“The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in an era of rapid innovation in digital health and the healthcare industry must leverage that momentum to create a better consumer experience,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, sharing his vision at the opening keynote session of the AHIP Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum.
“Before the pandemic, we were having lots of conversations about the adoption of tools like telehealth,” he said. “There were all these questions and hesitations, and then – bam – when there were no other options, everybody found a way to make it happen. Frankly, we need more of that.”
Markovich felt refreshed by that speedy adoption of new technology in an industry that’s largely lagged behind modern innovations.
“There’s too much inertia, complacency, and even just outright resistance in the healthcare system to adopt new things,” he said. “We know that when we have to, we can. But if we just keep waiting for people to be ‘ready,’ we’ll never make the progress we need to make. One of the big takeaways for me was: stop asking and start demanding.”
Markovich is excited for what he hopes is a newfound willingness to adopt and use effective technology in the healthcare sector. While people continue to rely on consumer-friendly technologies in other industries – from banking to transportation – health care is woefully behind.
To change this narrative, Markovich feels that some forcing functions have to be in place.
“We have to create the incentives and some of this has to be top-down,” he said. “For example, in California, we’ve advocated for a mandate that would allow everyone to digitally share their electronic medical records and other information – which will go into effect January 1, 2024.”
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Markovich said. “We’re going to have to mandate it, otherwise it will be a long road.”
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