Patients are consuming health care in new and different ways as the latest wave of transformation impacts the health care system. Artificial intelligence algorithms can diagnose diabetes based on a chest x-ray; real-time electrocardiograms or vital signs can be sent wirelessly to your physician from your watch; and your next hospitalization might take place in your own bed. Yet, making these new delivery models accessible is not so easy. Employers that rethink the design of their health benefits can enable employees and their families to optimize their care in a rapidly changing environment.

In the last three years, virtual clinical care has become more routine. Eighty two percent of US primary care physicians reported virtual visits in 2022, and 15% reported that more than a quarter of their visits were virtual. Virtual visits have improved access to mental health care, and mental health visits represented between 61% of total virtual visits in the South to 77% of total virtual visits in the Northeast. The technology available today is shaping how patients interact with health care providers and utilize needed care.

Wearable sensors allow patients to share more information with an ever-growing clinical team. For example, our phones can assess the stability of our gait and our clothing can now incorporate e-textiles to monitor temperature or other vitals. This allows clinical teams to offer real-time targeted outreach based on these data streams, whether it’s through a wearable EKG monitor, responsive skin sensors, sleep trackers, or our phones.

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