The future of digital health part 1: Are you prepared for what’s on the horizon?

Part 1

For well over a year now, the COVID-19 pandemic has been taking a tremendous toll on the world. Even though hope is on the horizon, the catastrophic impact of this virus on the economy and public health will persist for a long time to come. The healthcare industry and workforce specifically have been faced with devastating challenges as well as unprecedented opportunities. 

In this new series, healthcare visionary and thought leader Andy Dé discusses how COVID-19 has triggered remarkable digital transformation and predicts how healthcare delivery will likely change as a result. Follow along the next few weeks as Dé uncovers five long-term innovation implications that providers, healthcare leaders, and payers need to consider.


Innovation implication #1: Advanced analytics for vaccine administration

One of the most compelling events of 2021 so far has been the FDA approving COVID-19 vaccines. This exciting development offers hope to the world, but also continues to present significant organizational and tactical challenges to community leaders and governments.

The first major hurdle was determining how to position the vaccines and answer questions regarding their safety, side effects, and more. The second was distributing and storing them across the globe, which quickly led to the third: prioritizing and administering the shots.

Finally, processes needed to be put in place to monitor patients for potential adverse events triggered by the vaccine and capture them through an Adverse Event Management System.

In situations like this, advanced analytics and AI have shown their incredible potential. They have the power to answer key questions like:

  1. Who are the patients most at risk of contracting COVID-19?
    • Use Case: Segment and stratify by zip code based on risk (demographics, co-morbidities, socio-economic determinants of health)
    • Use Case: Correlate and map high-risk patients by the strain of COVID-19 persistent in their area
  2.  Where do these high-risk patients reside?
    • Use Case: Segment patients based on proximity to the nearest quality healthcare facility
    • Use Case: Explore using USPS/UPS/FEDEX to distribute vaccines and therapeutics in a safe, effective and risk-free manner to patients far from healthcare facilities
    • Use Case: Recruit and deploy retired or mobile nurses to administer these vaccines and monitor patients post-inoculation
  3. What kind of treatment or vaccines would work best for each high-risk segment?
    • Use Case: Correlate and map high-risk patients to classes of treatment and therapeutics available (vaccines, therapeutics, convalescent plasma)
    • Use Case: Segment vaccines (single dose vs. multiple doses) by manufacturer (Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Moderna etc.) and correlate with the needs of patients based on age, co-morbidities, location, etc.
    • Use Case: Match supply of the vaccines to the demand by segment, by each zip code, or hospital by state
  4. How do we orchestrate a “cold chain” using a hub-and-spoke supply network to distribute the vaccines in a safe and secure manner?
    • Use Case: Monitor, measure and analyze the temperatures that the vaccines were subjected to across the chain of custody
    • Use Case: Model and do a network analysis of the supply chains needed to distribute these vaccines, based on risk
    • Use Case: Model and determine whether to distribute the vaccines using the pharma distribution chain (McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen) or use Army logistics and FEMA to accomplish this
    • Use Case: Detect whether a vaccine has potentially lost its efficacy and safely discard
    • Use Case: Return defective vaccines to the manufacturer using the same cold chain for analysis
  5. How can we monitor high-risk patients after administration of the vaccines and proactively detect adverse events as they happen?
    • Use Case: Use telehealth and remote monitoring to ensure patients are doing well and detect any side effects (fever, rash, hives, seizure or other symptoms)
    • Use Case: Rapidly collect and report data on adverse events – even halting distribution if the number of adverse events extend beyond the suggested thresholds of safety

Though millions of people in America have been fully vaccinated, significant hurdles still remain in the path to educate, inoculate, and monitor our entire population, as well as the 7+ billion inhabitants of this planet. I encourage healthcare leaders, government representatives, and community organizers to take advantage of available technologies to help overcome those hurdles.

Next week on the MedeAnalytics blog, we’ll explore Innovation Implication #2: Digital Patient Engagement and Virtual Healthcare Delivery. Don’t miss it!


About the Author

Andy Dé is Vice President, Marketing. Andy joined MedeAnalytics in March 2021 bringing more than 20 years of enterprise software product marketing, product management and industry strategy experience. In his role, Andy oversees the company’s go-to-market (GTM) strategy and marketing. He is passionate about healthcare innovation and is recognized as an industry thought leader in healthcare.