There’s no question awareness and use of connected health increased significantly during the pandemic. To a great extent, the experiences were positive for both patients and physicians and both groups see connected health as part of their future healthcare experiences.
- 73% of patients will continue to use telehealth based on their prior experiences.
- 77% of physicians believe telehealth has enabled them to deliver quality care (only 10% actually disagree). In addition, 55% say it has also improved their own work satisfaction.
More than half of patients say convenience and access to care are the most important factors in their healthcare decision making process. That’s always been a selling point for connected health, and the past year showed clearly that is can deliver on those expectations successfully.
But, tech-savvy patients have high expectations for any digital services they use, and the expectation is that digital healthcare experiences will be as robust and easy as online interactions with their banks or retail stores. It’s not surprising, then, that healthcare leaders overwhelmingly believe healthcare providers must elevate their patient relationships in order to compete for their business and to grow their connected health services.
Those relationships are built on positive experiences. As healthcare providers develop, implement, and expand their connected health programs, there are many factors they should consider in order to create positive healthcare engagements, both for patients and their own teams.
Making sure physicians and staff are up-to-speed and know how to use the tools to which they have access and how to create a great patient experience is one component. But there are several other technology-related factors to consider even before rolling out new technology and tools, which can impact physician and/or patient satisfaction.
Pick the right technology for your organization
It all starts with choosing the right solutions. Using technology, your IT team support can go a long way towards a successful connected health program. You’ll also want to make sure you partner with technology vendors who are also able to provide the level of support you may need. Consider future needs when choosing your connected health platform to maximize the value of your investment and allow growth and expansion of services. Integration with other healthcare applications and tools is also a consideration that can reduce IT complexity and drive efficiency.
Ease of Use is Important
Consider the patient side of the connected health experience. Some tools are easier to use than others and, while you may not always have an option, looking for simplicity can help increase patient satisfaction. For instance, more than a quarter of all patients (and 30% of those over the age of 55) say they don’t want to download any additional apps or software, and that factor will impact their willingness to continue using telehealth services in the future. Fortunately, web-enabled apps, patient portals, and video calling/conferencing solutions can make it easier for patients and providers to connect for virtual appointments and to exchange other important information. They also don’t require patients to regularly update their apps when changes are made – providers and patients will always be using the latest versions.
Security Must Be Top-of-Mind
With the number of data breaches reported each year, patients are understandably concerned about data privacy and security when it comes to digital interactions. Clearly, patients are aware of the potential risk, as almost half would avoid connected health in the future if their health data was compromised in a breach. Physicians, too, are concerned, and a third of them see security risks as a barrier to continued telehealth adoption. With patient loyalty and brand reputation on the line, ensuring the security of your connected health solution – in fact, your entire IT infrastructure – should be a top priority.
Workflow Integration is a Key to Efficiency
Connected health platforms can help increase patient access to care and deliver the convenience they are looking for. But, that’s only part of the ways they can help increase the quality of care. Integration with other systems and workflows can allow providers to automate many traditionally manual processes, expediting them and reducing effort required by physicians and staff. In some cases, it can also simplify patient interactions, too. For instance, even though physicians are using a variety of Remote Patient Monitoring devices, only 15% have solutions that feed patient data directly into patient portals or EHRs. In the majority of cases, patients are sharing data via phone/video, email, or a separate report. In addition to maximizing efficiency of remote patient monitoring solutions, integrating other processes like data entry, reminders, follow-up communications, scheduling and more into digital workflows can increase both patient and physician satisfaction.
The healthcare community is at a crossroads. Connected health has proven it can be implemented successfully to deliver high quality care. But, with traditional models once again available, it is incumbent on providers to deliver experiences that will motivate patients and physicians to continue using connected health technologies. Providing solutions that are accessible, easy to use, secure, and which drive engagement between providers and patients can help ensure connected healthcare continues the positive momentum it has gained. If patients enjoy their connected health experiences, they can feel they are in partnerships with their providers, which can empower them to be more active in their own health and wellness.
To learn more about how to create and deliver on an effective connected health strategy, connect with us here.