LOS ANGELES – Dr. Leslie Saxon is the founder of the University of Southern California Center for Body Computing, which recently launched a Digital Health Access Initiative focused on providing smartphones and data plans to the underserved as a way to improve access to its new Virtual Care Clinic. We asked Saxon for her thoughts on the current state of home health technology.
HHTN: How is your work impacting home health technology?
Saxon: We’re creating a new digital platform for patient-directed care. Almost every other aspect of our lives is integrated and available to us on-demand. We want to include health care in that paradigm so it becomes a patient-directed platform. Then, patients can go and communicate with their physician in a different way.
HHTN: What are some of the challenges to advancing a wider adoption of home health technology?
Saxon: Let’s say I am conducting a study with 70 heart failure patients. We need to provide smartphones, tablets and other devices for the patients and the team of doctors and/or caregivers. Under the non-capitated, fee-for-service system we currently have, it’s not clear how to provide that equipment and not have that be considered an inducement? Who’s going to pay for the technology we need to conduct the study? We’re going to take that on in the next year and will do a deep dive—it’s been a significant impediment for us.
HHTN: What’s next on the home health technology horizon?
Saxon: Within 10 to 15 years the digital side of health care will be the 80% and the bricks-and-mortar services will be the 20%.
HHTN: Can home health technology enhance the patient-doctor relationship?
Saxon: We can use technology to provide a virtual, immersive, consistent, data-driven patient experience that reduces miscommunication, and builds trust and education. I can use a digital platform to share information with 15 members of a patient’s family at the same time so that we’re all on the same page and can interact with the patient in a more helpful way. I can have a patient watch an immersive video of a procedure they’re scheduled to have so they know what to expect and we can have a more meaningful conversation around it. When I’m running around and trying to see all the patients I have scheduled, my patients feel that pressure. Using technology gives me more time to be the real doctor that I am to the patients who need that.