Transforming Healthcare with Connected Health Technology: Enhancing Chronic Care and Behavioral Healthcare

Connected healthcare technologies are transforming care delivery, patient outcomes, and provider workflows, particularly in the chronic disease management and behavioral healthcare arenas. The adoption and use of these technologies, including telehealth tools and healthcare wearable devices, skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in healthcare provider organizations launching and scaling technology-enabled services. Even as in-person care resumed, connected health models for chronic disease management and behavioral healthcare proliferated.

In October, healthcare leaders speaking at Xtelligent Healthcare Media’s 4th Annual Connected Health Virtual Summit detailed their use of connected health technology to boost chronic care and address behavioral healthcare gaps, as well as the potential benefits and challenges of these care models.

Amid the growing popularity of healthcare-focused wearable devices, provider organizations are increasingly employing them to enhance chronic disease management between clinic visits. New York City-based Mount Sinai Health Partners, a clinically integrated network, leverages wearable devices for numerous programs, including its condition management program. The condition management program focuses on chronic disease patients, including those with hypertension, congestive heart failure, and diabetes. The patients are provided with preconfigured wearable devices that track their vital signs. The data is transmitted to the care team at Mount Sinai.

However, adopting and using these devices poses several challenges, both on the provider and patient side. From the healthcare provider perspective, incorporating wearables into clinical practice often means workflow changes. Thus, buy-in is critical when implementing wearable technology and related processes and protocols.

An image of a person using a wearable health device and engaging in a telehealth session to represent the integration of connected health technology in chronic care and behavioral healthcare.

On the other end of the spectrum are the patients. As the end users of the devices, patients must understand how to use the devices and remain engaged. Patient education, device-specific training, and intuitive technology interfaces can go a long way toward helping patients glean the clinical advantages of healthcare wearables.

ChristianaCare has created a new role to support patient use of healthcare technology, including wearable devices. Called patient digital ambassadors, these health system staff members help patients use the devices sent to them, as well as identify devices they already own that could be used to provide healthcare data to clinicians.

Connected health technologies also play a pivotal role in addressing behavioral healthcare barriers. Intermountain Health launched a virtual behavioral health clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering psychiatry services and talk therapy. However, the digital divide can prevent patients from accessing digitally enabled behavioral healthcare.

High-quality research is critical to closing behavioral healthcare gaps, including quantifying the digital divide and ensuring the safety and efficacy of digital mental health applications. Additionally, ethical and compassionate care must be balanced with the advancement of technology to ensure successful implementation of connected health solutions.

Our Perspective

As a digital consulting company, Pinnacle Digital Advisors recognizes the innovative potential of connected health technology in revolutionizing chronic care and addressing behavioral healthcare gaps. The seamless integration of wearables, telehealth, and digital solutions presents a consumer-friendly approach that aligns with the evolving healthcare landscape, empowering both patients and providers with efficient, accessible, and personalized care options.

Pinnacle Digital Advisors

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