Where Does Health Happen?

April 9, 2021 Matt Cohlmia

If you were to ask someone in 1980 “where does banking happen?,” they probably would’ve stated the obvious. “At a bank.” Someone needing to withdraw cash was instructed to come to the bank. Someone needing to change their contact information was likewise told: come to the bank. Open an account? Come to the bank. Cash a check? Come to the bank. Deposit money? Come to the bank. The bank was the centralized hub and one stop-shop where consumers conveniently managed all their banking needs. Commercial banking’s newest innovation, the ATM, still required nearly all the same steps for the consumer — get in the car, fill out a deposit slip, maybe wait in line — but with the innovation of slightly more convenient locations and hours.

Fast forward to 2021 and many consumers rarely set foot in a bank. Some banks operate entirely without physical locations or ATMs. Yet today’s digitally enabled banking consumer is better served as a customer, and more connected with their financial health, than anyone in the world was in 1980. Now the answer to “where does banking happen?” has changed to “anywhere.”

The clinic office visit is the “come to the bank” of healthcare — the default instruction for most health needs. Whether it’s knee pain, a cold, a rash, managing a chronic condition, or any of a litany of non-urgent issues, the office visit is the one-stop shop for all healthcare needs. If the clinic visit is the bank branch of healthcare, video visits are the ATMs: slightly more convenient, but still requiring the same amount of patient and provider time.

We know, however, that the healthcare facility is not where health happens. Health really happens in the grocery store, at the gym, on the bus, and in the kitchens and bedrooms of our patients’ communities. If the healthcare system is going to transition away from being a “sick care” system, care must extend beyond the four walls of the clinic to become Distributed Care. That is, care delivered where and when health happens: the places, devices, and channels where it’s most accessible and relevant to patients.

As we build toward distributed models of care, soon the answer to the question “where does healthcare happen?” will be “everywhere and anywhere.” But how do health systems get from point A to point B?

In our most recent Digital Perspective Report: Where Does Health Happen-- I deep dive into the factors that are making distributed care a reality, the role of digital on this important trend and a vision for how it will impact patient care in the future. Download the report today in our Digital Innovation Group Resource Center to learn more. 



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