Game Changers 2020 Essay Series: Innovating in Health Care Today… for Tomorrow

Innovating in Health Care Today… for Tomorrow

Lloyd Dean, President and CEO, Dignity Health

In health care, improving the patient experience and health outcomes for those we serve is essential. Our communities face greater health challenges than ever before. Meeting those challenges requires more resources, talent, expertise, investments, and collaboration. But we cannot accept the status quo.

We have to work, step-by-step, to redefine the health care landscape as we know it today.

Technology now provides unprecedented access to information and data. Information that can be harnessed to improve the health status of our communities. This shift can fundamentally improve the quality of health care for now and into the future. But, to do so, providers must embrace a culture of innovation and embrace disruptive technologies to improve the delivery of health care.

To ensure that we deliver the highest standard of care to our patients, Dignity Health collaborates with innovative leaders across a variety of industries. We simply cannot do it alone. Together, health systems can bring creative solutions to support healthy populations.

For instance, one transformative innovation in health care is enabling physicians to spend more time on direct patient care.

That’s why, five years ago, Dignity Health became the first health system to identity and partner with Augmedix, a company that provides physicians with Google Glass technology connected to a remote scribe during a medical appointment. This technology actually helps providers increase human interaction. Thus, patients have a better experience overall and think more favorably of their physicians. When patients have positive interactions with their health care teams, they are more likely to engage in regular preventive care, which results in healthier populations.

And, as digital consumers, we now have the ability to use technology to manage our health. Seeing the opportunity to empower our patients with their personalized medical data, Dignity Health began working with Apple on their Health Records app before it was even beta-tested. We believe that patients should be able to collect their medical data in one place so they can make more informed decisions about their care as a partner with their care teams. When patients have their electronic health records on their mobile device, they are also better able to self-manage their health to prevent expensive acute care visits. This is the future of health care, where patients are part of their care journey, and managing their health as partners with their physicians.

Innovations in wireless technology can also make self-care more convenient and increase the quality of care. In the area of digital therapeutics, we have partnered with Propeller Health to change the way asthma patients manage their condition. This technology system equips patients with a sensor on their inhaler that tracks situational conditions that may trigger an asthma attack. The remote monitoring helps patients better self-manage their condition to avoid expensive emergency department visits. Receiving treatment in a setting with the appropriate level of care can drastically improve patients’ quality of life and reduce the cost of care for everyone.

It is my hope that, with widespread adoption of health innovations, more people will be empowered to access the right level of care, when they need it. If we continue to open up new pathways to interact with health care, we will better support the overall health of everyone.

June 21, 2019