Providers, clinical staff, and office managers have spent a lot of time this year discussing and adapting to a new way of providing care (and for patients, a new way of receiving that care). A lot of the focus has been around telemedicine, which provides patients and providers with a convenient option when in-person visits are not feasible or not safe. COVID-19 forced many providers to start using these technologies in ways they were not before, and the end result was likely better care for patients.
The rapid transformation was a shock to the collective healthcare system, though, and now it’s time to start thinking about what is next for healthcare innovation—what changes from COVID-19 might become permanent, and how future innovations are shaping up to change healthcare even more down the road.
One of the things that the COVID-19 panic exposed was how woefully inadequate the current healthcare regulations were in terms of shifting care toward technology. CMS quickly removed many of its rules and requirements for telemedicine and telehealth, and while they may reinstate some of them, the pandemic made it clear that regulatory agencies need to be clearing the way for better care using technology, not throwing up more roadblocks. It’s likely they will reevaluate some of the existing protocols for creating rules around high-tech care, which could pave the way for faster and easier technology adoption in the future.
Population Health & Data Coordination
Another thing that COVID-19 highlighted is the need for coordinated data and coordinate care at a national and state level. Many national, state, and local healthcare providers and officials were looking for better ways to track hotspots and find out if their own populations were at higher risk. While a COVID-19 type of event is hopefully rare, it’s important to have robust data systems that can help healthcare officials track and manage disease on a larger scale. In addition, the importance of interoperability and coordination among healthcare providers is essential, and sharing data about population health is central to that effort.
More and more of our information is stored in the cloud, and when it comes to practice management software, this is an essential shift. Not only do cloud-based software systems allow for great access by staff members, they can also reduce your bottom line because individual clinics don’t need to hire a full IT staff and manage their own servers. While it might seem counterintuitive, practice management software, EHR, medical billing software, and other critical components of the system based in the cloud are often more secure, as long as you’re working with a vendor that prioritizes data security.
In part two of this blog post, we’ll discuss a few more innovations in healthcare that are improving the ability to care for patients and grow your practice. In the meantime, schedule a demo with AdvancedMD to see how our cloud-based technology can help you embrace innovation in medicine and prepare for the future.