3 trends accelerating innovation in health care

What's the latest innovations in health care?

Digital innovation is driving change within health care — and with it may come lower costs, better outcomes and improved experiences.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Kaylene Thompson, UnitedHealthcare vice president of innovation. “We’re bringing new products online that make it easier for consumers, their employers and health care providers to engage and experience value from the health ecosystem.”

Kaylene says research and development teams at UnitedHealthcare are working every day to find solutions for common pain points and to achieve goals like:

  • Improving how members derive value from their benefits and track health care needs
  • Controlling costs of treatments, including the management of chronic conditions
  • Identifying and addressing social determinants of health, which include things like a lack of access to nutritious food, housing and transportation
  • Enhancing systems that reward providers for the quality vs. quantity of care

“The big-picture objective is a health care system that’s more integrated, equitable and affordable for everyone,” Kaylene said.

Three trends are proving important in making these goals possible:

1. Data-driven personalized care

The days of one-size-fits-all solutions are quickly coming to an end as artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies are increasingly able to customize care. Today, data that includes everything from a patient’s medical history to possible social health barriers can be analyzed to help create an individualized health plan. Thanks to wearable devices, real-time data is also aiding in the daily management of chronic diseases like diabetes

2. Digital resources for providers and members

Transparency is at the heart of another trend that’s putting quality and cost information in front of patients and their doctors before decisions need to be made. For patients, health plans with upfront pricing may help manage expenses and eliminate surprise bills. For doctors, point-of-care information, including things like pharmacy benefits and quality care opportunities, is helping to create recommendations that keep cost savings in mind while tailoring care to a patient’s unique needs.

3. Strategic collaborations

A common obstacle to successful health care innovation is the fragmented nature of the business. When teams come together to work on a common goal, it may be possible to speed up the identification of problems and design viable solutions for them. One example of this cooperation is the UnitedHealthcare Accelerator program, which focuses on helping early-stage health care startups grow through investment and mentorship.

“Our team is embracing these trends as we work to simplify the health care system and make it work better for everyone,” Kaylene said. “Our search for solutions includes the development of even more new products and services, retooling outdated processes and building value-based business models.”

Go deeper: Learn more on these innovation trends.

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