Digital innovation is a beautiful thing. But it can also come with a host of challenges that can lead to more problems than solutions. Especially when it's not focused on patient outcomes.

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 In our line of work, when we don't focus on the patient, the results can be deadly.

And for the company that races for a solution that just doesn't work, their doors won't stay open for long.

That's why we have to be strict in our investments in technology. Especially those that could cause an even more significant gap between people and primary care. Because that's just not going to cut it.

But the effort is worth it, requiring focus, a definition of goals and values, and then leveraging digital technology and innovation in way to support them.

More convenience, better clinical outcomes, greater efficiencies in care coordination — these are specific areas where innovation and technology can have the most powerful effect.

Technology can't stand on its own without looking at the clinical picture of a patient. And to have the clinical picture of the patient, you have to know the patient.

So regardless of the new tools and resources at our disposal that promise to make us faster, we still have to deliver effective primary care.

That's why we're so focused on specific populations of people, while most of healthcare is investing dollars into technology, and pushing care further away from the care team. But the reality is, there's not enough primary care supply to meet the demand in this country.

So we've taken the opposite approach. Driven by data and analytics, we focus on care models that will help improve health outcomes and saving money. We're looking at the impact for both the patient and care teams.

Here are a couple of areas you need to consider as you leverage digital technology and innovation to create more convenience, better clinical outcomes, and greater efficiencies:

  1. Primary Care: We handle a massive amount of data and patient information. When working with a patient face-to-face, effective primary care is made possible by an accurate, detailed history. An example is text-based interactions. It makes sense for a solution because most patients, young and old, use it. This is a no-brainer. But the question is: How do you use it effectively? Because at some point in the interaction, you'll need more information than a text-based interaction can provide on its own. So regardless of the new tools and resources at our disposal that promise to make us faster, we still have to know how to do effective primary care that's based on detailed information brought to the forefront for analysis, preparation, and the delivery of effective, quality care.
  2. Right Outcomes: You can have all the convenience you want, like next-day access and an online portal, but miss the right outcomes. Here's an example: Even with all the technology and innovation, you could still miss the fact that you just examined a 56-year-old patient who has never been screened for a colonoscopy. That would be a huge miss that technology and innovation couldn't mitigate on their own, because it requires human interaction.

There's so much benefit to be had with digital technology and innovation. There's no denying we're getting smarter and faster. But we're also in the business of providing primary care to people.

When a solution arises that supports connections, engagement, and interaction, that's when there's real potential for it to work.

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