“We need to revolutionize the care and efficiency of medicine delivery.” Coming from Livongo President Dr. Jennifer Schneider during our Forcura CONNECT Summit session, “Beyond Telehealth Part 2: The New Consumer-Centered Virtual Care Model,” those words already ring true, thanks to advancements made by her company and others. They are leveraging connected technology, advanced data science, personalized coaching, and telehealth to benefit health consumers and optimize the physician experience.
In her conversation with WTF Health Executive Producer and Host Jessica DaMassa, Jennifer discussed chronic condition management, applying outpatient principles to post-acute care, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has increased consumer expectations. She also looked at the anticipated patient, clinician and industry benefits resulting from the recently announced merger of Livongo and virtual care leader Teladoc.
Empowering People to Live Better, Healthier Lives
As a Type-1 diabetes patient herself, Jennifer knows what types of messages and images resonate for those with chronic conditions – and their caregivers – and drive them to do what’s best for their own health. “The average age of Livongo members is 57, and these people actually interact with the system more frequently than the younger population,” she noted. “Chronic conditions account for 90 percent of medical costs, and 77 percent of Americans over age 65 are living with two or more of these conditions. With greater interest in their healthcare, this group needs ongoing monitoring and immediate feedback to feel understood, encouraged and motivated. They want information that’s personally valuable, but not overwhelming.”
Jennifer explained how the Livongo system is built on three pillars:
- Data capture via cellular-enabled devices
- Real-time data analysis to provide timely prompts
- Human interaction such as expert support and shared updates with providers and family
Livongo’s approach is very personalized; as Jennifer pointed out, “We can’t simply look at medicine and conditions – we have to take culture and individual choices into account.” She reported rave reviews and altered behaviors: patients love the system, have documented improved clinical outcomes (including decreased ER visits and hospital readmissions), and the system shows a strong financial return on investment in the first year.
A Powerful Partnership…with Future Benefits for PAC
All those factors, as well as a natural fit, led to the merger agreement between Livongo and Teladoc in August. Jennifer detailed the strengths and perspectives that brought the two organizations together: “Teladoc has a comprehensive suite of services to schedule and conduct appointments with a spectrum of therapists, nutritionists, doctors and specialists. They made connections with providers then reached out to people who could use them. When we started Livongo, we decided to focus on the individuals with the chronic conditions, and then work our way into the healthcare systems and providers. By leveraging the combination of our data capture and Teladoc’s services, we can meet patients where they are – whether acute, episodic or chronic – and then escalate them appropriately along the continuum.”
Jennifer believes the same principles of looking at patients holistically, rather than in silos, will apply to post-acute care as they have for outpatient needs. “The underlying experience of tracking and following someone, and their preferences and conditions, is really key. There must be multiple touch points, with observations from the data going to the patients, their families, and the doctors.”
Consumer-Directed Virtual Care is Here to Stay
“The novel coronavirus pandemic put everyone in the same camp – and there’s no turning back.” That’s how Jennifer described how COVID-19 has tipped the healthcare balance towards consumers and increased expectations, something she thinks may have taken three years without the circumstances created by the virus. She has “high hopes” that the reimbursement landscape will change, since the value of virtual services and increased access for underserved areas has now been proven. “We have an incredible opportunity to enhance this experience!”
Jennifer noted that 62 percent of Q2 telehealth visits were for chronic conditions, demonstrating both the need for and acceptance of treatment outside “brick and mortar” settings. With data central to “everything we do,” Jennifer stressed the importance of privacy and security. “All this data belongs to the patients, and they decide who should have access to it. We’ve already heard that our members are excited by the additional Teladoc data points that will reveal patterns to better understand each individual.”
Much More Than a One-to-One Approach
Our two “Beyond Telehealth” sessions showed that even though the use of telehealth and remote monitoring has skyrocketed this year, the full potential of this tech is less about the “how” and much more about the “why.” Through technology, the health industry is inching its way towards making patient-centric care a reality. Informed, tech-accessorized and connected people can now engage with the health system as drivers of their care and less as the passive recipients. Add clinical access to this robust, continuous and comprehensive patient information, and you’ll agree Livongo is succeeding in revolutionizing care delivery.
As Forcura's Director of Communications and Brand Strategy, Kate brings a robust background and knowledge of the healthcare and post-acute industry to Forcura. She also represents Forcura as a social media ambassador at events around the country, is an on-camera reporter and interviewer, and host of our Innovate Jax podcast.