The Dichotomy of a Digital Revolution
Technology has transformed many aspects of the way we do business, interact with society and live our lives. It's no wonder then, that technology is what many experts believe will revolutionize healthcare. In fact, there's clear evidence that this is already happening.
A critical component to "fixing" healthcare lies in reducing costs. Each year, our country spends approximately 18% of its GDP on healthcare and that number is projected to grow in coming years. What technology brings to the table is a massive opportunity to digitize much of the "business" of healthcare to create better, more cost-effective methods of delivering quality service.
As with most things, the benefits of technological advances can come with unforeseen consequences. We see how our society and consumer behavior has changed with the advancement of smart phones and the mobile capabilities these devices bring us. With that convenience, we now have hacking and security issues to battle.
So while there's no doubt that a digital revolution will bring healthcare light years ahead of where it is now, the solution is not as simple as making health records electronic, or creating patient portals to manage appointment scheduling. New rules, regulations and incentives are forcing healthcare stakeholders to revise their approach to the way business is done. And that approach should take into account both the pros and cons of technological change.
Making Digital Interaction Personal
Digital health information is at the core of the future vision for healthcare. Electronic Health Records and TeleMedicine are technological efforts that digitally bring healthcare direct to the patient. The good news is, these initiatives encourage patient engagement, create efficient methods for the provider to deliver and manage services and make data more available and accessible. But hanging in the balance are the cultural changes derived from this approach to medicine and care. Creating a system that brings data to the patient and provider's fingertips really changes the interaction of the encounter. Keeping the personal aspect is important, but perhaps even more so is creating a system that truly makes the patient's life easier. Accessing clinical information and scheduling appts online is convenient, but even more helpful is having the option to submit payments, or arrange to receive reminders for the services scheduled, as an example.
Price Transparency, Up-Front Collections & Creating a Caring Culture
Consumerism in healthcare has shifted more accountability and expense management to the patient. Consequently, patients are "shopping healthcare" and carefully choosing services and providers based on a number of factors. Following the fundamentals of retail, providers are trying to do a better job of presenting accurate costs and collecting fees at time of service. A sound approach for improving the revenue cycle, but potentially counter-productive for those patients who aren't "shopping" or electing to have a service or procedure. Considering that there are just as many, if not more patients that are reacting to unforeseen circumstances and unprepared or simply unable to afford them, equal focus should be given to creating financing options and payment plans. The policies and procedures of a healthcare organization can either exacerbate affordability issues, or offer solutions and services to alleviate the stress of financial burden. A caring culture reflects an organizations commitment to serving the needs of all it's members, including different segments of an expanding patient population.
The systems that a provider organization uses to interact, engage and serve patients is a reflection of the quality of their service. Replacing some human interaction with modern technology can deliver an exceptional experience when the systems are designed to deliver true value. Physicians and Hospitals are realizing that patient engagement happens when every stakeholder and accessory, including staff, software and vendor partners, are all engaged to work well together as an efficient system.
with user-centric features that can integrate at varying levels with Electronic Health Record and Patient Portal applications. Our systems can