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The COVID-19 pandemic created significant challenges for the health ecosystem but opened new doors for unprecedented innovation. It was, and continues to be, the ultimate stress-test for our healthcare system; and health plans, payers, providers, employers and patients are all coming away with valuable lessons for how healthcare can be improved moving forward.
Even before the pandemic, the healthcare ecosystem was not equipped to manage the consistent, around-the-clock care that chronic conditions require, and virtual care options were only reserved for niche services, unique cases, or lived outside of a plan’s core delivery system. As such, navigating the chronic condition landscape was fragmented, confusing, and often did not meet the needs of people working to keep their conditions under control.
These serious issues with chronic condition management were exacerbated when more resources and provider capacity were being directed towards fighting the COVID-19 virus. Between clinical workforce shortages, trying to identify which digital solutions on the market actually deliver significant outcomes, and working to adapt to the new healthcare environment of the pandemic, health plans were struggling to keep their members engaged. These pressures, coupled with a growing demand for care outside of the doctor’s office, forced health plans to undergo rapid transformation unlike anything we've seen in recent decades. Plans quickly learned that in order to keep costs low and patients healthy, they needed to take a virtual-first approach to chronic condition management.
However, not all virtual chronic care tools are created equal. During the 2021 Oliver Wyman Summit, our CEO Julia Hu spoke alongside other healthcare leaders and outlined the necessary features of successful virtual care programs. She shared three takeaways to keep members engaged, reduce unnecessary costs, and improve health outcomes:
Condition-Based Coaching: Virtual care tools that get to the root of a specific chronic condition and provide care based on clinically-rigorous programs can help drive outcomes and reduce the total cost of care for the plan and the patient alike. They also help create a more tailored experience personalized to the member’s unique health needs.
Member-Guided Experience: Successful tools will accompany the member step-by-step through their health journey. Solutions that fully integrate into the health plan’s existing ecosystem can help minimize confusion, reduce care fragmentation, and proactively identify additional resources to meet each member’s needs. Engaging members in a personalized way also helps them build self-efficacy and take control over their health.
Care Plan Compliance: For a virtual care tool to effectively manage someone’s health, they must help people stay compliant with their care plan in between visits with their clinical provider to close gaps in care and ensure that they stay on track to meet their health goals. Most chronic conditions require day-to-day or even minute-to-minute management, and successful virtual care solutions will be able to support members in the moments that matter most.
At Lark, our mission is to create infinitely scalable, virtual, compassionate care for anyone managing a chronic condition. Our unique AI technology allows members to have 24/7 access to chronic disease prevention and management programs. This gives plans the ability to offer all members another mode for engaging with their care, while maintaining a positive user experience and generating successful clinical outcomes. Virtual care creates a more integrated care experience and allows people to routinely interact with their own health, rather than only paying attention when they have an appointment scheduled with a clinician. For example, our AI nurses shared 550M text messages to date. This indicates that members are actively engaging with their health while allowing providers to practice at the top of their license, reducing overall healthcare costs.
To learn more about how Lark can be a successful virtual partner for health plans looking to take a virtual-first strategy to chronic conditions management, hear more from Julia Hu at the 2021 Oliver Wyman Summit:
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.
Chronic conditions account for 90% of all US healthcare spending. At the same time, 47% of physicians report feeling burnt out, and there is an estimated shortage of 3.2 million healthcare workers predicted by 2026.