ICYMI: 3 Health Care Trends That Took Center Stage at the 2022 HLTH Conference

Consumer-centric benefits, digital and virtual care, and more connection between behavioral, medical and pharmacy care was top of the agenda.

Last week, 8,500 people from the health care ecosystem attended the 2022 HLTH conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to accelerate innovation in the health care industry. Sessions and keynotes touched on important topics such as health tech, consumer engagement around wellness, behavioral health, and more.

Many of our Evernorth colleagues were in attendance on the show floor, on stage, and in the audience listening in to discover the biggest trends that arise from this annual gathering. Below, we look at the biggest takeaways from the 2022 HLTH conference.

Consumer-Centric Benefits Will Grow in Importance

Joan Harvey, president of care solutions at Evernorth, joined a panel discussion where she talked about Edelman's most recent Trust Barometer research, which found that 77% of people in the United States trust their employers more than they trust the government or the media. That, she said, is a huge opportunity for businesses.

Joan Harvey spoke to consumer-centric benefits at HLTH 2022

Harvey predicts a move toward consumer-centric benefits over the next few years. The reason is simple: "It is clear that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to health care," she said. "Every person has their own individual needs and preferences."

Today’s consumers are much more involved with their health care than in years past, and they have opinions and expectations of what their health care experience should look like. Getting it right will require employers to really get to know their employee base. Every employer has a unique set of employee data. Segmenting that data to build employee personas, then building out benefit plans custom-tailored for those personas, is a huge opportunity for employers in the next few years. This employee-first, data-driven approach to benefits can help businesses better meet the needs of their employees while continuing to build trust.

Health Care Is Ripe for Change, Improvement, and Innovation – With Digital and Virtual at the Helm

Seamless digital and virtual-first care experiences were at the top of the agenda at the three-day conference, said Matt Bennett, senior vice president of care delivery at Evernorth.  According to Bennett, digital is the “front door” to virtual care, and enables more real-time and convenient access to care for patients. At the same time, it allows health care players like Evernorth to unify and defragment the patient experience and data across the care continuum.

“The biggest takeaway from HLTH was that the future of health care is digital and virtual care,” Bennett said. “One of the HLTH panelists went as far as saying that five years from now, we’ll all have a care team we interact with – not just a physician – and that care team will be virtual. And we are seeing this in our own business. Our virtual care platform, MDLIVE, saw virtual primary care visits increase 300% last year alone.”

There were also a plethora of announcements at the HLTH 2022 event around how companies are innovating when it comes to virtual care. For its part, Evernorth announced virtual primary care for patients with chronic conditions through MDLIVE. The new program uses remote vital monitoring and real-time reporting to give doctors unparalleled insights into their patients’ health between appointments – forging lasting relationships between doctors and patients and allowing earlier interventions. This announcement builds on Evernorth’s value-based care model, which allows patients to move seamlessly between virtual, digital, and in-person physicians.

 “Among patients who had wellness screenings through MDLIVE’s primary care services, 68% were identified as having at least one chronic condition,” Bennett said. “We’ll continue to do our part in creating seamless, connected experiences to make it easier for people to access care and thereby improve their health outcomes.”

Innovation in the Behavioral Health Care Space Will Be Driven by a Need for More Connectedness

While health care has traditionally been slower than other industries to embrace emerging technology and solutions, 2023 will be a turning point for the industry, according to a panel of speakers at the HLTH conference. Among the panelists was Eva Borden, president of behavioral health at Evernorth.

a HLTH 2022 panel discussion on mental health

One of the biggest issues in the behavioral health space is the lack of connection to medical and pharmacy care, said Borden, which will be crucial to truly providing whole-person, holistic health care. Health tech start-ups will play a role in bringing this connection across behavioral, medical, and pharmacy care.

“Measuring behavioral health care, and connecting it to medical and pharmacy care, is going to help drive tremendous health outcomes,” Borden told attendees.  “There’s a lot of information that sits in very discreet places. But if we truly want to demonstrate that there is real value to be had [in behavioral health care] and prove it, it’s going to be about connecting that information for the provider, for the payer, and for the customer so that we can actually show true savings and impact.”