How chatbots can help patients navigate care, the healthcare issue rideshare companies want to address, and more.

1. Exercise for the “young at heart”

Want a heart that’s 30 years younger? Try exercising for a lifetime. That’s what Scott Trappe discovered when he headed a study out of Ball State University in Indiana. Trappe, an exercise physiologist, looked at the cardiovascular and skeletal muscle health of 70 senior adults.

“We saw that people who exercise regularly year after year have better overall health than their sedentary counterparts,” said Trappe. “These 75-year-olds — men and women — have similar cardiovascular health to a 40- to 45-year-old. ‘Exercise wins’ is the take-home message.” Trappe suggests 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. “If you want to do 30 to 45 minutes of walking a day, the amount of health benefit you are going to get is going to be significant and substantial,” he says. “Will it equal the person training for competitive performances? No. But it will outdo the couch potato.”

2. Payers lack the confidence to succeed with data analytics

Eight-three percent of healthcare payers say analytics will play a strategic role in the way they do business next year, but only 17 percent believe they have the skills and processes in place to process data. That’s according to a North Highland Worldwide Consulting survey.

“While business executives across all industries are optimistic about growth, there’s a disconnect, with the majority not feeling prepared to tackle strategic priorities,” said Alex Bombeck, President and Managing Director of North Highland. Data experts recommend payers prioritize the consumer experience and leverage their IT departments to improve operational efficiency.

3. Why Americans forego the flu shot

Over 40 percent of Americans said no to the flu shot this year. Why? Because many adults believe the flu shot will give them the actual flu or other side effects. Others believe the vaccine is ineffective.

“Unfortunately, many people are still not getting flu shots due to broader misconceptions about the value of receiving a flu shot and concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines,” said Caitlin Oppenheimer, MPH, senior vice president of public health research at NORC, in a news release. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu shot for most people over 6 months of age.

4. Lyft and Uber hop into healthcare

Almost 3.6 million Americans missed healthcare appointments last year due to a lack of reliable transportation. Transportation companies Uber and Lyft have stepped in to help. Lyft recently hired its first senior healthcare executive and Uber has added two health leaders to its organization. With the addition of these health executives, both Uber and Lyft have partnered with healthcare organizations to ease transportation issues.

Earlier this year, Uber launched Uber Health, an app that helps healthcare organizations provide rides to patients and caregivers. Since its inception, more than 100 healthcare organizations, including hospitals and other medical entities, have utilized the service. Lyft has partnered with nine top healthcare systems to improve social determinants of health and provide access to nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.

5. Chatbots improve patient communication

Healthcare payers and providers are using chatbots to help patients navigate their care and understand their benefits. It’s just one way companies can improve efficiency while saving money. Chatbots are currently used to:

  • Prepare patients for a colonoscopy
  • Engage discharged patients
  • Manage referrals and follow-up appointments

“You’re starting to see the early adoption of chatbots in healthcare across all aspects of the patient journey,” said Brian Kalis, managing director of digital health and innovation for Accenture’s health business. “In a healthcare context, chatbots provide simplicity and convenience for consumers and better labor, productivity and connection to consumers for providers.”

 

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