Formalized in 2020, The Center for Digital Health seeks to increase access, reduce costs and improve outcomes while optimizing the experience of giving and receiving medical care.
The Center for Digital Health’s vision is realized through three key initiatives: building a common technology platform, digitally enabling our Care Delivery Organizations and Lines of Business, and building a new virtual medical group and virtual care team to deliver affordable high-quality care.
The ecosystem of health care
Now more than ever, we know the future of health care depends on technology.
In this article, rather than praise a specific aspect of digital approaches (eg. telehealth, e-visits, electronic medical records [EMR], technology devices), I want to show the big picture of these solutions in health care—their potential to bring ease to patients and joy of practice to clinicians.
Industry gone digital
As we set our sights on creating a digitally-optimized health ecosystem, it’s helpful to reframe our view by looking to parallel industries that have improved service to their clients through digital means.
Think of what banking typically provides since the advent of smartphones: depositing checks through an app, transferring money and paying bills. We don’t call those services “digital banking.”
Customers simply use the services they find most convenient and digital developers continue to innovate new and better ways to meet industry goals. It all falls under the heading of “banking.”
The physical bank is still available and at times necessary, but customers perform a majority of transactions with great trust and without the need to come to a physical location.
The health experience
Suffering an illness or submitting to a screening test is challenging enough. But entering the same information on screen after screen into programs that do not communicate, or asking a patient to re-tell their story for the seventh time because clinical notes are difficult to access can be disheartening and dehumanizing.
The fragmented health care system and point solutions that are not connected across systems erode trust and the power of the patient and clinician relationship.
From the start of my career I observed the successes and failures of digital tools brought to us as patient and clinician solutions.
There had to be a better way to take advantage of the benefits of an tech-enabled world, where digital offers the clinicians and patients delightful, enjoyable experiences in line with other industries like banking and travel.
Now, as a leader at Optum’s Center for Digital Health, I have the opportunity to realize delight in medicine through new experiences.