The healthcare industry has been experiencing a revolution, thanks to advances in technology that are ushering in a new era of digital healthcare. With increased use of new connected health solutions and devices, artificial intelligence, analytics, and communications tools, healthcare providers have an opportunity to enhance care delivery driven by increased efficiency, seamless integration of technologies and systems, and automation.
The past year has shown how useful many connected health tools can be, as the global pandemic forced the adoption of telehealth services. While that has provided good momentum for connected health, additional long-term value can come from the automation of many healthcare processes, supporting new models of care and helping to promote better outcomes.
While virtual visits are changing how, where, and when patient can have appointments with medical professionals, automation can take connected health to a new level, adding additional operational, financial, and clinical efficiency to the healthcare process. Automation is already being used in a number of ways to help improve healthcare delivery:
- Scheduling, including reminders and changes
- Billing processes
- Patient data collection
- Data transfer and analytics
- Updating EHRs
- Medication/treatment management
- Patient follow-up and other communications
Using automation in these and other areas of the healthcare process can help increase operational efficiency and allow providers to build more effective practice models.
Using automation, physicians and staff can quickly be alerted when patients appear to deviate from their treatment plans. Data analytics engines supported by a growing amount of patient data can also help healthcare providers make better and more informed decisions regarding treatment plans to help drive positive outcomes. Patient data can also be shared with multiple physicians who may be collaborating on patient treatment. Automating data delivery can not only help ensure all relevant data is made available, but that it is done securely using appropriate channels. Ultimately, with automating analytics and data communication tasks, physicians are able to focus on spending more time treating patients.
Physician burnout continues to be an issue. In fact, 78% of physicians surveyed say they experience at least some symptoms of burnout, which can impact both patients and practices.
- Doctors may cut back on their hours, which gives them less time to spend with each patient
- They may leave practices seeking better arrangements, or retire altogether
- Burnout can result in medical errors, putting patient health and safety at risk
A top contributor to physician burnout is having to deal with too many bureaucratic tasks, such as paperwork and charting. It can also include things like scheduling and other non-clinical tasks. Connected health solutions can enable automation of many of these administrative tasks, which helps to create more timely communications and data delivery, increase accuracy by reducing human error, and give physicians and staff more time to spend with patients, while also hopefully reducing burnout.
Better Patient Relationships
While there are those across various industries who fear automation can erode the human element that is critical to good relationships, the truth is, it can actually have the opposite effect by deepening relationships by enabling more meaningful interactions and creating better patient-physician relationships. Not only can automation help reduce administrative effort and allow more time to be spent interacting directly with patients, but connected health tools themselves support increased engagement, helping create better health outcomes.
- Remote patient monitoring solutions can automate data delivery to providers and generate automated alerts when intervention may be required, assisting providers to engage more quickly with patients.
- Patient portals can support various communications channels, whichever is most convenient for patients, and can enable patients to view and append necessary information at almost any time or to make or change appointments. Having access to information and tools can encourage patients to be more engaged in their own health and wellness.
- Automated scheduling and reminders can help ensure patients are seeing their doctors regularly – whether in-person or remotely and help reduce missed appointments. That can help providers maximize their clinical time by not having empty appointment times, while regular appointments can help patients stay more engaged in their own care.
- Automated analytics can support not only RPM patients but can help increase the speed and accuracy with which physicians can diagnose patient conditions and help them create better treatment plans.
The journey to automation requires a commitment from healthcare providers. It starts with a solid strategy and roadmap but using the right connected health platform – one that can integrate with other healthcare applications, equipment, and communications tools and can support a providers’ connected health vision. In order to create a successful connected health program, having a platform that is able to integrate into existing and future technologies is important.
To learn more about how the right connected health platform can integrate into your existing infrastructure to support high quality connected health services, visit us here.