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Dr Albert Tzeel on Technology's Role in Improving Collaborative Care

Digital technology has great potential to improve the communication between providers and members, said Albert Tzeel, MD, MHSA, FAAPL, regional medical director of senior products at Humana. However, there are also drawbacks that come alongside digital technology that Dr Tzeel said is worth considering.


 
Digital technology has great potential to improve the communication between providers and members, said Albert Tzeel, MD, MHSA, FAAPL, regional medical director of senior products at Humana. However, there are also drawbacks that come alongside digital technology that Dr Tzeel said is worth considering.

Transcript (slightly modified)

What is the role that digital technology can play to improve collaborative care?

I think digital technology, it can play a huge role. It’s a double edged sword in some respects and I’ll explain that in a second. But, it can play a huge role first of all by providing other aspects of communication between the physician who’s taking care of a member with diabetes and that member, whether it’s texting, whether it’s emailing, whether it’s telehealth in terms of not being able to get in to see a physician right away. So that certainly can help.

It can be a double edged sword though because if you have certain members, especially ones that may be older in my market, as I see in my market, they don’t necessarily have that technological savvy. We have a lot of folks that don’t have email, don’t have smartphones and so it becomes a little bit harder for them to kind of bridge that digital divide in terms of working with their docs. We have a lot of docs that may not be as technologically savvy. I mean some of them in our some of our more rural areas are just starting to get on electronic medical records now. But that being said, I’ll also add that all is not lost.

What we’ve seen is we work a lot of managerial service organizations in our market and there’s 1 particular group that their choice has decided that they don’t want to use electronic medical records, they don’t find the utility in it. But to their credit, they have great processes in place. They have great access in place. They’ll see people pretty much anytime, anywhere, any day, avoid ER utilization, and really take care of people and are quite accessible. And having that good access, even with their paper charts and their paper records, their HEDIS scores and their star scores are higher than the other MSO’s that are much more technologically savvy.

Digital technology is definitely a way to address diabetes and the issues involved there, but there’s a lot of different ways to make an impact on a member’s life. 

 
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