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What’s the Future of Digital Health? Here’s the Word From South by Southwest

By Staff | March 25, 2019 | Rally Health

The young couple recently had their third baby, and with three kids under the age of 4, it’s generally a crazy scene at their house. So when one of the youngsters had some symptoms — Was it a cold? The flu? Something worse? — what a relief to use telemedicine for advice, instead of having to go to the ER or urgent care.

“I really feel like that’s the wave of the future,” Katie Couric told the sold-out crowd at South by Southwest, where she moderated the “Future of Digital Health” panel, featuring Rally President and COO David Ko. (You can listen to the session here.)

Absolutely, agreed the other panelists, Sarah Martin of BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina and Delta’s Vickie Strickland. Whether it’s called virtual visits or telemedicine, being able to get medical advice without leaving your home has all kinds of helpful applications.

Katie Couric with Rally's David Ko, and panelists Sarah Martin and Vickie Strickland

“We call ours Virtual Health,” said Martin. “What’s really exciting about this is, it’s not just your acute (health) issues, but getting behavioral health counseling, especially in rural areas where access is an issue. We’re passionate about it.

“The other thing we’ve looked at is lactation consulting,” continued Martin.”New mothers who maybe wouldn’t have access to breast-feeding support now have that virtually, in the comfort of their own home. We see this as very much the new frontier of health care.”

At Delta, virtual visits and telemedicine are particularly helpful for flight crews, who are often on layovers when they get sick.

“It’s easy and convenient,” said Strickland, and best of all, “they don’t end up in an ER by accident with very large out of pocket costs. I have a 13-year-old, and anytime he’s sick, he  says,‘Mom, I just want to see that doctor on your iPad. I don’t want to go to a doctor’s office, let’s just do that.’ He’s already trained. Virtual is just going to be common for someone like him.”

Of course, while technology is great, it can create some noise, too, said Strickland. “It has to be easy, accessible, and personal, so people will want to use it.”

Exactly, said Ko, who announced Rally’s next generation consumer digital platform during the festival. The new platform allows users to access their employee benefits, health, and well-being programs in a single, comprehensive experience.

“In the future we see a lot of opportunities for simplification, and creating more of a hub experience,” said Ko. “We started by looking at the well-being space, moved to benefits enrollment, and then search and cost transparency. We’re putting that all together where it can be multipayer, so it’s easier for the end user.”

To showcase how Rally® is the lens that helps people understand their health care, we transformed a boathouse cafe on Austin’s Lady Bird Lake into an interactive experience filled with eye-catching, Instagrammable installations, complete with balloons, swirling mobiles, music, and exhibits. No wonder it landed on this “10 Coolest Interactive Parties” list.

Welcome to the Rally House!
Taking a break at the Rally House at South by Southwest

True to our mission, the Rally House offered SXSW participants a chance to step away from the busy convention to refresh and refuel, whether it was taking a break in an outdoor hammock, sipping cold-pressed fruit juice, or enjoying yoga or circuit training classes. Rally Health Ambassador Maria Menounos was also on hand to help get our message across.

“We care about helping people get healthy, and making it simple,” Menounos told the ABC Austin affiliate KVUE. “My main message is to have people focus on their health, and make it a priority in their lives.”

Or, as Couric put it, “Anything you can do to make health care less scary, a little more fun, and a little more understandable is a step in the right direction.”

Rally® is the only truly integrated health care platform that unites benefits, wellness, medical care, and rewards in a single, intuitive experience. It is the proven choice implemented by more than 200,000 employers, including 47 percent of the Fortune 500. If you’d like to learn more about how to simplify heath care, contact rallysales@rallyhealth.com.

Staff
Rally Health