Remember sitting idle in a waiting room for up to an hour before your name was finally called to hear the long-awaited “the doctor will see you now”? With improved workflows and a greater emphasis on customer service and quality, the lag has now been somewhat alleviated. Urgent Care now provides extended hours, convenience care within your local Target or Walmart allows you to attend to your shopping list while getting a case of pink eye or that stubborn cough diagnosed and remedied by a medical provider.
What else has changed? Technology has changed the way we do things in our everyday lives; healthcare is no different.
Healthcare Status Update
Healthcare is a complex industry:
2. Continued regulatory changes
3. The complexity of co-pays, deductibles
4. Financial impact payer mix has on healthcare organizations
5. Ability to predict future legislation and its outcome on healthcare
6. A shift in how to access healthcare
These obstacles, if not realities, make it difficult for healthcare providers and patients alike to navigate through. Within these complexities comes to a desire for change by the patient, provider and payer — and technology fuels this fire.
When it comes to cost, the U.S. far outpaces every other nation in healthcare spending. In 2017, the US spent 17.9% Gross Domestic Product at $3.5 trillion a year. The goal remains to drive this cost down. This fragmented system has been reformed, manipulated, and scrutinized for years, trying to arrive at a solution that best addresses cost-effectiveness and sustainability.
Meanwhile, technology continues to innovate itself impacting several industries to include healthcare. While the debate continues how we pay for retiring Baby Boomers as they exit the workforce, medical technology is hitting innovation in every direction. This shift, in part, impacts how we view and deliver healthcare.
A more Patient-Centered approach has taken a front seat.
Changing the Patient Experience
A recent article from George Washington University regarding the future of healthcare notes, “Cultural shifts, cost of care and policy adjustments have contributed to a more patient-empowered shift in care over the last century. Technological advancements contribute to a shift in our patient-centered healthcare system.”
One of these advancements is through tele-health/”virtual care.” Patients are now able to direct questions by way of a web portal, giving them access to providers for specific or overall wellness concerns. This has improved patient access and satisfaction while reducing cost. Patients are now empowered to view their appointment notes, test results and even request a prescription refill.
Other MedTech advancements helping patients are:
• Virtual Reality Tools
• Wearable Biometric Devices
• Artificial Intelligence
• Implementation of 5G
• Radio-frequency Identification
• Health and Telemedicine Apps
Giving Doctors an Opportunity to Be Back with Patients
A 2016 study published in Health Affairs Journal estimated that an average-size medical practice spends 785.2 hours ($40,069 per physician, $15.4 billion per year aggregate) reporting on quality measures. Whether it’s regulations, billing complexities or searching medical records, there’s plenty that keeps physicians away from treating patients.
Today, technological advancements can directly help medical staff, providers & physicians with these issues.
Software has been developed to integrate electronic health records (EHR). Providers now spend less time behind a computer screen and more time in front of their patients. These machine learning technologies can read a patient’s records, and in a matter of seconds determine the correct diagnosis along with address the primary complaint and apply all the correct codes with 95% accuracy.
Looking Ahead to the Future
Technology will continue to fuel innovation to play a more significant role within the healthcare industry. If healthcare continues to act as a marketplace for people to choose their plans, patient-centered care should drive better outcomes and diminish cost.
If you’re planning for your organization’s future and would like to discuss further, please contact Versique’s Healthcare Leadership Search Practice today.
If your healthcare organization is looking for top talent in the market today, contact us!