AMA Releases Blueprint to Optimize Digitally Enabled Care

With the goal of filling in gaps related to virtual healthcare, the American Medical Association (AMA) and Manatt Health released a Blueprint for Optimizing Digitally Enabled Care, which describes six pillars that can help optimize digital health practices.

According to the AMA, there is untapped potential associated with digitally enabled care. The organization noted that investments, technology adoption, and patient needs play a significant role in how digitally enabled care evolves and how it can be used to improve access and care quality.

“When equitably designed and thoughtfully integrated, digital health tools can effectively augment and enhance care,” said AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD, in a press release. “Yet often, digital health products exist in silos and risk additional fragmentation, higher costs, and diminished care experiences. Optimizing the full potential of digitally enabled care requires a collaborative effort and the blueprint offered by the AMA outlines opportunities for physicians and other stakeholders to move in partnership toward improving the health of the nation.”

Dig Deeper

The AMA’s blueprint highlights six areas stakeholders should focus on when optimizing digitally enabled care.

The six areas relate to building care models for patients and clinicians, designing with a health equity lens, basing care on the relationship between patients and providers, improving payment channels to incentivize high-value care, eliminating fragmentation through technology, and scaling evidence-based models quickly.

Building for patients and clinicians refers to creating care models based on the needs of patients, providers, and other involved stakeholders. Designing with an equity lens relates to eliminating bias and launching efforts to reach marginalized communities. The recommendation to recenter care on the relationship between the patient and provider is based on the impact of this relationship on early detection and treatment of conditions.

Improving payment models can support the development of financially stable innovations, in the long run, using technology to reduce fragmentation can lead to improved coordination, and scaling evidence-based models quickly can lead to higher accuracy when determining its effectiveness, according to the report.

After establishing these six foundational pillars, the AMA also defined healthcare stakeholder opportunities.

The blueprint recommends that physicians add digital workflow tools to make care more efficient and direct more attention to technology design and implementation. It also notes that health plans evaluate the effectiveness of digital care models, improve payment equity, and simplify administrative burdens.

Further, the blueprint urges employers to create on-site virtual care environments, incentivize relationships with primary care providers (PCPs), and require information sharing with employees’ PCPs.

Policymakers can also help advance digital health processes by extending telehealth flexibilities, directing more attention to research funding, and improving interoperability.

Meanwhile, health technology companies can play a role by considering patient and provider input and easing provider workflows, and venture capital and private equity funds can plan investments in companies that embrace integration and direct more investments in companies focused on vulnerable populations, the report stated.

Similarly, in February, the AMA released a report that described recommendations for healthcare stakeholders as they work to strengthen behavioral health integration (BHI). In the report, the AMA detailed three goals that apply to advancing BHI efficiently.

The goals are defining opportunities and limitations associated with digital care methods, determining the best channels for combining BHI and telehealth, and representing the value related to the AMA’s Return on Health framework.