Despite an aging population that increases the burden on healthcare systems, it may actually be an ideal time for this to be happening, considering the advances in technology that can help offset the increased demand.  Better care and the ability for the healthcare industry to handle more patients will be driven by information.

There is a lot of patient data that can help drive better outcomes in many ways, but doctors need access to it in order to deliver better outcomes.  From the first interaction, information exchange plays a role in ensuring patients receive care from the best healthcare professionals – those that are best suited for each patient, condition, or question.

Patient Prioritization

Certainly, telehealth visits that enable patients to see doctors more conveniently and extend doctors’ geographic reach to be able to serve patients outside their traditional footprints.  But, digital consultations can also help reduce the burden on physicians by reducing the number of in-person visits.  Research has shown that more than half of patients were able to forego office visits thanks to their telehealth visits.  In addition, using nurses and other staff to pre-screen virtual visits can further reduce the burden on physicians and by identifying patients whose needs can be addressed by other professionals, including nurses or pharmacists, instead of a physician.

Patient Information Access

Digital natives are quickly becoming the dominant healthcare influencers.  Millennials are already the largest population group in the workforce, making them the largest group responsible for their own care decisions.  But, they are also having an increasing role in healthcare decisions for their aging non-tech-savvy parents, making connected health a higher priority for both population groups.  The problem, despite the fact that EHRs have been part of the care environment for more than a decade, is that more than half of patients say their medical history is missing or incomplete when visiting physicians.  Doctors, too, are frustrated:  Half agree access to patient data access need improvement and 70% say it isn’t easy to find out where patients have received care, making it harder to coordinate effective care.  Connected health platforms help drive better data collection, access, and exchange, ensuring all necessary physicians can deliver the best possible care.

Patient Engagement and Retention

Digitally savvy patients and family members are also active users of mobile apps, self-service portals, and other tech-centric tools that drive engagement between them and brands – and of course, messaging has become their preferred engagement channel.  It’s not surprising, then, that 93% of patients want to be able to leverage digital technologies that increase patient-doctor engagement, including activities like virtual care, online scheduling and payment, pricing transparency, and more, and three-quarters would pick a virtual visit over an in-office appointment.  Perhaps more importantly, connected health will drive patient retention going forward, especially as Millennials become parents themselves and have care obligations for as many as three generations of family members.  In fact, 88% of patients younger than 40 say a strong digital presence will drive their choice of healthcare providers.

There are many ways connected health will continue to drive better patient outcomes, but one the most important factors is its ability to relieve a growing burden on the healthcare system and individual practitioners.

To learn more about how connected health solutions can benefit your practices, visit us here.

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