Avoid Assimilation - Adapt to Health Care Reform Through Consumer-Oriented Wellness

Health care systems are fighting to survive the turmoil in American health care. Most all of them through ways to provide care that is more patient-centered. However, the current U.S. health care system does not provide what patients want most. Yes, patients want to manage their chronic conditions, live longer and not go broke paying for health care services. But what people really want most is to have a good quality-of-life that is not compromised by chronic health problems.


Innovating with Patient-Oriented Care

Fixing this disconnect between what patients want and what health systems provide is not hard - it just takes a willingness to step outside "medicine's disease management box". 


Lifestyle medicine is a growing field focused on using lifestyle interventions to help patients improve quality-of-life and reduce medication needs while still meeting disease management guidelines. But even practices that aren't dedicated to lifestyle medicine can add simple wellness services. By doing so, you will strengthen your practice's security because patients will actually seek you out for the consumer-centered care they truly desire.


The Changing Health Care Landscape

The way health care is provided in America is rapidly changing, especially after COVID-19. Many doctors sold their practices and became employees to reduce their risk and avoid worrying about business survival during crises like COVID-19.1 Around 80% of doctors are now employed by big health care systems. This is because running a private medical practice is very difficult - it's heavily regulated and a financial struggle to stay independent.


Virtual care is here to stay, even though payers are backing away from covering it at full cost, because patients refuse to spend 4 hours and lose half-a-day's wage in order to see the doctor. Team-based care will stay, too, despite the lack of adequate business models for team care, because there simply aren't enough doctors (especially in rural areas). 


Staying Competitive with Wellness Services

To stay competitive, nimble and forward-looking medical groups need to innovate and provide services that patients really want - health and wellness services. Research shows about 80% of consumers are very interested in buying wellness products and services.2,3 Health and wellness spas were a $2B market in 2022.4


However, most medical practices today focus only on treating diseases, not promoting wellness. So patients don't see their doctors as providers of health and wellness services. Practices could change how they are perceived by offering new wellness-focused services and tools, but it can’t be the same old stuff with a new wrapper. Which is why practices need to hire health coaches


Smaller electronic medical record (EMR) vendors can also stand out by providing software focused on the patient’s wellness needs, not just the doctor’s needs for managing disease care. And what America calls preventive care is not wellness. Rather, aside from vaccination, what American doctors call "prevention" is actually a form of early disease management. For patients, early detection has long-term value but little immediate bearing on quality-of-life. 


TrueNorth Health & Wellness Platform

TrueNorth is a cloud-based app from Sustainable Health Systems that meets the need for health and wellness tools. It give patients the ability to:


• Quantify and track lifestyle habits;

• Assess readiness to change;

• Set goals and track progress;

• Take in data from almost all wearables and internet-connected scales; and

• Use community resources to overcome social and environmental barriers to better health.


TrueNorth provides practices:


• Analytics on coaching productivity and outcomes, to meet pay-for-performance metrics;

• Analytics to show how the wellness services improves outcomes and lower costs;

• Enables secure interactions among patients, coaches, providers and practice managers;

• Can integrate with a practice's EMR system; and

• Complies with HIPAA privacy laws.


Traditional EMRs lack features for addressing the biological, psychological and social factors impacting a patient's overall health and well-being, but TrueNorth comprehensively meets these patient-centered needs. 


If you find yourself willing to step outside the "disease management box", contact us. We're happy to provide a no cost discovery on how you can create a wellness service line or use our TrueNorth platform.


1) Personal communications

2) https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare/our-insights/consumers-rule-driving-healthcare-growth-with-a-consumer-led-strategy

3) https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/whats-new-in-consumer-wellness-trends?stcr=9E370CA545F6402882C5D714D22A4DDB&cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=c13e82fc9d7e4e05bb944ea952891ef8&hctky=15470701&hdpid=52a23111-7dd7-40b8-a5e8-bdff7eaabdde#/

4) https://www.statista.com/topics/12049/wellness-industry-in-the-us/#topicOverview