To impact healthcare, understanding patient behavior is part of the equation

The goal appears simple... improve patient health outcomes and reduce costs. But sorry, it is not that simple after all. As a whole, we all appear to target the same goal that is to improve health outcomes for patients but often, we are mired in a very complex ecosystem where everyone's performance targets are at odds with each other and worse, they hardly translate to really improving patient outcomes.

I offer 2 basic observations. First, the players such as Payers (public or private) Healthcare Providers, Healthcare Administrators, Pharmaceutical companies have goals that are at odds with each other. Second, the goals often stop at the enterprise level and somehow hardly reach the end consumer, the patient.

The current equation is flawed. Tufts report on cost of drug development in 2016 + time spent on clinical documentation + other healthcare costs such as EMRs, emerging medical technologies + interventions like Population Health Management struggle to reach the ultimate consumer, the patient. For this entire healthcare spending, the effort to understand patient behavior is paltry. I think we're missing the point, in its apparent absence in the mathematics of healthcare. Healthcare is beyond cost efficiency, reduction in rates of re-hospitalization, improvements in revenue. With the patient at the core, understanding patient behavior needs to be part of the equation.

Lest we forget, with all our initiatives to mount a digital healthcare revolution, efforts to reduce costs and improve healthcare outcomes, healthcare's success is driven not only by counting multiple economic transactions but with the patient at the helm of each touch point, understanding patient behavior needs to be part of this equation. And for the expected zetta bytes of healthcare data that is expected, behavior analytics hardly makes a scene.

The success of healthcare must move beyond the mathematical and economic values of the "what’s". To influence drug adherence, impact population health management and impact overall outcomes, it's about time, we must attempt to dig deep into the "whys" of healthcare. Deriving the behavioral and sociological valuesthat need to be part of the healthcare equation.

We are living in unprecedented times when patients are willing to share their data, speak to each other online, seek support from patient organizations and adopt digital and smart devices. These are opportunities to understand patients beyond how weknew them in the past - recipients of care. Being at the forefront of their care means we can no longer ignore them.