Key Takeaways

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Advanced wearable monitoring devices. AI-driven patient engagement solutions. Automated scribes. The past several years have seen an explosion of healthtech innovation.

But they’ve also witnessed forward-thinking care delivery models that are proving out more efficient, patient-first approaches. How are these novel frameworks changing care? And what will they look like as the healthcare landscape evolves?

In this episode of the Memora Health Care Delivery Podcast, our guest Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, CEO and founder of Nest Health, discusses the importance of consumer-centric care, looking to the past to inform the future of care delivery, and placing health equity as a central pillar of advancing care.

Consumerism must continue to take center stage in healthcare

Just as the digital landscape has changed drastically in healthcare over the past decade, so have patient trends. For example, as of 2023, 75% of patients read online reviews as their first step to choosing a doctor. Patterns like this one support the idea that individuals have increased notions of choice when interacting with their care journeys.

Expanding on this point, Dr. Gee explains, “Although we’re an industry that saves lives, we have to put the consumer first. Patients are getting more savvy about their healthcare and really able to make more choices about it.”

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the U.S. healthcare system remains fragmented because it’s placed organizations’ operational concerns at the center — not people’s needs. Dr. Gee proposes we’ve only witnessed the beginning of healthcare’s shift toward more consumer-focused models, adding, “We’ll see the healthcare sector continue to iterate around what people want — not what doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators want.”

Forward-thinking advancements in digital health technology — such as Memora Health’s intelligent care enablement platform — are developed with the patient experience in mind throughout every step, from development to implementation.

In many ways, the future of care delivery will look like past models

Discussions about healthcare advancement tend to revolve around technology. AI programs that streamline diagnoses. Robot surgical assistants. Predictive models that can assist preventive care.

But, Dr. Gee argues, the future of care delivery will also incorporate successful components the industry has largely drifted away from. “I think we’re going to get back to some old models of care. The doctor with the bag, coming to your home, with whom you have a long-standing relationship is an old model — but it’s coming back.”

Indeed, at-home care is expected to grow considerably — with one figure placing 25% of Medicare costs for care services shifting to home-based care by 2025. Many drivers have contributed to this trend, such as record investments in digital health technology over the past decade and revolutions in treatments. The outstanding game changer? A worldwide pandemic. 

Dr. Gee says, “COVID architected a whole transformation of healthcare from the clinic base to the virtual. The options that exist today are monumentally different from before COVID. A company like Nest couldn’t have existed prior to COVID. Because there wasn’t the ability to pay for or get paid when it came to virtual care services.

A brighter future means advancing equitable care

Evidence has shown that disparities in accessing high-quality care contribute to increased costs, perpetual poverty, and other existential challenges. Though leveling the playing field will take societal efforts extending beyond healthcare, one of the principal things care delivery will have to get right is ensuring equitable care as future models unfold.

One logical place to start is with advancing care for people enrolled in Medicaid. Dr. Gee explains, “What’s lacking is a focus on Medicaid … lower income families who need a concierge model, who need other options. There’s lots going on in private pay for people who can afford to pay for things outside of their premium options.” Notably, this jointly funded program by federal and state governments covers 90 million low-income families.

Also, companies pioneering alternative models of care can leverage data to better understand how to best prioritize underserved communities. Using Nest as an example, Dr. Gee expands, “We have an idea of which families need help first — and that’s based on a few things like emergency room use, chronic conditions, substance use disorder, and so on. Those same criteria help us identify who are the highest-risk individuals in our model. And we find individuals and families trend together toward risk. We might find that one family member is high-risk, and we get into the home and realize everyone is having a hard time.”

As we look to the future of care delivery, it’s important to consider every angle for ensuring a more sustainable and effective healthcare system. That includes advancements in digital health technology, but it also means developing innovative care models that promote progress. By supporting better access to care, putting patients at the center of their care journeys, and meeting people where they are, we can carve out a path forward for more inclusive, compassionate, and high-quality care.