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We’re at a turning point in the healthcare sector. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation initiatives so quickly in the last 20 months that we’re beginning to see a shift into digital health maturity. Of course, virtual health is nothing new. The healthcare industry had already been making slow strides towards improving the patient experience with digital solutions but the big difference now is how that focus has been taken to the next level. Organizations from health plans to providers are embracing and seeking out digital solutions at a much faster, proactive pace to complement their in-person services and to keep up with consumer expectations.
As we close out 2021, we want to reflect back on everything that has brought us to this point and start to prepare for what might be ahead in 2022. We have a few predictions:
1. Virtual care will become a permanent, central part of the healthcare landscape
The rise in popularity of virtual care was born out of necessity during the pandemic. The impact of deferred in-person care during these last nearly two years has greatly shifted consumer attitudes and perceptions and truly unlocked the potential for virtual care. As a result, we expect investments towards digital solutions to continue at full speed. In fact, 81% of healthcare executives expect their organizations to fast-track further digital transformation.
As we continue to move forward with both in-person and virtual care being part of the patient journey, we are also proceeding intentionally because we know digital solutions only shine if implemented thoughtfully. Lark continues to commit to interoperability, ensuring our technology is adaptable and compatible with the current infrastructures of health plans.
2. More emphasis will be placed on the healthcare consumer experience
It’s clear that the rise of consumerism in healthcare has created new pressures for organizations to find digital solutions to meet the shifting needs related to service, convenience, and overall experience. There has been a 25%¹ increase in consumers seeking out digital tools to navigate their health journey since 2019. This also means that organizations like health plans are holding more value for metrics such as engagement within digital tools as a clear indicator of member satisfaction.
At Lark, we are looking at engagement through the lens of AI where our technology learns to adapt to the member’s habits, goals, and communication preferences with compassion. We can’t expect a member’s experience with Lark to always be consistent — health journeys often ebb and flow. We believe the right digital tool helps members understand how to manage their condition by putting them in the driver’s seat of their care and giving them the resources and insights to achieve their health goals or self-manage their conditions.
3. Digital solutions will help close the health inequity gap
It will always take continuous, concerted, and collaborative efforts to address the healthcare disparities across populations in the US as COVID-19 has highlighted. The way forward starts with data-driven insights to identify the gaps that digital solutions then tackle. With an increasing patient to physician ratio due to healthcare professional shortages and burnout, the millions of Americans already managing one or more chronic conditions, and the almost 65 million Americans living in a federally designated health professional shortage area (HPSA), health plans need to find new ways to deliver care to successfully support the health and wellbeing of the population in an accessible, affordable way.
As many as 30.8% of Lark users live in an HPSA versus non-HPSA area indicating that technology, specifically AI, has the power to break social barriers and reach more members. Because Lark is an AI-based digital coaching platform that is personalized and user-friendly, members are able to be more candid about the true nature of their wellbeing which facilitates more accurate triage and escalation of care. With a wider reach into more diverse populations, the more Lark continues to scale, the more health equity is built into our health data allowing for better personalized care regardless of a person’s circumstances.
The future is bright with data and AI
We’ve seen a massive digital transformation across the healthcare industry and there is a lot of opportunity to lean into technology and AI as we move toward more proactive, scalable and affordable care management. This coming year, we are excited at Lark to continue delivering our strengths as a virtual care platform and leveraging our AI technology and data insights to help health plans achieve operational success and member satisfaction in 2022.
Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter at the bottom of our blog and come along our journey as we look forward to a healthier, more equitable 2022. If you’d like to discuss in more depth some of the predictions in this blog, email us at email@example.com.
1: Healthcare consumer market 2021 from Huron