By Ashish Toshniwal, CEO and Co-founder of YML

January 9, 2020

The digital transformation that has reworked countless industries finally seems to be getting real traction in the medical world. The intersection of genetics, biotechnology, data and science is starting to be realized throughout healthcare. 

With political pressures building and new demands from consumers, startups and large-scale healthcare providers are in a race to drive impact.

What is the best way forward that balances emerging technologies while exceeding customer expectations? How do we improve healthcare while lowering costs for all Americans? What does anyone who is focused on this issue need to consider to ensure success?

There’s no single, right answer.  This is a big, messy, complex system. But it’s also a massive opportunity (which I recently discussed with leaders from Abbott, Sutter Health WIRED and more).

I believe the future of healthcare will be defined by technology so seamless that it will disappear into the background; as reliable and essential as running water.  Healthcare will become anytime everywhere.

To understand the future of seamless, anytime everywhere healthcare, we need to have a firm grasp on the context of this moment in healthcare technology.

Here’s the seven insights about the current system and the principles that will inform the future of healthcare and technology. 

Principle 1: Be Human

Patients want to connect on an emotional level. That means creating an experience that leverages all we know of our patients.

The key insight to being more human is to provide individualization versus just personalization. It’s critical that the healthcare community balance functional goals with emotional need states. 

Principle 2: Be Available

There’s a misperception that care is difficult to access. Providers need to make it easy to navigate various care options. They can do that by sourcing options by availability as well as patient need.

They key insight here is the same one that must permeate the majority of digital, customer-centric experiences — empathy.

That means everything from being sensitive to financial constraints, or considering the intricacies of the experience by streamlining the path to appointments and visits.

Principle 3: Be Seamless

A fragmented ecosystem leads to a disjointed experience. One’s health is perhaps the most personal experience people have. There’s a legitimate need to design the ‘universal remote control’ for care and coverage.

Connect the systems (plan, delivery, fulfillment) around moments in the journey to remove friction. Once that foundation is built, we can create stickiness through engagement mechanisms that reinforce a central source of truth.

Principle 4: Be Clear, Informative and Encouraging

Clinical information is often hard to find, confusing, and doesn’t typically motivate adherence. Tone of voice matters, which is why it’s critical to communicate in our patients’/members’ voice, not compliance speak.

Part of that is also about identifying opportunities to explain the ‘why’ behind medications and therapies.  

Principle 5: Be Transparent

Costs, billing and benefits are obscure at best, black box at worst.

Healthcare numbers tend to be daunting, but again, this is an opportunity. We can find creative ways to estimate average costs, prioritize plan benefits as a ‘progressive reveal’, and ultimately centralize and modernize billing and payments.

Principle 6: Be Omni-Useful

Patient experience is tied to ecosystem adoption. It’s by no means easy, but it’s urgent that we define the value proposition for each ecosystem actor.

Once we do, we can ensure patient solutions reduce, rather than increase, patient, provider, and fulfiller complexity, ultimately creating stickiness and giving them answers to the question why they would never leave.

Principle 7: Be Anticipatory

Patients work hard to advocate for themselves. It’s on the healthcare community — providers, nurses, doctors etc… — to ensure the experience is low on cognitive load and high on emotional satisfaction.  

Be one or two steps ahead of patient needs.

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Google has been at the forefront of this type of thinking.

They’ve laid the foundation with their product strategy of ambient computing, which ensures the services and features of its technology are accessible everywhere at any time. As Rick Osterloh, Vice President of Devices and Services, shared in the Made by Google 19 Keynote, “Pixel phones, wearables, laptops, and Nest devices for the home. Each one is thoughtfully and responsibly designed to help you day to day without intruding on your life.”

This presents a new opportunity to transform the most critical part of the healthcare system — the patient and doctor experience. The future of this relationship will be impacted by the four pillars of the anytime anywhere future.

Passive

Wearable activated - Jacquard’s Jacket allows users to interact with Google’s Assistant with a gesture or touch to their sleeve.

Quick

Instant Aid: Mobile AI platform that engages in natural conversations with patients through the use of a virtual healthcare assistant. 

Informative

AI Powered Reoccurring Checkins: Sensely's Mobile AI platform that engages in natural conversations with patients through the use of a virtual healthcare. 

Observational

Trackable wearable health: Integrating wearable tech, capturing daily snapshots of patients activity and health

How do I know this?

Over a decade of experience in Silicon Valley building digital products and experiences for Fortune 500 brands, an array of innovation technology work with companies across the healthcare spectrum, and all the while listening and learning from our clients and partners about the needs of their customers.