By Raja Sundaram, CEO, Plethy
If a patient is engaged in their recovery, all is well. If not, recovery is delayed, difficult and costly. Too often that central fact gets lost, attention diverted by cool new technology that promises to educate, measure, report, and hasten recovery using artificial intelligence, wearables, wifi, smartphones, and algorithms.
A long-time work comp claims executive said it well, “we’re not interested in yet another device that costs a bundle, promises the moon, and ends up on a shelf.” This is where a bio-psycho-social approach is critical to driving sustainable engagement.
Employee engagement is critical because:
- It speeds up and strengthens recovery
- Provides real-time data that documents progress
- Alerts stakeholders to potential issues
So, how can we drive patient engagement? Briefly, we have to meet each patient where they are. This approach leverages the bio-psycho-social aspect that is critical for engaging the worker while capturing necessary insights. That involves:
- Understanding their home situation, motivations, and behaviors
- Demonstrating empathy and understanding
- Realizing the patient’s journey is not a straight line of consistent progress
- Adapting the patient’s treatment plan as needed
- Engaging with clinicians as quickly as possible when issues arise
While Internet of Things (IoT) is redefining healthcare through sensors, apps, and analytics by collecting recovery data. Internet of Behavior (IoB) enables personalized services through data by understanding the injured workers’ archetype and behavior.
Here’s how effective IoT and IoB work together to address the triple aim:
- Improving the quality of the care provided
- Improving injured worker outcomes and supporting quicker return to work
- Reducing the cost of care
Jackie hurt her knee at work and is experiencing pain as she recovers. She doesn’t have much of a support structure as she lives alone. She does like her work and co-workers, and really enjoys spending time playing with her active granddaughter. Jackie’s therapist set her up with a virtual care solution that includes a wearable device to help ensure she’s doing her at-home exercises properly – thereby reducing the risk of re-injury and pain. As Jackie’s support structure is minimal, her patient coach engages frequently in the way Jackie wants to be engaged, while reminding her of her motivations for recovery. At the same time, the coach handles her with empathy when she is in pain. Because of her engagement, the clinical data collected determines the right amount of care Jackie needs to gain recovery and not experience reinjury.
Cesar will be undergoing shoulder surgery; he’s older, hasn’t stayed active and is not accustomed to exercise. His wife is concerned he will face a long recovery that might not be complete. Like Jackie, Cesar’s therapist set him up with a virtual care solution that includes a wearable device linked to his smartphone. Supported by a patient coach, the technology helps Cesar’s surgery preparation with pre-habilitation home exercises and pre-op readiness checklists. It supports quality outcomes in post-surgery by engaging Cesar to follow his care plan. It keeps him motivated to do his PT-prescribed exercises at home. The data and insights collected through Cesar’s engagement provide his care team with real-time visibility into post-operative risks or risks for delayed recovery that will allow for quicker intervention.
These two examples show that the right care at the right time isn’t universal; individuals have different needs, wants, and fears, and enter the injury recovery process from different places. Successful and sustained recovery requires a program that recognizes that we are all unique. It incorporates a bio-psych-social approach that engages the injured worker, helping them manage their care at home while providing visibility into the injured worker’s engagement and recovery progression.
Technology can be a great asset to the recovery process if patients use it. If they don’t, it’s just another expensive thing sitting on the shelf.
About Raja Sundaram
As the CEO of Plethy, Raja is passionate about reshaping the patient experience through a digital health hybrid care model that augments care providers at home. He is a believer in approaching patients holistically through bio-psycho-social data-driven patient engagement and analytics to a personalized care plan, accelerate recovery, and gain sustainable cost reduction.
His experience spans multiple industries that include leadership and strategy consulting roles at Cisco Systems, Virgin Hyperloop One, and Boston Consulting. Raja is also in startup advisory boards that span various industries including cyber security.
At Plethy, he is addressing a societal problem by focusing on musculoskeletal care. As we all grow older and live longer, the costs of musculoskeletal care will only increase, further adding to the burden on society. Raja sees MSK recovery-in-place as foundational for overall physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Plethy Recupe Musculoskeletal Solution supports patients in their recovery at home and enables quality outcomes. Recupe is for all MSK conditions and supports all major joints. The solution is being used in workers comp, group health, sports, personal injury, benefits program, and CAT cases.
Plethy believes that musculoskeletal health gives us the independence to follow all the paths life may take us down or forge our own path. – at home, at work, or at leisure.
Leaders from technology and medicine came together to create Plethy, with active support from engaged doctors and thought leaders in workers comp.