By Florin Cornianu
Healthcare is ripe for disruption – and yet, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are lagging behind in implementing digital strategies. Only 7% of companies in both sectors have gone digital, compared to 15% of businesses in other industries. But the pressure is growing; patients are now increasingly demanding digital solutions. In fact, 62% of them expect their providers to already be offering online appointment booking.
But it’s not only that: Digital transformation can help achieve greater operational transparency, increased patient satisfaction, and better healthcare overall. By making use of mainstream products and services in a way that optimizes their operations, medical institutions can digitize themselves while inspiring confidence and trust. As data is in the center of all this, how can we make the best of it?
Identify the best data management solution
In order to step towards digital transformation with the right foot, healthcare institutions must first unify their data collection and management strategies. Potential ambiguities create obstacles for smooth processes and present direct threats to data security. Therefore, while replacing traditional paper forms with a comprehensive digital solution is a must, it must be approached diligently. Healthcare providers must clearly identify how to collect patient data, how to manage, store, and protect it in ways that best fit their operational realities and organizational goals
Processes such as patient registration can have different entry points: tablets, computers, apps, or physical touch screens that are all placed within the facilities. But the goal is to identify the best solution: For example, a hospital may decide to use existing infrastructure or choose to purchase tablets so that staff can help patients go through the onboarding process on-site. Either way, the solution always needs to be as transparent and safe as possible, to ensure smooth patient data integration across databases and CRM software.
Regarding the actual forms, they should be highly efficient and simple to fill out. Conditional logic is crucial: While traditionally, you might have to go through pages of text to fill in details about your allergies – even if you don’t have any – digital forms only show relevant questions. Not only does this simple hack boost completion rates and decrease the occurrence of errors, but it also radically decreases the time spent on administrative processes. And thanks to HIPAA compliance, online forms bring an additional level of security to patients.
Healthcare on the go
There’s perhaps no other area that shows so clearly that both healthcare staff and patients benefit from digital transformation than mobile healthcare. With telemedicine bringing healthcare access to even the most remote locations, the way treatment is delivered is changing drastically. And patients love it: 97% of them tend to enjoy their first telehealth experience, while 74% of them say that their relationship with the provider was improved through telemedicine.
In recent years, we have seen a definite proactive approach towards healthcare on the side of patients, especially when it comes to the opportunities that the Internet provides. People across generations find it useful to access their healthcare data online, schedule appointments, and request house visits. They are also willing to share their health data, bringing the opportunity to ripe the benefits of connected wearable devices. Whether it’s a device monitoring heart activity or insulin levels, healthcare must make use of the until now unprecedented direct access to real-time patient data.
Even with house visits, healthcare staff can save a lot of time and resources. Doctors, therapists, and nurses can easily record different details, from arrival and departure time to any special measures taken. With a single device, they can access key information, copy data from previous visits, or calculate payments.
Real-time data for constant improvement
When it comes to the actual usage of data, healthcare organizations are empowered to constantly optimize their strategies, fuel research and development, and improve the patient experience. Collecting feedback is crucial: It helps cultivate a culture of open communication and improve information exchange across the organization. Likewise, it advocates for a more patient-centric paradigm that prioritizes ease-of-use, personalization, and cross-channel applications.
Handling real-time data also opens the door to preventative care. By being able to quickly find patterns and correlations, organizations can act on issues before they fully develop. They can create disease maps, plan and execute key healthcare processes, and optimize administrative processes. This manifests in more actionable decisions related to staff schedules, patient admittance and discharge, and inventory planning.
Digital transformation allows organizations to make more data-driven decisions while giving more flexibility to patients. The resulting accessibility declutters bureaucracy, cuts costs, ensures greater asset utilization, and brings greater patient experience without sacrificing quality. It also encourages us to redefine who a patient is, making us adopt a more retail-based perspective, driving the importance of customer service and experience.