Growing pressures on healthcare providers

Many in healthcare have been anticipating change for some time. With advancements of technologies like machine learning and the entry of big tech companies like Amazon and Google, health system leaders have been carefully planning for the future. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, was the healthcare disruptor no one saw coming.

Becker’s recently hosted a virtual event that was focused on healthcare IT disruptors and innovators and the pandemic was a nearly constant topic. Many sessions had common themes:

  • Telehealth is here to stay
  • Technology isn’t the solution, but it is the medium for change
  • Virtual care and digital front doors must be the norm
  • Patients will require a frictionless experience from their healthcare provider

COVID-19 has accelerated digital health adoption

In a session titled, “Building Relationships and Enhancing the Patient Experience – Using Technology and Innovation as a Tool,” Aaron Martin, Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer at Providence shared some valuable insights for health systems. Martin emphasized how the pandemic has accelerated every initiative regarding digital health.

COVID-19 answered the question of whether patients were ready for virtual care – during the early shutdowns they had no other choice and they adapted quickly. Patients are now more confident they can use technology to connect to their physician and receive the care they need.

Martin recommended stepping outside of healthcare to really understand what is coming and what healthcare needs to be prepared for – think Amazon. Self-service will be essential for patients now – they want to choose when, where, and how they access healthcare. A digital front door is no longer a nice to have – it’s a must.

When asked about his key takeaway from COVID-19 and its impact on digital health, Martin shared a good news / bad news message. On the bright side, the crisis pushed a huge number of people to try telehealth and other remote technologies and they engaged and responded positively. The more challenging takeaway for health systems: you will be in danger of obsolescence without investing heavily in patient satisfaction and building a frictionless, self-service healthcare experience.

Technologies must improve patient experience, solve problems

Panelists in many of the sessions during this event agreed that healthcare must modernize. New adoption and development of innovative technologies are exciting, but also complex. Telehealth visits are not appropriate for every visit type, but they turned out to be an excellent tool for behavioral health visits where people in need of assistance may not feel comfortable seeking it outside their homes. Natural language processing systems could help address physician burnout by automatically documenting discussions during office visits, freeing up the physician to focus on the patient. Remote patient monitoring for chronic conditions like hypertension can only alert the care team when intervention is called for, limiting unnecessary resource use. These are just a few of the examples panelists shared to illustrate how technology fits into healthcare – it must solve a problem and improve the experience of the patient, the clinician or both. It must enable healthcare providers to do more with less in a safe way.

Every patient: connected, supported and reassured.

Twistle approaches patient activation in a similar way. Our patient engagement tools and care pathways are customized according to clinical workflows and patient preferences. The HIPAA-compliant communication functionality is bi-directional and asynchronous, so patients can engage how and when they would like to.

Healthcare providers are looking to retail or hospitality to better understand patient expectations and that’s what Twistle users get. If you have a surgery coming up, you need to know more than what to do the night before. Many patients want a personalized, digital step-by-step guide as they go through their experience, from how to prepare before surgery, what to expect afterwards, even where to park, and so much more.

COVID-19 has added an extra layer of uncertainty for patients and staff. As health systems face an uncertain future, focusing on the patient experience must be central to a successful strategy and Twistle is here to help. Learn more today.