Connected health is no longer a secret. Over the course of the past 15 months, patients have learned about and used virtual care options to support their healthcare needs, and both patient and physicians agree connected health will remain a permanent part of the healthcare system
Even before the pandemic drove the healthcare community to embrace connected health, healthcare leaders saw it as a necessary part of their healthcare delivery strategies and anticipating increased investments in connected health by 2030.
- 74% said investment in connected health will be much higher
- 22% said investment on connected health will be slightly higher
- Only 4% didn’t predict an increase
In addition, by 2040, 54% of physicians thought that more than half of wellness and well-being care services will have shifted to virtual settings, and 42% said virtual model will account for more than half of outpatient services.
But, the events of the past year have accelerated digital transformation projects across most industries. In North America, digitization of customer interactions has been accelerated by three years, while the digitization of services has been accelerated by six years. Not surprisingly, given the increased adoption of telehealth, the healthcare industry’s increased adoption of digital products is much more significant than in many others industries, and 81% of healthcare executives say the pace of digital transformation in their organizations increased.
The advancement of digital health strategies notwithstanding, healthcare providers still have work to do to maximize the value and benefits of their connected health programs. According to clinical leaders within healthcare organizations, the top action items include:
- Additional investment in connected health (60%)
- Developing and implementing an enterprise-wide virtual health strategy (52%)
- Ensuring providers have access to tools and tech to help with diagnosis and exams in virtual settings (46%)
Having made a commitment to connected health solutions, providers have an opportunity to grow their patient bases and increase revenue opportunities. But, they need an action plan to make it work and turn an investment plan into a digital health reality that can benefit them and their patients.
Evaluate Your Connected Health Platform
Perhaps the most important element of successfully implementing and growing a connected health program is the connected health platform. Providers need a solution that will accommodate current needs as well as future expansion of their connected health services. That includes the ability to integrate with clinical devices and software, as well as other applications to support an end-to-end digital healthcare experience. Having the right connected health platform will drive providers’ ability to deliver quality patient outcomes in a digital world.
Identify Connected Health Target Population
Virtual visits, remote patient monitoring, and other connected health services won’t completely replace the need for in-person care, but it can enable better and more convenient care for many patients. Healthcare providers should evaluate their patient populations and identify those patients whose health or other conditions can benefit from the connected health services being offered. Promoting those services to patients who can benefit can quickly increase adoption and increase operational and cost efficiencies.
Analyze Connected Health Benefits
By understanding their patient population, providers can assess which connected health services should be most effective based on projected adoption and benefits to workflows, visit times, costs, and other variables. In addition, asking patients who are already using connected health services for feedback can help improve existing services and identify opportunities for new ones. Likewise, physicians and staff can also provide valuable feedback on what works and where improvement is needed to maximize value and benefits.
Promote Connected Health
It’s not enough just to install connected health solutions. Once the systems are in place, providers must promote them. This includes promoting them – especially to previously identified patient populations. That includes making sure physicians actively promote digital health opportunities to patients whose conditions and needs make them good candidates. It also means using other channels – email, phone, mail, website, patient portal, etc. – to communicate connected health options to patients. Using testimonials from patients who have had positive experiences can also help.
Evaluate New Opportunities
It’s never too early to develop strategies for new opportunities to maximize investments in connected health technologies. That includes expanding into new services or new patient populations, and new ways of communicating information through digital channels. But, it can also mean new ways of expanding service availability, such as expanding hours for virtual visits to accommodate more patients. While physician burnout continues to be a problem, the ability to adjust hours and consult patients from home offices could help relieve some of the strain, while allowing more patients to be treated at convenient hours.
Deliver a Modern Patient Experience
Patients are digitizing all aspects of their lives, and healthcare providers can create more meaningful relationships if they, too, modernize the entire patient experience. Delivering care using virtual models is one part of it. But, other related activities can also be moved into the digital domain, such as online scheduling, using text messages for reminders, and digital registration (either through online patient portals or tablets for in-person visits). In fact, even two years ago, 68% of patients said they were preferential towards providers who offered online scheduling, and 70% said the same about providers who sent reminders via text message or email.
There’s a lot that healthcare organizations should consider when investing in, implementing, and expanding their connected health services. It’s clear patients and physicians, by and large, are on board, but to truly gain the most value for everyone, providers have to plan carefully and, most of all, make sure they are investing in the best solutions for their connected health strategies.
To learn more about how to make the right connected health technology decisions, connect with us here.