5 Ways Healthcare Technology is Reimagining Patient Care
We live in a world where technology facilitates nearly everything. At home, we ask Google to turn off the lights or wake up the kids for school. On the way to work, we ask Siri to place our favorite to-go coffee order. Every day, we organize and run our lives through a range of devices and services that are all connected, from smart TVs and wearables to streaming and virtual assistants.
It’s only natural for patients to expect the same accessible, seamless, and connected experience throughout their healthcare journey. The innovations, advances, and healthcare technology trends over the past few decades have made that expectation a reality.
Through networking, augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual collaboration, healthcare technology companies are transforming – and improving – the ways clinicians perform their jobs, patients receive care, and payers manage population health.
These five healthcare technology benefits show how digital innovation is changing the healthcare industry for the better.
Automate Manual Tasks
Nurses and doctors don’t pursue a career in healthcare to fill out charts; they want to help people. Administrative burdens and manual tasks are some of the key drivers of burnout among healthcare professionals.
But a recent survey of registered nurses in U.S. hospitals found that many day-to-day processes are still largely manual. Of those surveyed, 42% said updating paperwork was highly burdensome, and 42% cited orchestrating patient discharges as a challenge. At the same time, staff shortages are amplifying the need to automate as many manual processes as possible.
AI and automation can help eliminate or accelerate paperwork, so doctors and nurses can focus on patient care. Automation can also simplify and speed otherwise-cumbersome utilization management (UM) processes, from request to intake to review to determination to notification, as well as appeals and reporting.
Transforming manual tasks into fully configurable, clinically integrated, and highly automated workflows eases the administrative burden, so more time can be spent on member healthcare services.
At VirtualHealth, one of our own clients found their care teams were up to 85% more productive by harnessing the power of automation and AI to streamline workflows, generate and assign tasks in a care plan, and eliminate manual processes.
Treat Patients According to Personalized Health Preferences and Needs
Virtual care has skyrocketed over the past few years, enabling patients greater access to care and the ability to play a more active role in their healthcare journey. While the telehealth trends that flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic may have been driven primarily by a lack of access due to lockdowns, digitally enabled care encompasses much more than just access. It allows for the seamless integration of in-person and remote care, based on patient preferences and clinical appropriateness.
Here’s one example. For patients dealing with an after-hours, non-emergency issue, behavioral health treatment, or chronic condition management, telehealth is a more affordable, more accessible way to get the care they need. However, for an older patient or one with complex needs, digitally enabled care opens opportunities to make in-person appointments via a patient portal or to ask their care manager to arrange transportation to an appointment.
With numerous virtual care options, from online channels to wearables, patients have more control over their health and clinicians have multiple ways to monitor and manage the well-being of their patients.
Enable Virtual Collaboration Across the Entire Care Team
In the past, it was difficult for care teams to track all pertinent patient information, such as current interventions, specialty or third-party reports, social needs data, and care plan history. This is one of the reasons the industry transition to value-based care has been gradual.
Healthcare technology plays a critical role in value-based care. Essentially, value-based care models are dependent on connectivity, data-sharing, and coordination of a care team. Greater connectivity directly results in:
- Drastic reductions in hospital readmissions
- More frequent preventative care (ultimately boosting patient outcomes)
- Automation of manual tasks, such as appointment scheduling, record reviews or transfers, and medication refills
From real-time data capture and automated alerts to task assignments and care plan collaboration, intuitive care management platforms empower everyone involved in patient care with timely insights and connected resources. While specialists, primary care providers, and care managers are not physically together, each care team member can fully understand a patient’s condition and intervene as necessary.
Virtual care collaboration improves outcomes by breaking down silos, reduces costs by minimizing avoidable events, and allows care managers to more easily navigate the healthcare system and community resources. Through efficient, connected technology, payers, providers, community organizations, and patients come together to enable a better overall experience for all.
Boost Patient Engagement and Satisfaction
Scheduling appointments. Reading articles on chronic condition management. Refilling prescriptions. These are all activities that payers (and providers) want their members to do in order to take an active role in their own care plan.
And patients want to assume that role – but they want to do it online. Digital health engagement is no longer a nice-to-have. According to a recent McKinsey survey, more than 60% of consumers expect to be able to change or schedule a healthcare appointment online.
Whether that means scheduling through a patient portal or responding to a text from a care manager, digital capabilities increase the likelihood of engagement. And appointment scheduling is only one piece of engagement. The integration of digital capabilities across several areas – from remote patient monitoring to self-service preventative screenings – is improving patient experiences all across the health journey.
Improve Overall Health Outcomes Using Predictive Analytics
What if providers and care teams could predict potential (and costly) patient issues – and prevent them before they occur? Through the power of AI and predictive analytics, they can.
Because non-clinical factors can determine up to 80% of a person’s health outcomes, predictive analytics platforms that integrate social determinants with clinical data can more accurately predict the need for intervention or engagement.
This allows providers and care managers to proactively identify and mitigate the barriers to better health. Advanced technologies can alert care managers when members may need access to local food banks, help applying for financial aid, child care assistance, or support navigating health systems and resources.
Predictive analytics can also help to improve transitions of care. From admission to discharge to the home, technologies can use patient data in tandem with historical data about related patient care needs to predict potential issues – providing clinical and care teams with the intelligence they need to drive better outcomes.
If your organization is interested in tapping into the potential of healthcare technologies to improve the quality of care and/or population health outcomes, start by checking out the capabilities of HELIOS®.