Successful Health System Motives in Direct to Consumer

Interactive Breakout

April 14, 2019 | 1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. CDT

Most providers are looking to implement DTC telehealth programs, however struggle to find the appropriate implementation strategies. Focusing on traditional measurements of ROI derails health systems from implementing DTC services as insurance coverage and increased patient volumes are considerably the wrong reasons for entering the DTC space.

Presenters will demonstrate how disruptive innovation plays a role in the success of DTC solutions. A study from NEJM Catalyst labels low insurance coverage rates as the number one barrier to preventing widespread adoption of technology tools for patient engagement. As this may be a concern for traditional telehealth, DTC is not one in the same. This is where health systems are failing in the DTC marketplace – in treating DTC as legacy telehealth.

Health systems need to look at the consumer’s needs and demands as the primary motivation for implementing DTC solutions. DTC care is about extending provider accessibility, while meeting the convenience patients want – not technically about practicing medicine. Speakers will cite a RAND study to demonstrate that traditional ROI calculations will not showcase surface success in DTC solutions. The article shows that “12% of DTC telehealth visits replaced visits to other providers, and 88% represented new utilization.” On the surface, these findings are negative as new utilization traditionally equates to greater costs. However, health systems need to think about DTC solutions differently. Think about DTC as you would a managed diabetic patient population. Pharmacy spending for this population goes up and if this is all that was looked at, the managed diabetic population would be seen as an increased cost. However, when looking at the bigger picture, total medical spending of a well-managed diabetic population drastically lowers. This is how health systems need to think about DTC – it’s about delighting and engaging patients to convert them longitudinally.


  • Nate Gladwell, Clinical Operations Officer, University of Utah Health