Using Technology to Support Patients with Complex Needs

At Health Technology Forum Innovation Conference, titled “Platforms for the Underserved”, one of the panels discussed how technology can be utilized to serve and engage patients with complex needs.  Below are some highlights from the panel.

Introducing the panel, Suneel Ratan, CEO of Care Architecture and panel moderator, said, 90% of people over the age of 65, have a chronic condition; typically they have more than one chronic condition and are often lonely and depressed.  Further, lonely people are more likely to develop dementia.  According to Lisa Mangiante, Director of Pacific Business Group on Health, patients must be observed in their full context, which includes, decreasing independence, social isolation, loss of familial relationships, lack of social support, depression, and existence of serious mental illness.  Appropriate use of technology along with care managers, leads to lessening feelings of isolation and reduction in cost and hospital use, said, Mangiante.

Telehealth demonstration

Telehealth demonstration (Photo credit: CiscoANZ)

Dr. David Lindeman, Director of Center for Technology and Aging, agreed that “with appropriate use of technology, we can move the needle in complex patient care”.  Quoting the example of VA’s patient centered, team care model, Lindeman said, data driven, evidence based care, with whole person orientation, leads to improved communication, where patients become partners with the care team, for their health.  Dr. Douglas Trauner, Entrepreneur in Residence at Veterans Administration Center for Innovation, said, the VA TeleHealth has provided care to 500K patients, for 1.4 million episodes, across 44 clinical specialties, and supports 120K patients in their homes.  Innovative telehealth care model has led to reduced utilization of services, annual savings of about $2000 per patient, per year, and more engaged patients.  VA innovation center has funded over 130 innnovations.

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