Modernizing Care

The Future of Integrated Care Needs Digital

The Future of Integrated Care Needs Digital
Anita Nair-Hartman

Chief Strategy Officer

The last 18 months have dramatically shifted healthcare delivery in ways no one could have predicted. The COVID-19 pandemic was the ultimate stress-test for our healthcare system, and health plans, payers, providers, and patients are all coming away with valuable lessons on how healthcare can be improved moving forward.

After years of trying to break through on the periphery of care delivery, virtual care solutions had their shining moment as people needed accessible ways to receive care safely at home. Now that vaccines are allowing a return to semi-normalcy in some places, organizations are recognizing a few realities. Patients value the convenience of having another option to help them manage care. There is no return to the status quo with just in-person care. Digital options are here to stay with adoption up by 380% from the pre-COVID baseline.

Chronic care management is one area that can particularly benefit from a multi-modal and multi-channel approach because it requires continuous support from in-person provider care, telehealth, and virtual care tools to effectively address chronic conditions. Recent studies show that 60% of American adults have one chronic condition, while 40% manage two or more, indicating that traditional care alone has not effectively been meeting patient needs. This is why virtual care tools represent a key component for payers looking to implement a digital strategy and develop an integrated care model because they open up more channels for health plans to engage members with their health in a way that is convenient for them. 

Deploying a robust integrated care vision with digital solutions requires payers to think about three key components to successfully deliver results in outcomes and engagement. 

  1. Scalable, personalized user experience: There simply are not enough providers to address the American chronic condition epidemic. With chronic conditions driving the $3.8 trillion annual healthcare costs in the US, health plans have to think about complementing in-person care with digital care that is not only tailored to each member’s needs but also cost-effective. With Lark, our AI engine gets smarter and more impactful with scale allowing us to make constant, small coaching improvements that hyper-personalize the experience for members. 
  2. Accessibility through multi-modal, multi-channel care: People deserve to receive care through whichever modality they prefer, whenever they prefer it. Whether a member chooses in-person, telephonic, or virtual coaching, plans should offer all options to increase engagement and optimize outcomes. To seamlessly integrate care into people’s daily lives and empower them to take a hold of their own health care journey, care should be easily available, accessible, and portable.Lark leverages this familiar texting experience to incorporate personalized care into people’s lifestyle which can yield better health outcomes later on. 
  3. Interoperability: It’s crucial that all components of a person’s care journey work in tandem to create an accurate, comprehensive care plan that eliminates the potential for gaps or duplication between physicians and plans. When care is needed, plans must be able to  seamlessly direct members to appropriate resources. While chronic and low-risk situations are best suited for virtual care, health plans and digital solutions must work together to determine when and how to escalate acute cases to live care resources. 

As we enter the next chapter of healthcare, plans are forging a new path towards more integrated care. To facilitate this approach, payers need a robust set of capabilities that includes digital health coaching to support scalable condition management, multichannel engagement, and integrated health. By developing an integrated care model that allows members to receive care through their prefered engagement channel, plans can empower their members to take charge of their health and make an investment in their future. If you have questions or thoughts regarding this topic, we’d love to hear from you at modernizecare@lark.com