How Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Experience
By Thayer Tate
Patient expectations around the healthcare experience have evolved and expanded as Millennials and members of Generation Z play larger roles in the healthcare economy. Traditional healthcare models no longer work to deliver the levels of transparency and accessibility consumers now demand. At the same time, traditional patient care protocols are being transformed by mobile health services, wearable devices, and technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. As new routes open to improving patient health and outcomes, technology can play an important role in fostering innovation, supporting insight-driven healthcare and improving the overall patient experience.
This article explores key areas where healthcare technology and digital transformation are changing healthcare for the better.
Personalize the patient experience
How healthy are your patient relationships? There’s a chance some of your patients, especially younger ones, have experienced some level of frustration with traditional aspects of patient care. A recent survey showed 23% of Generation Z consumers and 13% of Millennial consumers were dissatisfied by the level of transparency about care.1 Between 18%-16% of these same groups also expressed dissatisfaction with the efficiency of operations like billing, scheduling, and administrative activities.2
Improving the patient experience begins with offering more customized patient outreach and meeting patients where they wish to interact, increasingly on digital channels. An example of this is making test results available online or via mobile devices and offering appointment scheduling, reminders, and confirmations via text or email. Healthcare technology tools can help streamline and better coordinate patient interactions within your practice. These tools offer a hybrid of clinical tracking and customer relationship management capabilities to enable more cohesive patient tracking and patient outreach functions. With technology, you can increase visibility into a patient’s interactions with your practice and use those insights to personalize patient outreach efforts and build deeper, more helpful relationships with your patients.
Prioritize transparency across the continuum of care
While transparency is important to the patient experience, it is a critical element of effective patient care that contributes to the patient’s overall well-being. Health technology goes a long way into improving transparency across the entire patient relationship. By enabling your practice to centralize and track both clinical interactions and patient outreach efforts, technology tools can support a more consistent patient conversation that reflects the most current health history available. Having a place to capture and organize electronic medical records and personal patient data can help your practice access a more comprehensive view of the patient from both a health perspective and from a customer relationship perspective. A more holistic patient view lays the foundation for higher levels of insight-driven healthcare which can improve patient health outcomes. Greater transparency and interconnectivity also simplify routine in patient activities, including appointments, referrals, prescription refills, test and lab results and business office tasks like billing and insurance.
Strengthen collaboration and the coordination of care
Your practice has the goal of delivering a patient-centered healthcare experience, yet disjointed systems, workflows and processes can make that goal difficult to realize on a day-to-day basis. A recent survey of healthcare organizations found 53% of those surveyed felt the care experience for patients was somewhat coordinated between the inpatient setting, post-acute setting and home environment.3 Care coordination plays a large role in supporting positive patient outcomes as well as controlling risks and costs. Many healthcare providers are working with multiple technology tools that don’t interface well or communicate efficiently. An effective healthcare technology platform can improve interoperability between systems and eliminate duplicative data entry and communication efforts. By centralizing patient records and creating a coordinated view of the patient and their care plan, health technology can help standardize approaches to patient care and increase the efficiencies of critical patient workflows. In practice, this is a one-stop tool where everyone interfacing with the patient, including the doctor, rehabilitation providers or social services workers can get a real-time view into the patient’s treatment, prognosis and adherence to the treatment plan. The team collaboratively works from those insights to monitor patient behaviors, like taking medications or frequency of physical therapy appointments, make decisions and inform future treatment plans.
Protect the health of your practice
You are in the business of providing excellent healthcare to your patients, yet you are also running a business. Balancing the business aspects of your practice with the best levels of patient care can become challenging and time-consuming. Healthcare technology can alleviate many of the business burdens by automating several routine business tasks and simplifying reporting. Many health technology platforms enable your business to gather intelligence around business metrics and performance. Consolidating key data points in one system creates a wealth of information that can be used across several functions from patient outreach and marketing, to billing and back office management, to auditing and compliance. For example, healthcare technology can help simplify and customize patient communications, enabling your practice to connect patients with relevant information on specific health topics, send reminders on preventative care or share promotions for discounts on specific services like a flu shot or dermatology injectable. Healthcare technology can create efficiencies that reduce the time you spend on business-related tasks, so you can dedicate more time and resources to focus on patient care.
- 1. and 2. Safavi, Kaveh and Kalis, Brian, “Today’s consumers reveal the future of healthcare,” https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/health/todays-consumers-reveal-future-healthcare, February 12, 2019
- NEJM Catalyst, https://catalyst.nejm.org/what-is-care-coordination/, January 1, 2018
Thayer TateChief Technology Officer
Thayer is the Chief Technology Officer at SOLTECH, bringing over 20 years of experience in technology and consulting to his role. Throughout his career, Thayer has focused on successfully implementing and delivering projects of all sizes. He began his journey in the technology industry with renowned consulting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, where he gained valuable insights into handling complex challenges faced by large enterprises and developed detailed implementation methodologies.
Thayer’s expertise expanded as he obtained his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and joined SOLTECH, an Atlanta-based technology firm specializing in custom software development, Technology Consulting and IT staffing. During his tenure at SOLTECH, Thayer honed his skills by managing the design and development of numerous projects, eventually assuming executive responsibility for leading the technical direction of SOLTECH’s software solutions.
As a thought leader and industry expert, Thayer writes articles on technology strategy and planning, software development, project implementation, and technology integration. Thayer’s aim is to empower readers with practical insights and actionable advice based on his extensive experience.