Since the early 2000s, patient consumerism has been on the rise. Today, more than ever before, patients are demanding instant access and in-depth information on their health status in real-time. With an increase in alternative care options, such as Urgent Care, telehealth/virtual appointments, and phone consultations, consumers are beginning to expect healthcare systems to operate as quickly and efficiently as ordering a product from Amazon.
Looking into 2020 and beyond, it will be vital for healthcare systems to adopt technologies that streamline and enhance productivity, connectivity, and engagement between patients, providers, and payers if they wish to remain competitive in today’s consumer-driven world.
Below are four tips for implementing digital transformation in healthcare.
1.) Survey the current landscape
With U.S. health spending expected to reach $6 trillion by 2027, healthcare systems need to be more strategic on where they invest their funds. For instance, in an age of innovation, it is more profitable to integrate existing technologies into a health organization’s system than to develop new solutions in-house. One question every organization should ask itself is, “where are the pain points and/or barriers within our healthcare ecosystem?” When asked, several healthcare systems expressed issues with sharing information among healthcare professionals, leveraging patient portals to effectively communicate and engage with patients as well as improving care coordination and channel-driven communication between patients and providers. Taking the time to survey and evaluate a health systems’ current processes and operations is a critical first step to effective digital transformation.
2.) Identify “the right” technology for the organization
Once a healthcare system has systematically identified its pain points and barriers to care, finding the appropriate technology to solve the problem is the next big challenge. For example, a recent study by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) identified six technologies that have profound impacts on both patient engagement and practice workflow. The study found that implementing technologies such as patient portals, automated appointment reminder systems, check-in technologies, telehealth, digital payment options, and data analytics can help strengthen patient-centered care models in health systems. As 2019 comes to a close, it has been reported that approximately 70 percent of healthcare leaders have already, or plan to, integrate these technologies into their organizations by the end of the year. In the highly competitive U.S.-based healthcare market, time is of the essence when it comes to pursuing digital transformation.
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