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Rethinking How People Get the Healthcare They Need

A female doctor checks the blood pressure of a female patient.

Healthcare in the United States is at a significant inflection point. Market demand for medical and behavioral care continues to rise while clinical talent's capacity to provide that care remains severely constrained. Combine this with inequities in Americans’ ability to access and afford healthcare and we have a significant, and growing, part of our population who are unable to get the healthcare they need. 

Health organizations have long sought to find improved ways for their communities to better engage in and manage their health. There have been gradual improvements over the years when it comes to targeting, engaging, and impacting health behaviors, but despite these improvements, several fundamental challenges still exist:

1. Creating order and generating meaningful insights from the vast array of available data:
Health organizations are investing heavily to acquire, store, and make available data from a multitude of sources. Yet many organizations struggle to build models that convert those data into practical insights.

2. Knowing when and how to engage people:
As an industry, we remain more reactive than proactive. We often have a 1-mode people engagement approach. This leaves many in a situation where the help they need is unavailable when they genuinely need it, or via channels that are most natural for them to use.

3. Taking actions that matter most:
Many organizations are investing in Next Best Action analytics, but most form their actions based on generic, universally applied protocols. Or, they base their actions on decisions by the care managers/health coaches interacting with the patient. While individualized to the patient, the latter is often driven by the tendencies of the health coach rather than what drives the best outcomes for that individual. This is doubly important when helping people from under-served populations where actions often need to span physical, behavioral, and social needs.

To address these challenges, a new care orchestration approach must be adopted. The growing gap between greater demand for healthcare and a dwindling supply of talent means that care orchestration must rely heavily on advanced automation. Technology can help clinical resources to focus on what matters most: truly improving the health of the people they serve.

How do healthcare organizations respond?

Healthcare’s quadruple aims of improving health outcomes, reducing cost, enhancing the patient experience, and improving the care team’s experience are more important than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated and exposed the magnitude of social and health inequities faced by different underserved populations. But it also galvanized health organizations to adopt and implement technologies in support of digital health transformation and technology modernization. Healthcare transformation is about more than efficiency and overall access—it’s about understanding and tailoring the next best action for individuals that will drive the right outcomes. 

Clinicians need tools that allow them to combine their deep health experience with data-driven insights to truly enhance personalized patient engagement. The “next best action” recommendations for two people often differ. Even if they have the same health conditions and test results, other individual factors inevitably vary.  More than ever before, we need to apply human ingenuity to technology and reimagine the healthcare ecosystem to improve access, experiences, and outcomes.

This is where solutions like Accenture and Salesforce’s Intelligent Care Orchestration (ICO) enter the picture. ICO is a connected care ecosystem offering that drives improved health outcomes and enables more equitable, efficient, whole-person care. It does so by sharing information and coordinating actions across the healthcare ecosystem. Orchestration happens at the right time, using the most appropriate channels for a given person. We believe passionately in engaging humans on their terms to address the barriers that prevent them from accessing the care they need. Combining intelligent workflow with individualized insights is a critical element to rethinking how health organizations help people to get the healthcare they need.  

Hear Salesforce and Accenture leaders share how connecting data and streamlining engagement can make care more personalized, efficient, and equitable in The Future of Care Management webinar.

*Special thanks to Kevin Riley, Senior Vice President & Chief Customer Officer of Health & Life Science at Salesforce for co-authoring this article. Kevin leads Salesforce’s efforts to help health companies modernize their operating platform using Salesforce solutions.

Rick Stewart is the Managing Director, for Accenture’s NA Health Industry Group. 
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