As consumers are driven more and more to take control of their health – on their own terms – BYOD (bring your own device) connection is offering a simple solution. By 2020, 15.2 million patients are expected to use BYOD to monitor, manage, and maximize their care.
According to Eric Rock, founder and CEO of Vivify Health, a fast-growing international digital health company, healthcare BYOD solutions leverage the power of consumer electronics, described as “the lowest-cost devices possible,” for ongoing health management. They deliver a secure, intuitive interface to patients on desktops, smartphones, and tablets, offering a seamless and cost-effective link to their care teams.
Patients, typically those whose health is at risk or rising risk, are provided with coaching, customized care plans, and educational video content tailored to their medical conditions, all from the convenience of their device of choice. They receive easy-to-follow guidance while feeding back vital health information – through videoconferencing, interactive survey questions, and biometric device integration – to help them stay healthy wherever they are.
Looking under the hood
Rock notes that Vivify’s BYOD solution is a flexible, device-agnostic health platform, working with any device that has a browser. It enables proactive monitoring, care team outreach, and intervention, including virtual visits, as needed.
Central to the platform are customized algorithms, developed from evidence-based best practices, that patients can readily access on their own devices. According to Robin Hill RN, vice president of clinical solutions at Vivify, “Patients receive frequent reminders to perform health-related activities. Wireless biometric devices for completing these tasks are integrated into the platform.”
Hill notes that today’s smartphones also incorporate built-in sensors that can gauge everything from heart rate to blood oxygen level. Soon, they will be able to monitor blood glucose noninvasively and provide continuous reports on patient vital signs. “With this information, analytics can be applied on a broad scale to improve clinical outcomes and population health,” she says.
Facilitating patient compliance
Compliance on BYOD has been more than 75 percent, much higher than typical outreach programs – owing in part to patients’ ease in using a familiar device that is with them every day. “It’s like having a ‘doc’ in your pocket,” Hill says. “Patients are less likely to fall off the wagon in managing their health because someone’s always watching after them.” For patients without a smartphone, an interactive voice response tool can work with a land line to walk them through questions and illuminate any gaps in care plan adherence.
“Enabling patients to use whatever communication method they’re comfortable with drives up patient satisfaction – improving compliance and in turn, outcomes,” Hill says. Video content delivered on BYOD can further facilitate compliance by educating patients on their medical conditions, any upcoming procedures, and the proper use of medications – reducing stress and boosting motivation.
Benefiting providers and payers
BYOD technology delivers benefits not only to patients, but to providers and payers. Through BYOD, providers can bring remote care to the masses, enabling multiple organizations, even if they are not affiliated, to deliver patient-centered care on a large scale. “Providers can collect actionable data on patients and automate patient engagement – while transferring the cost of equipment to patients who have devices,” Rock says.
For payers, “the opportunities are explosive,” he points out. “For decades, health plans have tried to engage members through mailers or electronic forms. Yet the level of patient engagement through these methods is typically only 5 to 10 percent.” BYOD technology, however, effectively shapes patient behaviors by bringing the virtual care team to wherever the patient happens to be, while educational programs for managing specific conditions, from diabetes to high-risk pregnancy, can be scaled to large populations to help reduce or eliminate preventable hospitalizations.
Shifting from episodic to continual care
“Empowered consumers, advanced technologies, rampantly available broadband, and the growing move to the cloud are driving rapid adoption of BYOD in health care,” Rock says. “At the same time, alternative payment models are forcing providers to apply connected care technology on an expansive scale to reduce the cost of care and improve outcomes, all in a measurable way.” Key to doing so, he notes, is shifting from the traditional episodic model of care to a continual care delivery model, one that is more integrated, collaborative, and patient centric – connecting patients to their providers across the care continuum. “BYOD technologies catalyze continual care by engaging patients right where they are, in the way they want to be engaged, to reinforce health monitoring and healthy behaviors.”
“Innovation does not sleep,” Hill adds. “We can expect these technologies to prevail, proliferate, and further define the new world we are all moving toward: ‘healthcare anytime, anywhere.’”