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The growing workforce crisis has disrupted the healthcare landscape, but changing models of care and advances in technology hold promise for reshaping the field.

Nearly 1,000 healthcare leaders and changemakers recently gathered at Aspen Ideas: Health, part of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival, to explore healthcare’s biggest challenges and debate possible solutions. An AHA panel on “The Hospital of the Future: Transforming Care Delivery,” explored how to turn ideas into action and create pathways to better health for all.

Here are three ideas that stood out

1 | Patients are reaching your digital front door sooner than you think.

Many hospitals and healthcare systems have increased their focus on the digital front door – a term that encompasses the various digital ways a patient can access care. Efforts are underway in many organizations to enable and facilitate online appointment scheduling or other information that helps direct patients to the right care at the right time.

While these are significant improvements that expand access and increase convenience, three-quarters of all people seek health information on the internet before entering the healthcare system, said Karen DeSalvo , MD, Google Health Director.

The most successful healthcare providers recognize the opportunity to move patients from “Dr. Google” to the appropriate care site seamlessly.

2 | Embrace the robots.

Robotics in healthcare has been around for decades, but the next generation of robots and cobots, or collaborative robots, on display at the festival have shown great promise in solving problems facing patients and clinicians.

Pepper, a robot developed in a lab at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD), helps elderly patients engage socially and cognitively. Arshia Khan, professor of computer science at UMD, and her students programmed the robot to serve as a personal care assistant for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Pepper loves a good conversation and even tells jokes – a major request among residents of the nursing home where she was first tested. The robot is equipped with camera sensors that allow it to detect a patient’s facial expressions, tone of voice and physical movements. He is programmed to guide patients through reminiscence therapy and can teach yoga and tai chi.

ChrisitianaCare pilots a cobot called Moxi that works alongside nurses to take on tasks that can be automated, like fetching supplies. Designed by two robotics experts from Diligent Robotics, Moxi is the first robot in production that uses artificial intelligence and continuously adapts to changes in hospital workflows by learning from the humans it interacts with. After just seven weeks, the two Moxis deployed at ChristianaCare have saved nurses approximately 600 hours of labor, said Janice Nevin, MD, MPH, president and CEO.

While the deployment of robots to assist patients or staff is in its infancy, use cases illustrate the possibility of augmenting overburdened healthcare staff while freeing up humans to practice at the peak of their abilities. licenses.

3 | Replace transactional care with longitudinal relationships.

Current health care delivery models are “fundamentally designed to capture the failures of chronic care,” said Omar Lateef, DO, president and CEO, Rush and Rush University Medical Center, during a panel convened by the AHA on the future of healthcare delivery. Instead, care should be reimbursed based on outcomes and prevention of chronic disease exacerbation.

To achieve this model of care, clinicians – and the entire ecosystem around them – would first focus on human-to-human relationships over time, not “visits”. Technology could support and enhance these relationships, but above all, the patient-provider relationship must be valued.

Through these relationships – and aided by technology – patients could better navigate the resources available to address the social determinants that have a greater impact on their overall health than clinical care.