The Digital Age is upon us. Technology has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives, including our health. Accelerated exponentially by the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital transformation in healthcare is reimagining care delivery. At the onset of the pandemic, many providers and organizations found themselves in a care delivery predicament that necessitated a pivot towards telehealth and digital practice management solutions.
As we move past the public health emergency, it is becoming increasingly clear that digital health is here to stay. Trusted technology solutions that support high-quality, comprehensive care are needed to support the continued provision of healthcare services at home.
Like with many things, change can be hard. Your practice may be reluctant to embrace new technology, or perhaps you still hear hesitation from patients that have not yet adapted to the digital tools. Or maybe you and your team are excited about the benefits that tech solutions can offer in healthcare delivery and actively looking for innovative solutions. Regardless of which group you find yourself in, consider these 10 reasons when deciding whether or not to invest in a permanent digital health solution.
1. Empower, Educate, and Engage Patients at Home:
With most of the recovery process happening outside of the hospital and clinic, patients require tools to better understand their health conditions and stay on track with their treatment plan. Implementing a digital care planning solution can enhance patient access to pertinent, clinically validated information and interactive solutions.
Educate patients by providing them digital materials that inform them about their condition. Putting information at a patient’s fingertips is necessary to reduce barriers to adherence and improve accessibility.
Engage patients with interactive assessments, gamification, and other interesting digital tools to encourage them to actively participate in their healthcare plan. With knowledge and access comes empowerment. Remember the old saying, knowledge is power… well, the same is true for your patients. Armed with the right educational materials, you can empower your patients to make the best decisions for their health.
2. Provide Truly Continuous Care:
The traditional patient healthcare journey is fragmented and marked by regular (or often irregular) provider visits. The white space between these visits can contribute to fading care plan understanding, adherence, and declining health status. The lack of guidance and support can also contribute to unnecessary health complications, increased healthcare spending, and patient dissatisfaction.
Digital tools serve to connect the dots of the patient journey and establish continuity of care. You can facilitate continuous support for your patients by adding the right digital health solution.
3. Improve Patient Satisfaction:
In our last post, we reviewed what patient dissatisfaction can look like in medical practices. Research suggests that one of the main predictors of patient satisfaction is continuity of care. How can care be continuous when the patient spends most of their time away from the clinic, and your providers are already spread too thin? Digital solutions can fill the holes, facilitate the patient’s continuous connection to their care plan, and improve patient-provider communication.
4. Improve Communication:
There are very few problems that good communication cannot solve. Traditional patient-provider communication is highly inefficient for all parties involved. Historically, getting in touch with your doctor started with a call to the office wherein the front office staff answered the phone and transferred you to the medical assistant or nursing line, where you left a message. The nurse then needed to check with the provider regarding your inquiry, and when one of them had an opening, they called you back. Hopefully, you were able to take the call; otherwise, an inevitable game of phone tag ensued.
This challenging communication pattern can be enough to deter anyone from reaching out to their provider with pertinent information. Digital health solutions permit messaging that, in comparison, is substantially more efficient. Messaging features can reduce barriers to communication and allow for real-time escalation or changes to care plans to ensure that patients stay on track with their healthcare plan.
5. Improve Health Outcomes:
The enemy of superior health outcomes is treatment plan non-compliance. Even the best physicians can see poor results if their patients are not following through with their care plan and recommendations. Research shows that digital health solutions designed to improve patient engagement can improve compliance to treatment plans by as much as 70%.
6. Reduce ER visits, Readmissions, and Health Complications:
Reducing unnecessary health complications goes hand in hand with improving health outcomes. Using digital health solutions to fill in the healthcare gaps improves timely provider communication and action. Digital tools can also inform patients and encourage them to make better decisions for their health, reducing the need for emergent care.
7. Streamline Provider Workflows:
Healthcare providers are notoriously busy. It can be hard to provide the level of support and education their patients need on top of numerous other daily tasks. To do right by their patients, many providers find themselves searching multiple platforms and resources for the right information and working themselves to the point of burnout. In addition to their regular patient documentation, providers are also searching for clinically relevant information to inform their decision-making as well as appropriate educational materials for their patients. Without efficient communication infrastructure in place, many providers take extra time to print materials or send emails to patients to deliver on recommendations made during their visit.
What if a solution allowed providers to do all of these things in one place with fewer inefficiencies? With digital health solutions, that is a genuine possibility. Let technology work for you and reduce the inefficiencies of day-to-day workflows.
8. Reduce Operating Costs:
Implementing digital tools to streamline practice management is sure to provide a return on your investment. Practice management software can improve your practice’s operations, freeing up staff to focus on other tasks, reducing the overhead costs of day-to-day functioning. Digital solutions that facilitate appointment scheduling, appointment reminders, and post-appointment follow-up can also significantly reduce no-shows and cancellations, keeping patients on the schedule and money coming in.
9. Set Your Practice Apart:
With an increasing number of options for their healthcare, patients have gained significant power in choosing their providers. This means that, increasingly, healthcare providers have to find ways to set themselves apart from their competitors. Digital health tools can enable you to provide superior care and give your patients an experience above and beyond the care they can receive elsewhere.
10. Get Paid to Interact with Patients Virtually:
If the previous nine points were not quite enough to convince you to implement a digital health solution, what if I told you that you could also get paid to use digital tools for patient care? Of course, all providers want to provide the best care and experience for their patients, but we all know that the business bottom line is important to consider as well. Reimbursement for care allows providers to make the money necessary to keep their business running. The great news is that most insurances will reimburse for a variety of digital health services.
The Center for Medicare Services allows clinicians to bill for Telehealth, Virtual Visits, E-visits, and remote patient monitoring. This means that you can get paid not only for face-to-face virtual visits but also for digital communications and interactions with patient-reported data on a digital platform.
So What is Digital Health, Exactly?
Digital health tools come in many shapes and sizes. One of the best ways to decide which digital health solution your practice needs is to consider your current care delivery frustrations and workflow challenges. By identifying your practice’s current inefficiencies, you’ve established a basic list of features to inform your choice of a digital health solution.
Technology should work for you and help you fill gaps to improve both patient and provider experience. On a basic level, digital care solutions beyond EHR platforms can include telehealth technology, patient engagement platforms, practice management solutions, and clinical decision support. But what if you need features from more than one type of solution? Choosing a tech solution that is highly flexible and customizable is the best way to get all of the features you are looking for in one platform.
At Fitango Health, we have set out to provide a highly customizable continuous care technology. Our goal is to enable providers to deliver truly transformational care and set their services apart. If you are looking to implement a digital health solution but don’t quite know what features you need, we are happy to help! Request a consultation and let us show you how a custom digital health solution can drive innovation and allow you to enjoy all of the benefits listed above!