Like every facet of our lives, healthcare has experienced dramatic shifts due to the pandemic.

What we thought was normal—from how we work, to how we learn, to how we access healthcare—has been disrupted. In healthcare specifically, we’re seeing more organizations joining forces to tackle new challenges popping up in the healthcare landscape.

During the 8th Annual emids Healthcare Summit, which we just wrapped up, industry leaders dived into several notable topics across the landscape. This includes getting the right healthcare messaging across; considering whole person care; centering the patient in your care delivery model and thinking about human behavior in the healthcare experience.

Let’s take a closer look.

Getting The Right Healthcare Messaging Across

The healthcare industry depends on science, research and standards of care to guide the industry towards truth. But in a politically charged environment, this can pose a challenge.

“Regardless of your politics, the current COVID-19 situation has created a difference of opinion,” said HCA Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, during this year’s Summit.

To address the chasm between opinions, healthcare industry leaders need to lean on the community and on trusted clinicians to get their messaging across.

This was echoed by Pat Geraghty, President and CEO of GuideWell and Florida Blue. Geraghty said his organizations are looking to get hyper local as they continue to grow, to build trust with the communities the companies serve.

Geraghty and Perlin also agreed that messaging around behavioral health needs a revamp. The pandemic has put mental health at the forefront of healthcare-related conversations.

“We’re all fighting against the stigma around behavioral health,” Perlin said.

“There’s no physical health without mental health and no mental health without physical health. These have to go together,” he added.

Conversations around mental health need to be reframed so that the stigma emanating around the subject ends, both Geraghty and Perlin said.

Whole Person Care: The Future of Healthcare Delivery

Mental health was a hot topic during this year’s Summit in part due to the mental health epidemic. We’re seeing a rise in the concept of whole person health, which entails bringing together the realms of mental and physical health, among other things.

“We are a fragmented system of care. How did we get here? [For a] person, their mind and body [aren’t] two separate things,” said Veeneta Lakhani, EVP of Growth and Operations at Vida Health, during a conversation at Summit.

“When you see that one in four young adults considered suicide [over the summer], we need to really consider health holistically—the physical and the mental,” said Dr. Mohamed Diab, CEO at ActiveHealth Management.

The rise of mental health challenges we’ve seen in the past year and a half are, however, working as a catalyst to shift healthcare, albeit slowly.

“The perception and the approach in the industry is changing,” Diab said, noting that the industry needs to become more holistic in its approach to delivering healthcare.

Gyre Renwick, Chief Operating Officer at Modern Health, added that for the shift over to whole person health to happen in the industry, payers will need to make mental health coverage as ubiquitous as medical coverage.

“You have medical and dental offerings, but you don’t have mental health as an offering, traditionally,” Renick said, noting that healthcare companies will be slow to make that change.

Centering The Patient In Your Care Delivery Model

Along with payers and providers, life sciences and pharmaceutical companies have faced added challenges in terms of launching new drugs into the market.

The pandemic made it difficult to reach the right people at the right time. But the healthcare industry is looking to tackle that with omnichannel customer experiences—with patients taking center stage.

“Multichannel is everywhere. When we use omnichannel, we are doing it in the right places at the right time,” said Michele Schimmel, President at Real Chemistry.

Omnichannel experiences need to be seamless and personalized. This can be done through the strategic use of patient data.

“Data has been around for a while but it’s about bringing all the pieces together, said Gavin Nichols, CEO of Calyx.

“With an omnichannel experience, because you inherit the metadata that comes with the experience, it’s a much more meaningful conversation that you’re having,” Nichols added during Summit.

Regardless of the type of healthcare experience you develop, keeping patients and members top of mind is key.

“We’re seeing lots of different changes in how care gets delivered. Ultimately, we want to put the consumer in the center of it,” said Rajeev Ronanki, President of Digital Platforms at Anthem.

“There are digital care options, and there’s always going to be the need for in-person care options,” he adds. “Let’s create a common experience where data becomes more interoperable—where it’s ultimately up to the patient and the caregiver in how care gets delivered,” Rajeev said.

Why It’s Important To Consider Human Behavior When Developing Healthcare Experiences

The last 18 or so months have shown us that both healthcare, and our lives, have become largely virtual, said Validic CEO, Drew Schiller, during the Summit.

“Healthcare was having fits and starts before the pandemic began,” but has since begun the march towards digital transformation, Schiller added. And that makes sense, seeing that most of society is also going digital.

“Consumers have totally moved on in the way they’re living their lives, and healthcare needs to connect with consumers there,” Schiller said.

Whether virtual, in-person or hybrid, when it comes to delivering healthcare experiences, it’s important for healthcare leaders to consider human behavior.

And understanding human behavior can often be complemented using data, said Tom Waller, an industry innovator.

“Tiny nudges next to tiny behavior changes really work,” if you’re developing digital healthcare experiences for users, Waller said. But he noted that data is not the be all and end all of healthcare user experiences.

“It has to be done in a thoughtful way,” without overwhelming the health app user, for example.

Final Thoughts

The 8th Annual emids Healthcare Summit is over, but we hope you’ve taken with you valuable insights on the changing healthcare industry. We also hope you keep the conversation going with your colleagues and industry partners. If you need assistance at any point in your journey, emids is here to help.

We hope to see you for the 9th Annual emids Healthcare Summit in 2022.

Michael Hollis, President Strategic Business at emids, oversees the company’s marketing and sales operations. He is responsible for overall sales effectiveness, business development and client relationships, as well as for articulating the company’s service offerings to prospective clients and industries. Michael is an active member of Nashville’s professional and nonprofit community, serving on several advisory boards and as a committee member of the Nashville Technology Council and the Nashville Health Care Council’s Leadership Health Care initiative. Be sure to connect with Michael on LinkedIn.