Like other progressive health systems across the country, Spectrum Health is focused on transforming care and providing consumers with a personalized experience. Two initiatives underway that underscore this focus are expanded offerings for virtual care and digital health through Spectrum Health’s telehealth program, MedNow, and advancing digital innovations.
By integrating video visits into Spectrum Health Medical Group’s primary care practices, we are expanding the way we care for patients who are chronically ill. Our direct-to-consumer telehealth program, which incorporates an app for virtual visits for patients with low-acuity conditions, is also focusing on chronic disease management. In building upon the foundation of MedNow, we are providing patients with chronic conditions direct and convenient access to their providers. In turn, providers are now able to follow up and manage care for their patients for chronic diseases, all while the patient remains at home.
Six in ten adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease. Four in ten adults have two or more of them. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. They are also the leading drivers of the nation’s $3.3 trillion in annual health care costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With this heightened awareness of chronic diseases, the need for ongoing medical attention to manage them is greater than ever. That’s why Spectrum Health has turned to telehealth as an intervention to effectively provide cost-effective education and care, while increasing patient engagement, provider efficiencies, and patient outcomes.
Spectrum Health designed its program to meet the needs of chronic care patients by focusing on three main principles to guide development: seamless technology, high personal touch, and an integrated approach. This model has led to early success. More than 1,000 patients with chronic conditions have participated in a video visit with one of 32 providers in the first year alone. So far, we have seen the greatest successes with patients who are being seen for medication checks, anxiety, depression, menopause or chronic pain.
Seamless technology has been the catalyst for adoption and utilization among both patients and providers. Providers want tools that help them become more efficient in their daily practice.