– Jennifer Fox, Head of Global External Affairs, GE Healthcare
– Dan Martin, EVP, Healthcare, PAN Communications
– Gerard Meuchner, Chief Global Comms Officer, Henry Schein
– Aaron Radelet, CCO, Walgreen’s Boots Alliance
– Jessica Shih, Director of Communications, San Francisco Health Service System
Every aspect of our lives is now being viewed through the lens of how the pandemic has affected it. This is certainly the case as they are preferences in the provision of health care.
According to a recent study by PAN Communications, more than half of consumers (53%) still prefer to receive their healthcare entirely in person. Now, almost a third (31%) are comfortable with a hybrid model of in-person and virtual. This trend shows that consumers are taking more responsibility for their health and are more in control than ever of when and where their health conversations take place. For one in ten these may be mostly virtual, while for 6% they are entirely virtual.
Regardless of how many patients choose in-person or virtual care, “the only number that really matters is one,” Radelet assures. “When you think about your health care, it could be your own health care, your son or daughter, your mother or father if you are in a care role. And this is where we approach healthcare as we move forward.”
Solving problems for all audiences
“Clinicians are overwhelmed with outpatient and inpatient care,” explains Fox. As virtual care becomes more important to reduce the burden on staff, companies like GE Healthcare are focused on delivering technologies that “improve workflow” and ensure that the human connection “is not lost in this virtual care experience.” goes”.
For Meuchner, “the generational acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies will continue to impact the delivery of care.” While some care must remain personal, telemedicine opens up many exciting possibilities, “ultimately to the benefit of both the doctor and the patient,” he adds added. For example, patients with intellectual disabilities can “find a much more welcoming experience in their home because they are in a place where they feel comfortable.”
Consumers want healthcare “that reflects what they can get in every other facet of their lives, whether it’s e-commerce or online banking,” notes Martin. “When a patient takes much more control over their healthcare, they use technology to facilitate that.”
However, digital solutions only work if all patients can use telemedicine. In moving to a more hybrid model, it’s important to “look at health equity and how we’re reaching the hardest-to-reach individuals, who are also most likely to be those with the greatest health needs,” says Shih.
Roundtable participants included (clockwise from top left): Fox, Martin, Shih, Radelet and Meuchner.
Conversations about the metaverse are inevitable. Almost three in four (73%) respondents have heard of it, one in four (25%) are excited about its capabilities and almost half (47%) would like to know more.
Brands are just beginning to think about how to use the metaverse in a healthcare context, which four in ten respondents believe will have a positive impact. At Henry Schein, “we see a great opportunity to use the metaverse to make the educational experience richer than what’s available now,” shares Meuchner.
For GE Healthcare, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) offer promising opportunities for surgical planning, interpretive guidance and training, particularly in remote areas.
“We have what we call a digital expert that we can use to remotely train technicians on equipment,” explains Fox. “Another area would be use cases for multimodal modalities, as the increasing complexity and dimensionality of data can be better visualized with AR and VR.”
With all the possibilities in the metaverse, there are of course pitfalls to be aware of. Research into this new platform raises concerns about whether it will “cause more mental health challenges for people” and whether it will be accessible to all patients, Shih warns. The key is to ensure that services remain personal and tailored to the needs of each patient.
“The metaverse won’t be successful if it feels like a big, cold, cavernous space,” suggests Radelet. His advice: “Never lose sight of the personal touch, no matter which channel you use. How can you bring the best of the in-person experience to whatever channel you use?” The relationship and trust that Walgreens has developed with customers in store will make them “much more likely to go to some of the other channels.” .
The metaverse can go a step further with telemedicine, especially as patients demand increased access and healthcare organizations seek to streamline delivery. The key is “creating better personal presence and social connections that can combine data and intelligence to hopefully make the metaverse a kinder, gentler place with some therapeutic outcomes,” Martin concludes. While AR and VR can enable applications for cognitive and group therapy, psychiatric assessment, weight loss, and even physical therapy, audiences must first be educated on the benefits and value of the metaverse.
Due to the increasing adoption of digital technologies in the industry, vast amounts of data are widely distributed and available in the healthcare ecosystem. This data is increasingly being used to make better decisions about care as healthcare providers gain insight “where their practice is succeeding, where their practice has opportunity, and where there are opportunities for patient engagement. and treatment options,” says Meuchner.
Additionally, the data allows healthcare providers to take a closer look at “health equity, understanding the demographics of those who use these services, particularly the new services that are coming online,” Shih adds. “This can show us where to localize our efforts.”
In the future, this data can be used to identify and predict a patient’s needs. “This is how you achieve personalized care and precise health,” Fox suggests. However, hospitals now, on average, have “about 50 petabytes of data and not enough insights, so there’s this cognitive load on the clinician to make sense of it and derive some answers.” GE Healthcare has the Edison Intelligence Platform for just that purpose developed.
In all of this, it’s important to remember the importance of brand trust,” advises Radelet, who attributes Walgreens’ ability to successfully deliver 67 million vaccines to consumer trust in the brand.
In the future, this relationship could help improve other health outcomes, for example by diversifying clinical trials.
“We can get some of our patients and customers to be a part of this so we can develop even better solutions in the future,” he says.
“Roughly 30% of the world’s data is generated in healthcare,” shares Martin. “The question is how do you use it? And how can you collect all this, analyze it and use it to make good decisions?”
click here for access to a very special report by PAN Communications, “Patient Connectivity 3.0: Meeting Patient Experience Expectations in the Metaverse.”