Article

Four strategies for building effective and engaging digital health solutions

Chinmay Pradhan & Raghuram Samudrala
Published: November 29, 2022

The goals of healthcare delivery have never been more apparent. Industry stakeholders and providers are looking for ways to:

  • Reduce the cost of care
  • Improve health outcomes
  • Enhance the experience of care

The digital transformation in healthcare continues to grow. We are now looking toward data-driven, digital health solutions to give providers the tools they need to achieve patient care goals.

At the MedTech Conference 2022 in Boston, MA, Virtusa had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion with eminent speakers who discussed the importance of patient journey mapping and the need to establish a clear and connected data strategy as the basis of future digital solutions. At the same time, the experts also expressed the importance of engagement and empathy in driving good clinical outcomes.

Here are a few key takeaways from the conference discussion as we continue to develop and deploy digital health solutions.

1. Establishing and Maintaining Data Connectivity 

Despite technological advances in digital health, patients and providers still struggle with data connectivity. Our healthcare system is inherently fragmented, with a myriad of data sources. Patients who go through the system are often transferred to different care providers. With every change of hands, there is a chance that valuable patient and treatment data is not documented, collected, or integrated into their systems. 

“It is not just about getting the data together. It is about getting it into the workflow,” says Stephen Langella, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Outcomes™, Cardinal Health. He explains, “The data we collect today is not integrated and sits in different healthcare systems. So, we need a way to get different providers on the same page when deciding on patient care. This means robust data collection at the right time- when patients are receiving care.”

The transition from in-person care to at-home and virtual care brought unforeseen challenges. Even though patients have access to high-quality medical devices, they may not be interoperable with their provider’s system. Data transmission may be erratic, so the collected data may not be used to its full potential. 

This is where Virtusa’s mobile app-based unified connectivity engine can significantly impact data collection and integration. The solution can effectively collect data from the patient's hands and home, harmonize it, and push it to the cloud so that providers can seamlessly integrate it into their workflows and EMRs through application programming interfaces.

2. Leveraging Interactions with Alternative Providers. 

When asked about the opportunities in the evolution of the healthcare industry away from traditional models, Stephen Langella offered a unique point of view. 

We need to build communication pathways between different healthcare partners - like healthcare providers and pharmacists. “Patients see their pharmacists more often than their primary care physicians,” said Mr. Langella. 

In addition to building digital health systems for HCPs, there is also an excellent opportunity to improve digital capabilities in pharmacies. That way, pharmacists can leverage their degrees and qualifications to participate in patient care more effectively. We saw the potential of this service when during the pandemic, pharmacies were at the eye of the storm, dealing with covid testing and spearheading vaccination campaigns for large populations. The idea is to give them the right tech support to advance and scale their services.

3. Data Mining and Integration for Actionable Insights

Collecting patient or device data isn’t enough to make a difference in healthcare delivery. The key is using these data sets to derive deeper insights that help us drive change. Valuable insights can be derived when a device or patient-generated data is integrated with clinical and claims data to build longitudinal patient records, trigger notifications, and predictive care models using AI and machine learning. 

“We have built multiple cloud-based digital health platforms which connect patients' devices and providers for some of the top MedTech companies globally. Our solutions also provide preventive and proactive patient care through AI-driven recommendations based on real-time data,” Manu Swami, SVP, Head of Healthcare & Lifesciences Consulting, Virtusa.

4. User-Centered Design to Maximize the Patient and Provider Experience

Lifestyle and chronic diseases require long-term behavior change. Therefore, the solutions we provide to patients and providers should have built-in experience-led engineering frameworks that boost engagement and drive better health outcomes. 

“The best solutions are not adopted if the user experience is subpar.” Ram Rajagopalan, Ram Rajagopalan, Head of MedTech and HealthTech Solutions, Virtusa. 

The pandemic instigated the shift from onsite care to virtual care. But as we move on to a new normal, just as we started talking about hybrid workspaces in the corporate world, we need to think about hybrid care in medicine - how can we find solutions that give patients the best of both worlds?

We often undermine the emotional connection that patients have with their healthcare providers. So, while adopting digital solutions for virtual care, we must also be mindful of preserving the empathy that makes up the foundation of the patient-provider relationship. 

“Patients need to feel like they are being taken care of, that someone is connecting with them. It can’t just be a tablet or device talking to them,” says Dinendra Ramachandran, Vice President of Digital Solutions, Technology, and Innovation, at Convatec. “It’s not just about clinical data; we also need to leverage social data. We must listen to what patients say about our health solution before and after they experience it.”

 

Virtusa has developed frameworks that deliver robust digital solutions while ensuring an engaging user experience for patients and providers. 

“As we build these digital experiences, we must understand the patient’s journey from illness to wellness and recovery,” says Eric Walker, Head of User Experience Practice at Virtusa.

 

Conclusion

The shift to digital health solutions is inevitable as healthcare moves from transactional experiences to value-based services. However, the vulnerability of the healthcare system means that the solutions offered have to be efficient, accurate, and protected. 

“Patients today expect a consumer-grade experience from their providers,” says Vinoth Srinivasan, Director of Data Analytics at Virtusa. 

At Virtusa, we work to develop solutions based on detailed data to provide tight integration, smooth workflows, and engaging experiences for both patients and providers.

“Our team could leverage our deep engineering capabilities to deliver large-scale transformation programs quickly,” says Mallesh Kalary, Executive VP of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Virtusa.

 

Virtusa is committed to driving the healthcare industry's digital movement with AI and machine learning solutions to manage the care continuum and improve patient care.

 

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