White Paper

A Guide to Humanizing Digital Care

Carolyn Bradner Jasik
 

A framework to developing a digital care plan that treats people, not diseases.

Omada's Chief Medical Officer, Carolyn Jasik, delivers a framework for delivering effective, personalized care, empowered by technology. 

What you'll learn:

 

Access to care has gotten harder: Now more than ever, your employees demand solutions that treat them holistically and digitally given the difficulty of accessing in-person healthcare. Digital-forward solutions need to be an important part of your benefits design, Omada can help, and here's how:  

  • Human connection at the core
  • Treating people and not diseases
  • Providing insights, not just data
  • Personalizing care to needs in real time

Read or download the full guide to learn what it means to provide health care that puts people first.

Download The Guide

Delivering personalized digital care to empower lifestyle change that lasts

 

Over the last decade, telemedicine, remote monitoring, and other digital health solutions were viewed with interest, but struggled to gain scale. This was due, in part, to structural barriers in our system. These innovations were deployed as add-ons, instead of being embedded within more traditional care models.

Humanizing_Digital_Care

In the same time, our team at Omada Health has worked tirelessly to increase access to evidence-based, life-altering care. Starting with diabetes prevention and growing to include chronic disease self-management, mental health support, and musculoskeletal care, we have demonstrated sustainable health outcomes and cost savings. Today, we are a covered health benefit for more than 65 million people. As we’ve expanded and scaled, the market has been flooded with solutions that, on the surface, may seem similar.

In the past few months, digital solutions of all kinds moved from the fringes to the forefront of healthcare. Covid-19 required the very populations that we serve—patients with heart disease and diabetes—to stay home without ready access to care for their chronic conditions.

Unfortunately, even with the best intentions to keep patients safe from Covid-19, patients find themselves at higher risk of death due to reduced access to care. In most areas, in-person appointments for chronic care management, mental health support, and physical therapy are “non-essential” services. It is imperative that these patients at the highest risk for Covid-19 complications continue to have access to monitoring, education, and support for their condition. This type of effective care will keep their disease in check so that they can stay home and safe. 

Filling the Gaps in Care

 

Omada was founded to fill gaps in care by delivering these services digitally, and we’ve been proud to step in during this critical period for thousands of our users. Employers, health plans, and providers are adapting to a new reality: digital care services accessed at home are the new front door of health care. But in our rush to adopt tools immediately, we risk deploying solutions based on convenience and price instead of those proven to deliver outcomes.

Digital care services accessed at home are the new front door of health care.

Let’s not repeat the same mistakes that have made care experience for these populations far too ineffective for far too long. Connecting patients with doctors over video chat or equipping chronic care patients with remote monitoring devices and nudges are both convenient. They seem like ways to fill the gaps between in-person visits. But while these tools are necessary, they’re not enough to address the full scope of current and future health care problems.

Telehealth was developed for care triage, not chronic disease management; the current version of telehealth risks marginalizing diabetes educators, dieticians, social workers, physical therapists, nurses, therapists, coaches, and care navigators. Decades of research in chronic disease show the importance of these roles. Integrated, team-based care delivers outcomes and saves lives. True digital care must bring the same approach, keeping unique patient needs at the center through human-led care. 

Similarly, remote monitoring solutions are inadequate on their own. They can leave patients to interpret reams of data on their own, or force an unfamiliar provider to make an immediate assessment over video chat or telephone. 

Far too many remote monitoring companies treat coaching as optional or inessential when research shows a true patient <> specialist relationship is one of the greatest predictors of positive outcomes. Yet again, this data often remains siloed from a patient’s medical home, leaving their care team without a complete picture of their situation.

True digital care must keep unique patient needs at the center through human-led care.

A truly comprehensive digital care experience brings an integrated, team-based approach to care into peoples’ homes. A better digital care experience: 

  • Leverages the best of technology to help that team operate efficiently
  • Turns health data into actionable insights for patients 
  • Serve patients definitively for better health outcomes 

Reimagining Digital Care

 

At Omada, we define digital care as the elegantly-designed integration of relevant technology, clinical expertise, and human empathy to drive a desirable and sustainable health outcome.

We use a team-based approach by leveraging coaches, specialists, and licensed professionals to deliver the coordinated care proven to deliver on outcomes and reduce costs.

We design our technology to empower patients and specialists, creating a more personalized, and ultimately more human care experience. 

The people in charge of making clinical and purchasing decisions have traditionally been left with limited options. Now, in the current landscape of healthcare, what should decision-makers really look for in a care provider?

Treat People, Not Diseases

 

At Omada, we believe that a successful digital care program orbits around the fact that People Matter. In our CEO Sean

Duffy’s letter, he identified three key pillars for our human-first approach to digital care:

  1. Personalized care: Digital care programs need to deliver experiences that feel deeply personal to participants. This stems from our philosophy to treat people, not diseases, and personalize treatment to participant needs in real-time. Too many patients seeking assistance feel discouraged and skeptical due to the impersonal nature of care.

  2. Digital care for real life: Even with advanced technology to achieve health goals, the most motivating factor for those dealing with the conditions we serve is having a human connection at the center of care. This means having a real, human expert who the patient knows and trusts to guide their care.

  3. Empowered by insights: A digital care program must be powered by a tech-forward platform rooted in sustainable behavior change. The elements of a digital care program work collaboratively, combining devices, technology, design, social support, content, curriculum, goal setting, tracking and more. This blend of resources is unique to every participant, which clinical literature has proven to be most effective for positive, and lasting, results. A platform like this allows us to deliver insights, not just data to both the care team and the patient.

Trust at the Core of Care

 

To create a participant experience that’s deeply personal and trustworthy, any digital care platform must maintain a real human touch. Key components include:

  • A coordinated approach to patient care that enables collaboration across areas of expertise, all under the umbrella of a single experience
  • Maximizing the power of data science, machine learning, and AI to empower our coaches and licensed specialists to be even more empathetic in their approach to patient care
  • Positioning patients within a community of others dealing with the same conditions and similar life circumstances
  • Supportive goal architecture around the outcomes that matter most to an individual
  • Exceptional user experience and design that is not only simple to use, but delightful 
  • The use of best-in-class devices not just for monitoring, but for turning patient data into deep actionable insights
  • Programming that leverages clinical evidence based in the latest science, with peer-reviewed published studies to back them up

As we continue to build out the single most comprehensive digital care offering solution in the market, we’ll address more gaps in care. 

We are closer than ever to a future where digital care may be the preferred option when people seek treatment for the vast majority of conditions. 

The digital solutions that will define that era are not the ones seeking to replace human empathy and expertise with automation and technology, but the ones that utilize technology to augment the effectiveness of real people delivering care. 

At our recent Summit, we pushed forward the conversation around what human-led digital care means and how we can meet the unique challenges in digital health. Check out some of those inspiring sessions from our recent Summit. Explore the Summit sessions.