In part 1 of this blog post we looked at some of the challenges that healthcare faces in adopting new technologies, as well as the dangers of not investing enough time and effort into a digital transformation. Now we’ll examine two areas that every healthcare system and provider’s office should be implementing today.
#1 – Connect Patients and Providers
Providers need ways to connect with patients, and the old model of having your patient come to the clinic every time they need to talk to a provider will not hold up in a digital age where patients demand more convenient access to care.
Video and audio platforms allow providers to see patients who may not be able to make it into a doctor’s office. This technology also allows providers to check in with patients periodically to manage chronic health conditions, or triage potential illness to determine if someone needs to see a doctor in person.
Web-based portals that store information and give patients real-time access to health records, online bill pay, and direct messaging with providers.
Electronic prescription refills
Give patients access to request medication refills at any time; providers and staff can approve medication refills without any phone calls or phone tag between provider, patient, or pharmacy.
Wearable medical devices
Fitness trackers, heart rate sensors, blood sugar monitors, and oximeters can provide patients and providers real-time information about a person’s health, rather than a single data point from an annual physical or lab test.
#2 – Operational Tools
While patient care and connection are important, there is an operational side to running a clinic. This is another area where the right technology can streamline workflows, giving patients a more seamless experience.
Give your patients the flexibility to schedule their own visits for acute care, preventive check-ups, annual visits, and more. This reduces the staff you need to take calls and provides more convenience to patients who can schedule anytime from anywhere.
A simple text or email reminder reduces no-show appointments, allowing you to improve scheduling and anticipate staffing needs.
SMS text messaging
Clinics that implement two-way text messaging often find that it significantly reduces phone calls and unnecessary appointments.
Digital intake forms
Providing patients a way to check-in online before they arrive and fill out forms, which means less time sitting in your waiting room, and less staff time transferring information from paper forms to your EHR.
Other Technological Advances
While we didn’t cover the topics of big data, AI, and data security here, those are also critical areas where healthcare facilities and providers need to be aware of the technology and how it can benefit a practice. Predictive modeling for better preventive care through big data, AI that identifies and alerts providers to potential risks or errors, and data encryption through things like blockchain, are also essential to keep up in a technology-driven world.