Viewpoint: 3 ways to keep advancing digital health tools

Healthcare organizations must prioritize performance and sustainability when integrating digital health tools as a strategy to answer healthcare's most pressing questions, Dori Cross, PhD, wrote in a Jan. 14 article in The American Journal of Managed Care.

Dr. Cross, an assistant professor at the Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota School of Public Health, highlighted ways the healthcare industry can continue to make progress using digital health tools:

1. Use of predictive analytics

Data is playing a role in how health systems make decisions.

Healthcare providers must learn how to integrate equity into the designs of predictive analytics and digital health tools to help eliminate care delivery biases.

2. Value-based payment

There needs to be more effort in incentivizing, supporting and regulating interoperability regarding value-based payment. 

Accountable care organizations help redesign payment structures that rely on data, but hospitals must broaden their health information exchange efforts to help generate performance data, Dr. Cross wrote.

3. Hybrid models of care

Telehealth numbers have declined since the start of the pandemic, but remain above pre-pandemic levels. Healthcare systems must grapple with how to implement a hybrid care model.

Dr. Cross suggested offering telehealth services while also using online tools to improve patient engagement and access to providers.

Some of these improvements should include technology improvements, equity, immigrant patients' concerns regarding privacy, and enhancing interpreter services.

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