HYANNIS, Mass. – Jim Purcell is the former CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and today spends his time as a health care speaker, futurist and reform strategist. We asked Purcell to share his views about the impact of technology on home health care today and in the future.
HHTN: How has technology impacted home health care?
PURCELL: I’m not sure that it has yet, but it will. We’re slowly moving in that direction, but we’re just scratching the surface.
HHTN: How will the interplay between technology and home health care play out?
PURCELL: Interconnectivity will be the way of the future. People are using technology to monitor their health and take care of themselves, but they are also going online to seek each other out and ask for information or advice. They are creating these little communities that root each other on, and that consumerism is going to take over and hijack health care.
HHTN: How have advances in home health technology impacted the insurance space?
PURCELL: Probably most significantly through workplace wellness programs. Many insurers offer basic workplace wellness programs, which appeal to those who already feel well, but not to those who really need them. There’s no return on investment. We can use technology and the growing consumerism of health care to create an environment for long-term behavior change and empower people to take their health care into their own hands.
HHTN: Where does technology fit in to workplace wellness programs?
PURCELL: Most good programs offer wearable devices to members, and wearables, at this point, do some good for the broader picture. Insurers can use the data they collect to identify that small number of employees who have the potential to be chronically ill in the future and get them into healthy behaviors now.