By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Technology is changing the traditional healthcare landscape, creating a need to adapt.
The traditional healthcare model is based on face-to-face encounters between patients and care providers in care facilities where dated or aging collection tools are used to diagnose and treat illnesses. That model, driven by the explosion of new healthcare technologies, is about to be radically changed.
As the emphasis in healthcare is increasingly on patient satisfaction ratings and the shift from pay-for-service to value-based payment models, healthcare organizations are increasingly leveraging technology to optimize their systems. Technological advances from point of care, infrastructure/data center, telehealth, security, and services all help ensure the success of your healthcare organization.
Verizon Enterprise Solutions has forecasted that predictive analytics, cloud services and connected devices will be the key technology trends to watch in 2015, and healthcare can leverage those trends, especially as it relates to the evolving patient-centric care models.
With the virtual explosion of ratings systems and information available through online and social media sources, healthcare providers are under increasing pressure to track and ensure positive encounters with their patients.
A 2014 JAMA survey found at least a quarter of patients checked a physician’s online reviews before a visit to review or research their doctors. Patients are increasingly researching their healthcare providers on sites like Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com or RateMDs.com in much the same manner as they would a new appliance or vehicle.
And methods of access are constantly widening. Healthcare providers are also being challenged by expanding telehealth options and retail clinics such as Walgreens’ telehealth option via a mobile app, and CVS’ MinuteClinics.
“People are demanding health care to react similarly to other service industries, where people have a need and they want it relatively easy,” Nancy Gagliano, a primary care physician and chief medical officer for CVS Health’s MinuteClinic explained. “The traditional health care system really is not adequate to support the need.”
These new trends mean that traditional healthcare systems need to be responsive to the changing landscape of their prospective patients. Connected medical devices, when employed properly, can provide care providers with data to track and modify treatments of chronic or severe conditions, reducing the number of patient office visits while improving patient outcomes.
Healthcare can also take lessons from other industries by importing best practices such as adopting RFID bracelets, using data analytics to understand current and potential patients, using online media to create a competitive edge, improving quality and safety of patient transport, and introducing risk-based contracts, or performance-based pay, in order to create quality performance incentives for physician pay.