They say necessity is the mother of invention. While the healthcare industry has evolved over the years, it hasn’t yet reached the point of hyper connectivity that could truly change the entire healthcare delivery system. In fact, for many people, the healthcare experience hadn’t changed much before 2020, when connected health took center stage out of necessity and drove people to leverage connected health services for many of their healthcare needs.
With that, the sentiment around connected health is changing as patients and healthcare providers both gain awareness and appreciation for the benefits of connected health and, perhaps more importantly, enjoy those benefits through firsthand experience. Not only are patients happy with their experiences, they are also expecting to continue using connected health services in the future:
- Patients are very satisfied with their telehealth experiences (79%)
- Patients also say their physicians were thorough during their telehealth sessions (81%)
- Quality of communication between physicians and patients is good using connected health (83%)
- Patient will continue to seek care through connected health (73%)
It’s not just patients, though. Physicians have also increased their support of connected health and point to several key areas of patient care they believe will benefit from connected health going forward.
- Chronic disease management (73%)
- Medical management (64%)
- Care coordination (60%)
- Preventative care (53)
- Hospital or ED follow-up (48%)
It’s clear that the telehealth experience has been positive and is expected to continue to support individual patients’ needs. But, its value extends deeper into the healthcare system by creating opportunities for better results and improved satisfaction.
Using connected health solutions, physicians can communicate more effectively with patients and can support better health decisions and create better healthcare journeys. But, beyond individual patient needs, the broader adoption of connected health – and a truly connected healthcare ecosystem – can drive improvements in the healthcare system at large, supported by new data sources, analytics capabilities, and communications strategies.
Connected health can take geography out of the picture and enable healthcare anywhere. As opposed to always having to physically go to a physician’s office or other healthcare facility, patients can seek treatment or consultation through connected health services. With connected health, the care delivery space can be expanded from traditional locations to anywhere patients or physicians can connect – homes, offices, hotel rooms, even cars. It means patients can have access to care when and where it’s most convenient for them, physicians can treat patients more efficiently and, in general, the healthcare ecosystem can become more agile in its ability to react quickly and effectively to patient needs. That includes freeing up more in-person appointments or emergency departments capacity for patients who require in-person care.
Because connected health solutions can support data delivery directly from patient and provider devices into EHRs and larger databases, human data entry error can be minimized. That can help physicians create more effective treatment plans based on accurate data. Using AI to support data and imaging analysis, physicians can also make faster and more accurate diagnoses. Physicians can also leverage larger aggregate data sets and AI-based analytics to drive data-driven healthcare decisions that can be faster and more effective.
The volume of health data created by wearable health devices, other remote patient monitoring devices, patient-provided data, and other sources, give healthcare providers and medical researchers a tremendous resource for better understanding health trends, individual conditions and diseases, risk factors, and effective treatments. With this information, providers can better understand when and why individual patients or larger population groups might be susceptible to any number or conditions, from hereditary conditions to chronic diseases to socially spread viruses. The same data can also help drive broader population health initiatives to support preventative health measures in larger population groups.
Patient and Physician Satisfaction
A connected healthcare ecosystem that drives efficiency and positive outcomes can increase patient and provider satisfaction. From automated patient communication to increased care access to better health outcomes, patients can benefit from the connected tools, systems, and data in a connected health environment. Physicians, too, can enjoy greater job satisfaction from spending less time on administrative work and poring over data, and having more time to spend actually interacting with and treating patients. The added benefit of being able to treat patients from alternate locations can also positively impact physicians’ work-life balance and general satisfaction.
Growth and Innovation
One of the major benefits to the healthcare industry at large is the massive amount of data generated by connected health systems. This data can be used to drive innovative care and treatment options, to better understand medical conditions and trends that could help researchers develop new treatments for conditions. As connected health adoption continues to grow, new tools, devices, sensors, and use cases will continue to emerge that can drive even more data-driven innovation, ultimately leading to a healthier society overall.
The healthcare industry, which has struggled to overcome inefficiencies for years, is suddenly changing rapidly. It is shifting its model from a traditional in-person model to embrace virtual care options and data-driven outcomes. While the initial driver may have been survival, the benefits patients and providers have realized have been documented and represent an opportunity to create a new digital healthcare system that combines the best of aspects of traditional care with digital health technologies to create new opportunities to build a better healthcare environment.
To learn more about how connected health can support new care models and better outcomes, connect with us here.