The Future of Health: Insights from HLTH 2023

hlth image

Earlier this month, healthcare professionals from across the globe converged in Las Vegas for the annual HLTH conference. The event highlights the conversations shaping the future of healthcare delivery, technology, and policy. Through panels on virtual care, health equity, data integrity and interoperability, the patient and caregiver experience, and digital innovation, leaders across the healthcare continuum shared their challenges and insights. Modea sent three of our own to learn from the best and brightest minds in the industry.

As healthcare digital product consultants with a mission to improve the healthcare experience, Modea attended HLTH to learn comprehensively about the digital healthcare landscape. In a conference with 10,000+ healthcare industry peers, who all on some level share our mission, there was no shortage of inspiration. We learned about new technologies that enable better virtual care, opportunities to improve interoperability and, as a result, both the patient and provider experiences, and innovative use cases of generative AI. We’re eager to bring this inspiration forward into our product development work as we partner with our clients to better serve their customers.

In this blog post, we’ll cover our top takeaways from HLTH, and we’ll summarize how you might bring these insights into your consumer-facing product development practices.

Investing in the Entire Caregiving Experience is Crucial

The caregiver experience often remains an afterthought. However, caregivers tend to carry substantial purchasing power in healthcare, and therefore, caregiver satisfaction strongly predicts loyalty. Caregivers, like patients, will switch providers based on a poor or inefficient experience – digital and otherwise.

So how can payers and providers elevate the caregiver experience? Solutions that provide consolidated, thorough family health records, centralized scheduling, care coordination, and resources to ease the complex balancing act of caregiving are table stakes. Measurement is also important. Just as health systems measure patient experience from a clinical standpoint, measuring the wraparound care experience for patients and caregivers will help identify successes and opportunities. For instance, health systems might consider facilitating surveys to better understand the caregiver experience. Monitoring call volume metrics can also be an indicator of caregiver experience; reduced calls can indicate that caregivers are able to accomplish tasks via virtual self-service. 

Another consideration here is that women are more likely than men to be their family caregivers (a statistic that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic). Furthermore, the administrative burden of caregiving falls disproportionately on women of color. As such, reducing the caregiver burden is not only important from a patient/caregiver loyalty perspective, but from an equity perspective, as well. By reducing caregiver burden for women (and women of color), health systems can enable these caregivers to have more time for work, addressing their own healthcare needs, and more.

How to Apply this to Your Product Development Work: Caregiver User Research

From research through design, development, and testing, product development to serve patient populations often starts with a deep study of the patient journey. However, we could all do more to understand not only the patient or patient-family journey (in the case of children’s hospitals), but the experience of any caregiver engaged in that patient’s care: whether it is a parent, a spouse, a child, or otherwise. By better assessing the caregiver journey, their challenges, their desires, and their experience, product teams can more intentionally build products that not only drive efficiencies and improve the quality of the patient experience, but do the same for caregivers. ROI matters, and investing in products that improve the caregiver experience will ultimately help you provide more care to more people.

Leveraging Tech to Strengthen Patient-Provider Relationships

Virtual care promises convenience but threatens to jeopardize the human relationships at the heart of healthcare. Still, virtual care is necessary for improving access to care. Successfully scaling virtual medicine requires technology that augments trust and rapport between patients and providers.

We learned about several technologies aiming to strengthen the patient-provider relationship, and in doing so, improve the care experience. For instance, leveraging universal patient identifiers can help patients and providers consolidate health records to give providers fuller context about a patient’s history. (Imagine the alternative experience, which many of us have ourselves experienced, when a provider knows nothing of your health history and may provide inadequate care as a result.) AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants allow care teams to efficiently handle routine administrative tasks, freeing up provider time to interact on a human-level with patients. It’s important to remember, however, that solutions must enhance, not replace, human connection. 

How to Apply this to Your Product Development Work: Keep Tracking AI Use Cases

On a recent webinar, we heard the quote, “we’re in the flip phone era of AI.” What does that mean? Think of how far cellphones have come since the introduction of the flip phone, which was innovative for its time, in 1996. We are at the beginning of the era of AI innovation, and at this point, it’s hard to predict how this technology will evolve. What we do know is that from accelerating drug discovery to optimizing hospital operations, AI will shape the next generation of healthcare. Healthcare product teams will need to keep their fingers on the AI pulse, tracking trends and new use cases, and continually learning how to apply or integrate AI capabilities into consumer-facing healthcare products. AI and other digital, emerging trends underscore the value of agile product development. The more agile your product team, the more iterative the products you’ll build. As AI innovation accelerates, building products that can evolve with the technology will be paramount.

Community Health and Prevention

“Health is mostly not about healthcare,” declared Dr. Larry Moss, CEO of Nemours Children’s Health. Put in other terms, health mostly happens outside of the walls of a hospital or clinic. Education, nutrition, housing, and other social determinants drive the lion’s share of health outcomes. (Addressing social determinants of health was a big theme at the ViVE conference earlier this year.)

At HLTH, there was a lot of focus on solutions that address health outside of healthcare. For instance, Instacart Health’s Food as medicine program, which will now provide access to Medicare Advantage members, as well as the broader Well at HLTH exhibit, both underscore the emphasis of nutrition – and equitable access to nutritious foods – on health outcomes. 

The transition from treatment to prevention is tied to the transition to value-based payment models, which has been sluggish. Digital health companies can assist by providing platforms and tools to help providers succeed under new value-based incentives, such as patient engagement solutions to drive prevention and treatment adherence, tools that keep patients actively involved in their care, and further upstream community-level interventions.

Paying providers for services that proactively maintain health, rather than rewarding volume of treatments, also holds promise; progress on value-based payment models will require more buy-in and collaboration from payers and employers. Prevailing incentives simply aren’t structured to reward preventative medicine. Investment in community health and addressing root causes, not just symptoms, remains imperative.

How to Apply this to Your Product Development Work: Personal and Community-Level Journeys

The tools patients use to manage their health will continue evolving, both at the personal and community level. As you establish and evaluate your organization’s strategies and goals for the consumer digital experience, having an understanding of these new characteristics of and solutions for the patient journey will help you assess the potential impact of product development initiatives. For instance, you might want to consider not only how your patients are interacting with care within the four walls of the health system and via your digital experience, but outside of those places, too. What are they facing in their community that may impact their health outcomes? Do they have access to healthy food and pharmacies? How might your digital tools help level the playing field for members of your patient population with different personal or community-level experiences? 

A Focus on Whole Person Health

Historically, care delivery has zeroed in on isolated conditions and episodes. But momentum is building around “whole person health,” which considers the complete physical, mental, and social needs of patients. Whole person health represents a societal shift as much as a clinical one as patients themselves can drive more of their care and health outcomes. 

We heard from innovators changing the face of at-home diagnostics, advancing stress and fitness tracking, and focusing on underlying, root causes of conditions. Importantly, none of these innovations can exist in a vacuum. For “whole person health” solutions to take root, they must integrate with existing care pathways, whether that means connecting to patient health records, appointment scheduling, or treatment plans.

How to Apply this to Your Product Development Work: Rethink the Meaning of Omni-Channel

Whole person health takes omni-channel patient experience one step further. Historically at Modea, we have talked about omni-channel care to the extent that it enables a seamless transition between the digital and analog points of the care journey. To include whole person health solutions, omni-channel must also account for all that the patient is doing outside of traditional care delivery settings (virtual or analog). What is the patient managing in their own time, on their own devices? How will these personalized health solutions integrate with the products you are building for their patients? Product teams that are paying attention to the whole person will be able to better serve the needs of the whole patient

In Summary

In the case of HLTH, what happened in Las Vegas will not stay in Las Vegas. Rather, it will carry implications for years to come. Along with 10,000+ of our industry peers last week, we learned about the innovations and frictions that will shape the future of healthcare. We hope that the insights and applications we shared through this article will help inspire you to think differently about your product development processes, whether in how you study your users, how you test your products, or how you build products that will adapt and evolve with new technologies. 

Here at Modea, as consultants helping our clients shape the digital healthcare experience, we are eager to carry these learnings forward into our work. Get in touch with us if you want to learn more about how we can apply these industry trends to day-to-day product development for your organization.

Improving Staff Well-Being and Retention Through Digital Solutions

image of a digital health tool and icons that represent different functions of health services

The state of the U.S. healthcare system and the increased demand placed on employees are contributing to a high number of health workers experiencing burnout and leaving their jobs. This trend stems from increasing mental wellness challenges as health workers are put in environments that strain their emotional, psychological, and physical health on a daily basis. 

image of nurse experiencing burnout while surrounded by piles of paperwork

What exactly is “burnout” and how does it affect a hospital? 

According to the 2022 U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Building a Thriving Health Workforce, burnout is characterized by a high degree of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (feeling “out of body”), as well as a low sense of personal accomplishment at work. Burnout can also be associated with anxiety and depression, and can be caused by organizational, structural, cultural, and societal factors. 

In healthcare, specifically, some major contributors to burnout – especially in the last few years, though these have always existed to some degree – include excessive workloads, long shifts, administrative burdens, and a lack of organizational support. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that U.S. healthcare organizations will need to fill more than 203,000 nursing positions every year until 2031. There is also a predicted shortage of physicians and behavioral healthcare providers. The growth in the US population and the aging population are two identifiable causes to the physician and behavioral healthcare provider shortage. A shortage of general surgeons in rural areas is also a problem. Because specialists are often not as geographically close to rural communities, rural residents’ access to care can be compromised. 

To help providers address issues, such as physician burnout and staff shortages, healthcare organizations need to consider short- and long-term solutions that will set them up for success. Many of those solutions come in the form of digital tools. 

The Power of Digital Tools 

As hospitals continue to deal with the realities of physician burnout, more and more patients need better and more equitable access to care. Utilizing the right tools can make the management of care easier for both the patient and provider. 

While there is no single solution that will alleviate all of the issues healthcare faces today, we boiled it down to several digital initiatives we feel are most noteworthy to discuss.

1. Interoperability Across Technology Systems 

interoperability across technology systems which helps with worker burnout

Healthcare systems are adopting new technologies that aim to create significant service enhancements. An EHR system is a great example of a digital tool that aims to alleviate fragmentation of care, but properly introducing it to your organization, or managing a current one, is no small task. As new technologies are added to different departments in health systems, many of these technologies don’t speak to each other, which can cause frustration and even create more work for staff. 

A 2021 study found that healthcare workers’ frustration and emotional exhaustion increased due to the lack of interoperability and cross-functionality in using new technologies. Having a strategy to ensure collaboration and synergy between staff and new digital tools is key in improving services, access to care, and staff workload.

Working towards better interoperability can alleviate some of the difficulties surrounding operations. Interoperability allows health data to be exchanged between different systems and, therefore, creates a better and more streamlined health information ecosystem, which can effectively lessen the strain on those using and accessing the data. Digitizing and automating services through third-party vendors or within the existing EHR system is also beneficial as it relieves health workers from completing mundane and repetitive administrative work. (Note: any initiatives dealing with the sharing of patient data will mean heavy involvement from your organization’s IT security and compliance stakeholders.)

Where to start: Modea recommends departments, such as marketing and IT, come together and audit the current technologies as well as the needs of the organization. Have you thought about creating journey maps for your staff? Consider how different members of your staff use various technologies and identify areas in their journeys that are complex and burdensome. 

We have worked with clients to create customer journey maps, as well as internal staff journey maps, so reach out to us if you would like to talk more in depth on this topic. 

2. Investing in Intranets For Staff and Providers   

investing in intranets for staff and providers which helps employee retention

An intranet is a private network within an organization and is used to securely share information and resources amongst employees. It encourages communication and allows employees to easily access important training, forms, and applications. An often overlooked digital tool in healthcare, an intranet, serves as a valuable tool and a facilitator in communication and employee engagement

Interestingly, engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave an organization than those disengaged. Intranets also have social and collaborative features such as comments, direct messaging, and document sharing. These features allow for seamless communication and sharing of information across departments, which can allow staff to work more efficiently and be more engaged. 

Where to start: Most healthcare organizations have some sort of intranet in place, but they are often the last digital asset to receive any updates or improvements. We recommend creating a survey for all employees to contribute feedback on how they use the existing intranet and the improvements they would like to see. Users may use intranets for different reasons, so segmenting your audiences can create better tailored experiences. Maintaining anonymity can allow staff to be candid on the daily challenges they face when using the system and then work to gain organizational alignment on the importance of using that data to make changes. With burnout increasing amongst healthcare workers, having the right internal resources is as important as external patient-facing digital tools. 

3. Open Scheduling and Online Visits

split image of a virtual appointment and an in-person appointment which helps staff shortages

On average, virtual appointments can save time for patients and providers by 105 fewer minutes than in-person care, as virtual care removes the need to travel to a doctor’s office and wait in a waiting room for periods of time. However, healthcare organizations can be slow to adapt and create the right digital tools to schedule and facilitate online visits. Offering open scheduling, which lets patients make same-day appointments, can reduce the stress healthcare workers face when trying to squeeze a patient in for the earliest available appointment. 

Embracing a hybrid care model will have positive impacts upstream as patients will have easier access to the care they need, regardless of their location and circumstances. If your organization takes a “consumer first” approach to digital and provides the ability for a patient to search and find the right doctor for their condition, it will help lift the staff burden from fielding unnecessary calls and inquiries while allowing them to focus on other important tasks. 

Patients expect to receive care that is best for them, whether virtual or in-person. A hybrid care model offers flexibility for patients and providers. 

Where to start: Modea recommends beginning with organizational alignment on the approach to online scheduling and a hybrid care model. The most common barrier is open scheduling and provider reluctance to implement this due to less control over their schedules. 

4. Enable a Self-Service Patient Experience 

self-service patient experience using a healthcare website which boosts engagement

The information provided on a healthcare website may help patients determine whether they need care based on their symptoms, as the right online information may save patients from making unnecessary appointments or seeing the wrong provider. Empowering patient self-service lessens health workers’ time and work spent on scheduling and attending to low-value appointments. Open scheduling is another form of patient self-service. Valuing your healthcare staff’s time by offering patient-focused, less burdensome solutions empowers both healthcare workers and patients in their care. 

Studies have shown that the U.S. healthcare system provides a high number of low-value care, which is defined as medical services that have the potential for harm or high cost, and generally outweigh the benefits. Low-value care can be wasteful and often lead to overtesting, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment. It has a staggering estimated cost of more than $300 billion annually

Wasted resources, time, and the administrative work that come with unnecessary or low-value care appointments can be mitigated by providing educational resources about conditions and health management on your clinic or hospital’s website. Not only is it beneficial for a health organization’s site to provide valuable resources and the right information to online users because it is educational and helps improve their care journey, but it also builds trust and authority in the organization. Websites can play a critical role in addressing and solving unmet healthcare needs.

Where to start: We recommend working internally to align on how to think of your website not as “just a website” but as a digital asset and tool that is critical to how you provide care to your patients. Consumers and patients today can access care from almost anywhere in the world and while self-service is not a traditional means of health management, more and more hospitals are introducing it. Customer research can help illustrate to stakeholders and leadership what your patients really want and how they prefer to access their care, which will further solidify the importance of making these digital investments. 

5. Embrace Mobile For All Audiences 

consumers access their care with mobile and boost engagement

Consider your mobile strategy. Having a well-thought-out mobile app that delivers a seamless experience provides another way for patients to trust your organization and access their care on a device most Americans already own. 

Developing a mobile app that innovates how consumers access their care and enhances a healthcare organization’s digital footprint offers a personalized and customized experience unique to that organization and patient, which builds a stronger relationship with your brand. Mobile health apps are designed to complement in-person and online patient experiences and are another tool that improve the patient journey. Even with complex EHR systems, such as EPIC and Cerner, there are still ways to personalize the experience and build a proprietary app that your organization owns. It is key to maintain interoperability and unified data so the systems talk to each other. Doing so reduces additional work for healthcare staff. 

Building an internal mobile app for your healthcare staff is also a way to facilitate and streamline communication to health system employees – many of whom spend their days moving throughout a hospital. An internal mobile app can be the hub of all your employees’ needs. It can offer visibility into benefits and payroll information, the ability to submit and review IT help desk tickets, quick access to company messages and news, targeted employee communications, and can even house nurse schedule management.

To fully reap the benefits of your digital investment, educating patients and staff on how to use the apps will support self-service and increase engagement.  

Where to start:  Research your competitors to see what they are offering and the digital experience they deliver to their patients. Modea can help with the planning around building a native mobile app, or modifying what you have, and the reasons to support various approaches. We have extensive experience in mobile apps for healthcare and can help guide your organization to the perfect mobile asset. Whether building tools for internal or patient-facing purposes, don’t forget about the importance and convenience of mobile.

In Conclusion

Healthcare systems are becoming increasingly complex and, with the introduction of emerging technologies, are feeling constant pressure from customers – both patients and internal – to elevate their digital tools and experience. To help mitigate healthcare burnout and unify communication between patients and providers, healthcare systems should collaborate and partner with specialized technology consultants to facilitate a smooth digital transformation journey

Thinking about how your company needs to digitally transform? Modea can help you strategize and utilize the right tools for you. 

Modea Wins Digital Healthcare Spring 2022 Awards

We are proud to announce that Modea has been recently awarded a variety of accolades for designing and building dynamic websites and mobile applications for our clients. These recent awards stand as a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in the landscape of digital solutions.

At Modea, we distinguish ourselves by employing industry-leading best practices, ensuring that each project is a showcase of creativity, functionality, and effectiveness. Our dedicated team consistently goes above and beyond to understand the unique goals and needs of our clients, tailoring our strategies to deliver unparalleled results.

Our recent spring and summer awards include:

Keck Medicine of USC

Ballad Health


  • Digital Health Awards – Silver
  • Web Excellence Awards

Children’s Wisconsin 

  • Digital Health Awards – Bronze
  • Web Excellence Awards

Luminis Health

Modea Makes “Best Places to Work” List

Virginia Business announced its 12th annual “Best Places to Work” list, honoring small to large-sized employers for creating inviting cultures and inclusive work environments for their employees.

We’re happy to announce that our team made the list for the “small employer” category. As an industry-leading digital healthcare consultancy, we’re honored to receive this accolade. 

Modea team

Why we made the list

Making this list is an example of how our leadership is committed to our values in every aspect of our work, from how we show up for our fellow Modeans, to the work we deliver for our clients. Every day our team works hard bringing innovation to our industry while maintaining a culture of inclusion and belonging, where diverse perspectives are encouraged and embraced.

Here are a few examples of how Modea goes above and beyond for our team:

  • Additional PTO to relax and enjoy life.
  • Additional paid sick time off to use for oneself or helping family members.
  • Monthly, educational zoom calls with top healthcare execs, industry experts in diversity, etc. 
  • A diversity and inclusion committee to ensure all employees are treated fairly.

In addition, we heavily invest in our employees’ careers at the company.

Every Modean receives an annual career development budget which is used for training, education, and conferences. They also take part in ongoing monthly career development chats with a supervisor to ensure every Modean is developing their skills and interests in unison with Modea’s goals.

We hire amazing people representing diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and lived experiences. However, in unity, there is an underlying thread that connects us all.

Modeans live and breathe our core values:

  • Be consultative
  • Look out for each other
  • Build strong relationships

If these resonate with you, consider applying for one of our open positions today!

To learn more, read Virginia Business’s 12th annual “Best Places to Work” announcement.

Modea Makes Inc. 5000 List

On August 18th our team made the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for 2021! Winning this award is a “hallmark of entrepreneurial success” and a sign of Modea’s continued success.

Being part of the Inc. 5000 list places us among a distinguished group of companies that have demonstrated exceptional growth, innovation, and entrepreneurial prowess. It is indeed a hallmark of entrepreneurial success, acknowledging our dedication to pushing boundaries and achieving outstanding results.

This recognition aligns us with an illustrious roster of previous winners, including industry giants such as Pandora, 7 Eleven, and The association with these renowned names underscores the caliber of companies that have thrived through strategic vision, adaptability, and a commitment to delivering excellence.

I’m thrilled that Modea was selected as a member of the 2021 Inc. 5000 list. I’m so proud of our team and their ability to make an impact on the healthcare industry, especially during such a historic and difficult time.” 

Chris Riegger, COO of Modea

Now in 2023, Modea has won over 135 awards for its work launching digital healthcare products such as websites, mobile apps, and custom software for some of the best healthcare providers in the nation. This award, in particular, holds special significance for us as it resonates with our core mission of delivering exceptional value to our clients. Each accolade represents not just a recognition of our efforts but a testament to the tangible impact our digital solutions have had on transforming the healthcare landscape.

See the full Inc. 5000 list here.

Modea 2020 Awards Recap

In partnership with our clients, we are proud to announce that Modea was awarded a variety of digital marketing accolades for designing and building exceptional websites and mobile applications during 2020.

This year has been anything but normal, so we are especially happy to be able to share this good news with our amazing clients and colleagues across the healthcare industry. Our team continues to work hard to maintain high-quality standards and develop and design consumer-focused experiences through a constantly changing digital landscape.

Modea’s 2020 digital healthcare marketing awards include:

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System


  • Website – Best Practices – Gold
  • Website – Best Home Page – Gold
  • Website – Health Care Services – Gold


  • Website – Best Home Page – Gold

eHealthcare Leadership Awards

  • Best Internet Home Page – Silver

Healthcare Ad Awards

  • Website – Merit

Universal Health Services


  • Mobile Sites & Apps – Best User Experience – Silver
  • Mobile Sites & Apps – Best Visual Design – Aesthetic – Gold
  • Mobile Sites & Apps – Best Practices – Gold
  • Mobile Sites & Apps – Best User Interface – Silver
  • Mobile Sites & Apps – Best Use of GPS/Location Technology – Gold
  • Mobile Sites & Apps – Health & Wellness – Gold


  • Mobile App/Sites – Best use of GPS/Location Technology – Silver
  • Mobile App/Sites – Best Visual Design Aesthetic – Silver
  • Mobile App/Sites – Best Visual Design – Function – Silver

Carilion Clinic Orthopedics


  • Website – Healthcare & Health Services – Silver
  • Website – Best Practices – Gold
  • Website – Best Visual Appeal – Experience – Silver


  • Website – Best User Experience – Silver
  • Website – Best Visual Appeal – Aesthetics – Silver
  • Website – Best Practices – Silver

eHealthcare Leadership Awards

  • Best Site Design – Silver