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Clinical Leadership Forum 2024: Integrated Digital Health Management is the Future 

In early May, HealthEdge hosted the 2024 Clinical Leadership Forum in Boston, Massachusetts. This event brought together more than 50 health plan executives, clinicians, and other healthcare leaders, and served as a platform to address key concerns and opportunities in the industry.

The forum focused on the role of integrated digital health management solutions in driving efficiency, clinical outcomes, and organizational goals by making the most of the resources payers already have. Speakers also discussed the need to embrace the constant change and modernization of the healthcare industry. Health plans across the U.S. are being asked to improve experiences and outcomes without raising costs—and the right digital health solutions can help. In this article, we delve deeper into the discoveries and experiences shared during our exclusive event.

“We need to think about how technology will change our processes to add more value to businesses and customer experiences, and then we have to organize ourselves to change those processes.”

-Steve Krupa, CEO, HealthEdge®

Key Takeaways: We’re being offered the opportunity to change everything we do

The pace of healthcare industry innovation continues to accelerate. Members expect a convenient and personalized experience, regulatory requirements keep shifting, and high-needs populations are growing. Four sessions stood out for their emphasis on embracing new technologies to improve health outcomes and the member experience.

Address Health Equity Using Digital Care Management

One of the forum’s highlights was a panel led by Dr. Sandhya Gardner, Chief Medical Officer at HealthEdge. Dr. Gardner facilitated a discussion between clinicians from three large regional health plans, who shared how they address health equity among their member populations using digital solutions.

This discussion underscored the benefits of offering digital health management tools to members and care managers. For care managers, integrated digital health tools help improve staff efficiency and make it easier for care managers to identify health equity challenges and social determinants of health. The insights care teams get from digital health solutions enables them to deliver more timely and relevant care that meets members where they are. Digital health tools can also improve the accessibility of healthcare services by giving members a single point of access where they can reach out to care teams, read relevant health and benefits information, and keep track of their health goals.

“What we’re really concerned about are the folks who are working but unavailable to us. They may be shift workers, they may be working overnight, or beyond the hours our regular care managers work. They may have a burner cell phone. All those things lead to disparities. So figuring out ways to reach people through other channels, whatever they may be, is critical to reducing disparities.”

-Vice President of Clinical Operations, Regional Health Plan

Combat Industry Pressure with Integrated Care Management

Healthcare payers are under a lot of pressure—trying to combat rising costs, satisfy regulatory requirements, and increase member satisfaction while trying to stay competitive. In a session with two statewide health plan executives, panelists discussed the role of integrated care management in empowering key member, care team, and health plan stakeholders to achieve their goals. The fusion of digital member engagement and hands-on care management empowers members to take control of their health and make more informed decisions.

Attendees were given an exclusive look into the ways connected care ecosystems enhance operational capacities and forge a more empathetic, responsive culture. A digitally enabled care management approach is particularly beneficial for high-risk populations, like maternity and Medicaid. Plus, demonstrations of the Care-Wellframe solution provided concrete examples of how this technology can be seamlessly integrated into existing workflows, offering a glimpse into a future where healthcare is both high-tech and high-touch.

“Instead of asking our staff to take on the additional cognitive burden of choosing which members to call, we can clearly identify exactly who the members are who have emerging risks. It also gives our members access to a repository of information that they can access 24/7, 365.”

-Chief Medical Officer, Regional Health Plan

Championing Change Management: Best Practices

In a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, adaptability is key. In one session, leaders from three regional and national payers shared best practices based on their experience with change management throughout the digital implementation process. Earning buy-in from stakeholders and future users can be a challenge. One way to improve adoption and reduce pushback is to build trust with your internal team through transparent communication and early involvement.

Panelists also emphasized the importance of cultivating a company culture that not only adapts to digital innovations but thrives because of them. From workflow optimization to team engagement, the health plan leaders provided a comprehensive toolkit to support successful digital transitions. Most notably, this included the importance of transparency throughout the implementation process. When stakeholders and employees know the “why” behind a change, they’re more likely to feel involved in the solution.

“Once you have team members that understand the value of ‘why,’ and over-communicating the value of ‘why’ so it’s not just sitting with the clinical team, that’s how you gain some traction.” 

-Chief Medical Officer, National Health Plan 

Leveraging AI for Care Management

Discussions about the applications of AI are everywhere. But where can it have the greatest impact on health plan operations? Many AI solutions need more training before they can fully replace manual documentation. But digital health management platforms like GuidingCare® and Wellframe leverage AI algorithms to improve clinical decision-making and member outcomes.

An AI assistant helps improve staff productivity by suggesting message templates, flagging high-risk members, making engagement recommendations, and suggesting next best actions. HealthEdge views AI as a key component of helping our customers become digital payers through transformational consumer experiences and business agility enablement.

“What are you actually trying to use this technology to solve for? Are you trying to save people time, generate insights, proactively take something that took a lot of manual effort and uplevel their skills to work top-of-license? Those are all areas we think are core-value oriented.”

-SVP of Product Management, HealthEdge®

Looking Forward

The 2024 Clinical Leadership Forum was a testament to the power of collective insight and a shared commitment across the healthcare sector to drive positive change. The discussions and solution demonstrations highlighted not only the current capabilities of digital care management, but the possibilities for future innovations.

For health plan executives and healthcare leaders, the forum served as both a call to action and a way to build relationships with leaders at similar organizations. The Clinical Leadership Forum was a powerful reminder that the future we aspire to is not just a possibility but an inevitability if we continue to innovate, collaborate, and lead with empathy and vision.

Learn more about HealthEdge® digital health management and member engagement solutions, visit the GuidingCare® and Wellframe pages on our website.