Natural Disasters Point to Need for Global, Mobile Healthcare Solutions

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By Gerard White

After storms from Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Houston area, issues with electronic health record (EHR) interoperability delayed care for many patients because providers could not access their medical history. But mobile, cloud-based technologies helped some hospitals weather the storm, supporting instant access to patient data when seconds mattered.

This is just one reason why the need for global, mobile data solutions in healthcare has reached a critical tipping point.

Providing patients with mobile options for healthcare data capture and retrieval, using cloud-based solutions that integrate with all EHRs, is a smart solution in an evolving digital world.

Consider that 76 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and 91 percent of smartphone users keep their device at arm’s length. Mobile tools for healthcare data capture could empower patients to update their physician and/or hospital record with:

  • A current photo
  • A photo of a medication bottles
  • An image of their insurance card

In healthcare, mobile solutions for capturing and storing patient data, such as digital check-in, allowing the patient to access payment options, are just beginning to take hold, and their potential to change the industry by supporting access to patient data at any time and from any location is quickly becoming evident.



Innovation at the Point of Contact

Signs of transformation around patient check-in are already being seen, with digital check-in platforms replacing typical front-desk processes. Similar to airport kiosks and mobile, this self-service approach reduces check-in times to three minutes or less, improving staff productivity, patient throughput and most importantly a dramatic improvement to the patient experience. 

Now, mobile companions to digital check-in platforms are giving patients the power to manage their check-in before they arrive, from their home or on the go.

Mobile check-in enables patients to verify their demographic and benefits information prior to arriving for their appointment. It provides a seamless method for signing consent forms prior to arrival. Mobile check-in also enables patients to satisfy co-pay requirements before their appointment, ensuring patients get to the purpose of their visit as quickly as possible once they arrive.

There are three reasons mobile check-in is poised to make a big impact in healthcare.

Mobile check-in satisfies the desire for on-demand convenience. Millennials who have grown up with instant access to online services and on-demand delivery now expect the same level of convenience in healthcare – and it’s changing the way in which care is delivered. Today, it’s not uncommon for consumers to seek telehealth services from their home or seek treatment for a cold while they shop. Mobile check-in delivers the heightened convenience millennials expect from their providers while providing a surprise-and-delight factor for other generations who associate front-desk check-in with long wait times. At a time when a broad range of consumers have become used to mobile check-in for flights, hotels and restaurants, mobile check-in for healthcare has high potential for widespread adoption.

Mobile check-in meets patients where they are in their healthcare journey. Just as mobile banking options enhance convenience for consumers, mobile check-in offers a significant timesaver for Generation Xers and Baby Boomers who may be managing not only their own healthcare experience, but also those of their loved ones. It speeds time-to-visit for parents with young children and those helping seniors navigate their care, decreasing the stress of the visit while increasing throughput. Providing mobile options for check-in ensures those who need the convenience of check-in prior to their arrival have access to an easy-to-use solution.

Mobile check-in eliminates errors in patient data that can slow down care processes. When paired with real-time verification of patient demographic and insurance information, mobile check-in supports accuracy of patient information from the point of contact, increasing the chances of a clean claim after services are delivered. Additionally, patients can sign necessary forms for treatment before they arrive, expediting service. Such technologies also support timely follow-up with patients not only by verifying patient contact information, but also asking patients to indicate their communication preferences. It’s another way of meeting patients where they are.

The Right Time for a Mobile Solution

Mobile check-in for healthcare presents a modern alternative to healthcare data capture that supports global access to healthcare data by providers. It’s an approach that appeals to consumers’ desires to manage their care experience while significantly improving efficiency and throughput for physician practices, specialty clinics and health systems. At a time when global access and interoperability are critical to providing the right care at the right time, mobile check-in is an option worth exploring.

Gerard White is Chief Executive Officer of Clearwave.

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