Advanced Healthcare Supply Chains: Why It’s All in the Data

JOSH SKIBA | February 10, 2020

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During the past decade, the healthcare industry has undergone an unprecedented technological transformation. The industry, once defined by manual processes, has moved squarely into the digital age. As patients, we’ve all become accustomed to seeing physicians as well as clinical staff use laptops during office visits. And behind the scenes, hospitals and health networks have made substantial investments in financial and HR systems, among others.  One of the more significant digital advancements has been the industry’s focus on applying greater levels of automation to supply chain processes. In doing so, provider and supplier organizations have improved the efficiency of their supply chains, driven out millions of dollars in cost and waste, all while keeping patient care front and center.

Spotlight

Wellframe

Wellframe partners with leading health plans and providers to transform care management & patient engagement. Our mobile platform enables our partners to optimally leverage their existing clinical resources to provide patients with ongoing guidance and support when and where they need it. Wellframe's approach delivers improved patient experience, reduced medical spend and increased value-based revenue.

OTHER ARTICLES

Telehealth’s Benefits for Patient-Centered Care — and Where It’s Going

Article | May 19, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic upended the healthcare system, hospitals and doctor’s offices doubled down on technology and implemented a host oftelemedicine services, from virtual visits to remote patient monitoring and customized treatment plans. The results were unexpected. Not only did telemedicine help bridge the gap between physicians and patients during the health crisis, but arecent J.D. Power studyfound that telemedicine also delivered increased customer satisfaction, outpacing other healthcare services. Patient-centered care played the largest role in this shift. Technologies that let staff reach patients anytime, anywhere enabled providers to shift their functional focus away from simply treating issues to building better relationships.

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COVID-19: How do we get out of this quagmire?

Article | July 17, 2020

The COVID-19 virus (C19) pandemic is turning out to be the event of the century. Even World War seems timid in comparison. We are in the 4th month of the virus (in non-China countries) and have gone past the lockdown in many places. Isn’t it time we re-think the approach? What if there is another wave of C19 coming soon? What if C19 is the first of many such events in the future? Before we get into analysis and solution design, summarizing the C19 quirks: While a large section of the affected population is asymptomatic, for some it can be lethal There isn’t clarity on all the ways C19 spreads It’s known to affect the lungs, heart, and kidneys in patients with weak immunity It has been hard to identify a definitive pattern of the virus. Some observations in managing the C19 situation are: With no vaccine in sight, the end of this epidemic looks months or years away Health care personnel in hospitals need additional protection to treat patients Lockdowns lead to severe economic hardship and its repeated application can be damaging Quarantining people has an economic cost, especially in the weaker sections of society If one takes a step back to re-think about this, we are primarily solving 2 problems: Minimise deaths: Minimise the death of C19 and non-C19 patients in this period Maximise economic growth: The GDP output/growth should equal or higher than pre-C19 levels One needs to achieve the 2 goals in an environment of rising number of C19 cases. Minimise deaths An approach that can be applied to achieve this is: Data driven health care capacity planning Build a health repository of all the citizens with details like pre-existing diseases, comorbidity, health status, etc. The repository needs to be updated quarterly to account for patient data changes This health repository data is combined with the C19 profile (disease susceptibility) and/or other seasonal diseases to determine the healthcare capacity (medicines, doctors, etc.) needed The healthcare capacity deficit/excess needs to be analysed in categories (beds, equipment, medicine, personnel, etc.) and regions (city, state, etc.) and actions taken accordingly Regular capacity management will ensure patients aren’t deprived of timely treatment. In addition, such planning helps in the equitable distribution of healthcare across regions and optimising health care costs. Healthcare sector is better prepared to scale-up/down their operations Based on the analysis citizens can be informed about their probability of needing hospitalisation on contracting C19. Citizens with a higher health risk on C19 infection should be personally trained on prevention and tips to manage the disease on occurrence The diagram below explains the process Mechanism to increase hospital capacity without cost escalation Due to the nature of C19, health personnel are prone to infection and their safety is a big issue. There is also a shortage of hospitable beds available. Even non-C19 patients aren’t getting the required treatment because health personnel seek it as a risk. This resulted in, healthcare costs going up and availability reducing. To mitigate such issues, hospital layouts may need to be altered (as shown in the diagram below). The altered layout improves hospital capacity and availability of health care personnel. It also reduces the need for the arduous C19 protection procedures. Such procedures reduce the patient treatment capacity and puts a toll on hospital management. Over a period, the number of recovered C19 persons are going to increase significantly. We need to start tapping into their services to reduce the burden on the system. The hospitals need to be divided into 3 zones. The hospital zoning illustration shown below explains how this could be done. In the diagram, patients are shown in green and health care personnel are in light red. **Assumption: Infected and recovered C19 patients are immune to the disease. This is not clearly established Better enforcement of social factors The other reason for high number of infections in countries like India is a glaring disregard in following C19 rules in public places and the laxity in enforcement. Enforcement covers 2 parts, tracking incidents of violation and penalising the behaviour. Government should use modern mechanisms like crowd sourcing to track incidents and ride on the growing public fear to ensure penalty enforcement succeeds. The C19 pandemic has exposed governance limitations in not just following C19 rules, but also in other areas of public safety like road travel, sanitation, dietary habits, etc. Maximise economic growth The earlier lockdown has strained the economy. Adequate measures need to be taken to get the economy back on track. Some of the areas that need to be addressed are: One needs to evaluate the development needs of the country in different categories like growth impetus factors (e.g. building roads, electricity capacity increase), social factors (e.g. waste water treatment plants, health care capacity), and environmental factors (e.g. solar energy generation, EV charging stations). Governments need to accelerate funding in such projects so that that large numbers of unemployed people are hired and trained. Besides giving an immediate boost to the ailing economy such projects have a future payback. The governments should not get bogged down by the huge fiscal deficit such measures can create. Such a mechanism to get money out in the economy is far than better measures like QE (Quantitative Easing) or free money transfer into people’s bank accounts Certain items like smartphone, internet, masks, etc. have become critical (for work, education, critical government announcements). It’s essential to subsidise or reduce taxes so that these items are affordable and accessible to everyone without a financial impact The government shouldn’t put too many C19 related controls on service offerings (e.g. shops, schools, restaurants, cabs). Putting many controls increases the cost of the service which neither the seller not buyer is willing or able to pay. Where controls are put, the Govt should bear the costs or reduce taxes or figure out a mechanism so that the cost can be absorbed. An event like the C19 pandemic is a great opportunity to rationalise development imbalances in the country. Government funding should be channelized more to under-developed regions. This drives growth in regions that need it most. It also prevents excess migration that has resulted in uncontrolled and bad urbanisation that has made C19 management hard (guidelines like social distance are impossible to follow) Post-C19 lockdown, the business environment (need for sanitizers, masks, home furniture) has changed. To make people employable in new flourishing businesses there could be a need to re-skill people. Such an initiative can be taken up by the public/private sector The number of C19 infected asymptomatic patients is going to keep increasing. Building an economy around them (existing, recovered C19 patients) may not be a far-fetched idea. E.g. jobs for C19 infected daily wage earners, C19 infected taxi drivers to transport C19 patients, etc. In the last 100 years, mankind has conquered the destructive aspects of many a disease and natural mishap (hurricanes, floods, etc.). Human lives lost in such events has dramatically dropped over the years and our preparedness has never been this good. Nature seems to have caught up with mankind’s big strides in science and technology. C19 has been hard to reign in with no breakthrough yet. The C19 pandemic is here to stay for the near future. The more we accept this reality and change ourselves to live with it amidst us, the faster we can return to a new normal. A quote from Edward Jenner (inventor of Small Pox) seems apt in the situation – “The deviation of man from the state in which he was originally placed by nature seems to have proved to him a prolific source of diseases”.

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How Blockchain Technology Will Improve Mobile Healthcare

Article | March 27, 2020

The key concerns of healthcare management today are data processing and data security. Patients don’t have full ownership of their medical records, and are unable to control how their information is updated. There isn’t enough transparency to the process. There are also significant concerns related to data security, especially in the areas of personalized medicine and the rise of wearables. Patients and medical staff need secure and straightforward ways to record data, send it over networks, and receive advice without security concerns. Blockchain technology can help solve these problems. Introduced in 2008 as a means of recording cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain is a distributed cloud-based ledger that offers the ability to verify the origin of data and prevent breaches. When a user wants to make a transaction, they issue a request signed with their private key. The network verifies its authenticity by using a public key. If the verification is successful, the transaction is broadcast to the network and included in a block. The network of “miners” solves the block to get a reward, and once the block is revealed, it is added to the blockchain, making it permanent. It’s impossible to introduce new information in a block unnoticed, because that would change the structure of the entire chain. This feature makes the system safe and transparent.

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How to Engage New Health Tech Customers Online

Article | February 4, 2021

It is not an easy task to engage decision-makers in hospitals, insurance providers, health systems, and private practices. These high-powered directors, managers, and executives are busier than ever. This makes the process of health tech marketing difficult. Apart from overwhelming job responsibilities, these healthcare professionals are also inundated with ads, emails, and phone calls. So rather than sending them messages randomly, it is important to help your prospects when they are free from their daily disruptions and have time. Inbound marketing, a new form of marketing, lays out various effective healthcare marketing techniques, tricks, or tactics. These health tech marketing techniques or methodologies are helpful in the three stages of your health tech client journey: Awareness Stage: This is the stage where they do not know they have a problem, but you make them aware of the fact that they have a problem. Consideration Stage: In this stage, they are aware that they have a problem and consider finding a solution from you or your competitor. Decision Stage: This is the final stage, where prospects make a decision. Here are some effective health tech marketing techniques to engage new health tech marketing prospects online all through these stages. Offer Entertaining and Informative Blog Content Content is king. Roper Public Affairs, in their research report, say that around 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer to gather information from articles and blogs over ads. According to the research done by HubSpot, companies that publish blogs frequently get 4.5x more leads. Engage your health tech prospects with regular content that can address their interests and the problems they face. However, it is a mistake to focus only on your health tech company’s benefits, features, or sales pitches in your blogs. This may make your prospects think you are just after their money. One of the best health tech marketing techniques to engage your prospects online is to provide answers to the challenges they face. You can even ask and encourage your clients to contribute success stories or guest posts. These posts will have more value and the chances of them being shared are high. It is also better to create a strategy to make sure the health tech marketing content you make is valuable and relevant to your potential clients. Encourage Social Media Feedback and Blog Comments Providing great and prospect oriented health tech marketing content is just the beginning. You can solicit reactions from your audience. Asking questions at the end of blogs and social media health tech messages is a great way to collect reactions from the audience. It is good to thank them for responding when they leave a comment. Also, give them a comprehensive answer. This will help build your credibility and make the clients come back. Sometimes, you may get spam comments, which are not connected to your post. Weed them out to make all comments relevant to the post. This health tech marketing technique will make your potential clients stay engaged in what you post online. Host Google Hangouts or Webinars People love being visually engaged. So, webinars or Google Hangouts are powerful tools that allow real-time interaction with your customers. This helps you to establish a personal connection with your potential clients through video or audio. Various visual aspects, including slides, graphics, and live videos, make it easier for you to share your content with customers. Being an interactive health tech marketing technique, at the end of webinar sessions or Google hangout, you can have a Q and A session to clarify any questions from the clients. Compared to merely writing blog posts and articles, this, as a two-way dialogue, and will help you a lot in building a strong relationship with your clients. Create a Group or Community One of the best health tech marketing techniques to engage new customers is to interact in online forums and communities. Your buyers can get added to your members-only group automatically and then these members can socialize with each other and discuss healthcare technology. These forums can be used to share content that is not available to the public. To the members, you can also offer various discounts and special pricing. Your customers, being part of such a group, will feel special and increase the possibility of a repeat purchase. Co-Create with Existing Customers If you are planning to write an e-book, improve your website, or launch a new product, involve your existing customers by getting suggestions from them. For fostering loyalty, depending on the situation, it is very effective to make your customers involved in major decision-making processes. They will feel proud that they participated, at the end of the process. This health tech marketing technique may even allow you to hold a contest to select an idea from your customers for your next design and offer rewards for the one which is selected. Rewards can be a special mention on your website, a discount, or a freebie. Celebrate Together! Another great health-tech marketing technique to build stronger relationships with your customers is to celebrate milestones with them. Any achievement, small or big, can be a milestone. Even, achieving an award for attaining a certain number of followers can be a milestone. Sharing such moments of success with your customers and social media followers may make them feel like they are part of your business and success. It is also a good idea to give them a discount offer. Also, recognizing the success of your clients and featuring them will establish a good relationship with customers. Monitor Social Media The best place to engage your clients in conversations about your products and industry is social media. Selecting a topic that is trending in your industry may be a hot cake for you to have the conversation on your social media platforms. Tracking trending topics related to your industry will always give you an insight for your next blog post and social media posts. By sharing, liking, and providing answers you can also take part in conversations. This will make you an authority and customers will feel good about your credibility. As a health tech marketing technique, monitoring social media will make you gain the trust of the customers and build your brand gradually but successfully. Build a List of Leads and Nurture them Email marketing, as a health tech marketing technique, is a very effective strategy to nurture B2B customer relationships. According to HubSpot, for business communication, 86% of people prefer emails. You will be in the minds of potential customers through your value-packed and attractive emails. They will remember you when they identify a requirement. Through your emails, you can update and educate your potential customers about relevant topics and trends related to the health tech industry. A newsletter in a week will be fair enough to keep them engaged and updated about your brand and industry. Summing up The key to generating more qualified leads and increasing your brand recognition is engaging new prospects tough new and innovative health tech marketing techniques. This will make your sales team’s job easier; they can convert these leads into customers. The above-listed health tech marketing techniques to engage with your prospects can be effectively used with your well-crafted Inbound marketing strategy. Doing all of these alone can be very challenging. We, at Media7, partner with healthcare technology companies and healthcare tech marketers to offer support, strategy, and extending help to implement these activities. Through the collaboration, we help health tech companies to attract more visitors to their websites, generate leads, convert, and make them your happy customers. For more details of our services, visit our website: https://media7.com/ Frequently Asked Questions What is a health tech marketing strategy? Health tech marketing strategy is a part of an inbound marketing process for marketing healthcare tech products. It uses resources that can trace various opportunities through lead generation and branding, and overcome threats of healthcare businesses, which is highly competitive. What is the best health tech marketing technique? The best health tech marketing technique is to generate leads through various content forms. Health tech Content marketing helps create awareness about the product and attract clients to it. Different forms of content can include blogs, articles, press releases, newsletters, and much more. Where to start when creating your healthcare marketing strategy The best way to start when creating your healthcare marketing strategy is to set your goals. This is because the success of your healthcare marketing strategy depends upon the goal you set for yourself when you start the business and the marketing for it.

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Spotlight

Wellframe

Wellframe partners with leading health plans and providers to transform care management & patient engagement. Our mobile platform enables our partners to optimally leverage their existing clinical resources to provide patients with ongoing guidance and support when and where they need it. Wellframe's approach delivers improved patient experience, reduced medical spend and increased value-based revenue.

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