Doctor-patient relationships and healthcare delivery have traditionally centered around physical healthcare facilities like physicians’ offices and hospitals, with in-person exams serving as the primary source of medical information.
Of course, there are still many medical scenarios that require physical visits, including scans, blood draws, vaccinations, and more. But technology has advanced to the point where connected health is a reality and many healthcare interactions don’t require physical visits. Instead, digital tools can enable providers and patients to interact in virtual settings to deliver and receive care through real-time telehealth visits as well as other asynchronous interactions to exchange information.
In addition, digital healthcare creates a tremendous amount of data about patients, conditions, treatments, and trends, which can be leveraged to create a better and more efficient healthcare system.
Connected health tools, such as telehealth, can help increase the frequency of interactions between providers and patients. From virtual visits to patient portals to automated reminders and informational messages, connected health tools can make it easier for providers and physicians to interact and exchange information. By extending relationships and interactions beyond the office visit, healthcare can become an ongoing process that can help keep patients more engaged and healthier.
More often than not, patients don’t like waiting at doctors’ offices. In fact, 97% say they are frustrated with wait times. Almost a third of patients have walked out of offices due to long waits, and 20% have actually changed physicians. Telehealth appointments can alleviate at least some of these wait times and give patients the convenience they desire. This can also make it easier to schedule appointments and reduce frustration among patients. In addition, virtual appointments can allow patients to seek treatment for a variety of conditions, regardless of where specialists are located. By reducing geographic barriers, connected health can make it easier for patients to receive care by reducing the time and costs of office visits. It can also help differentiate patients who need in-office care for their conditions from those who can effectively manage their conditions on their own.
Connected health tools can give medical professionals an opportunity to consult colleagues regarding patient conditions and treatment, regardless of location. This can allow for better care coordination for patients suffering from multiple conditions and can help physicians get second opinions to help make more informed treatment recommendations for patients, ultimately creating an opportunity for better outcomes.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Chronic disease patients often need to provide regular health readings to providers to monitor treatment effectiveness. Remote patient monitoring programs can deliver this data directly to providers without requiring repeated office visits. Instead, remote patient monitoring devices record patient health statistics and transfer them directly into patient records – or they can be manually entered by patients, depending on the devices. Either way, providers are able to monitor patients more effectively through more frequent data points and use that data for more informed diagnoses and early interventions when needed.
Every digital interaction creates new data about patients and their health that can be anonymized and used by AI analytics tools to help generate more accurate diagnoses and patient-specific treatment options. AI-based analytics can also save time for physicians by generating reports faster, allowing doctors to spend more time treating patients – and less time running analyses and diagnosing conditions.
Digital healthcare tools can reduce administrative workloads for physicians and staff by automating many data entry, scheduling, and reporting tasks. This can free up more time for medical professionals to handle other patient concerns more efficiently, while reducing their manual workload and stress levels.
The efficiencies generated by connected health and increase access to healthcare services can also make in-office visits more efficient. With reduced administrative workloads and more patients leveraging telehealth, providers can more easily schedule in-office visits for patients who need them, getting them into the care cycle more quickly.
Connected health tools can increase the efficiency and flexibility in the healthcare system, increasing access to care and enabling providers to care for more patients without increasing the burden on staff or physicians. Implemented properly, it’s a winning proposition for both providers and patients.
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