payers – is improving the quality of care, access to treatment and outcomes.

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