Rhapsody and Corepoint Merge In An Attempt To Advance Healthcare Interoperability

Rhapsody, a global leader in healthcare data interoperability, today announced that the company will merge with Corepoint Health, the supplier of the Best in KLAS healthcare integration platform. The transaction will bring together two companies at the forefront of interoperability and create a dynamic combination of technology, talent, services, and trusted customer relationships to address the most complex healthcare interoperability challenges.

Both companies will continue to support and advance their respective solutions, while the combined entity will also devote its expanded resources to addressing the growing need for interoperability among regional, national and international healthcare providers and vendors.

“Corepoint’s platform offers incredibly fast, turn-key operations for provider organizations, HIEs and OEM partners, all with industry leading customer satisfaction. Complementing this with Rhapsody’s fully customizable and multi-platform capabilities creates great synergies for our current and future customers,” said Erkan Akyuz, president and CEO, Rhapsody. “Both entities share great technical depth and breadth and both have maintained long-standing customer relationships, which together yields a broader foundation on which to build the future of interoperability in healthcare. Together, we can better support our customers to fulfill all of their changing and future needs.”

Available on premises and as a cloud-based service, the Rhapsody and Corepoint interoperability platforms offer comprehensive routing and transformation functionality for every operating environment, offering highly differentiated features, applications and end customer focuses. The two platforms also support commonly used messaging standards and protocols such as FHIR, HL7 V2, CCD/C-CDA and DICOM. 

These integration engines are among the most secure technology platforms in the healthcare industry, with customer bases that include the entire healthcare ecosystem and across the globe, including provider organizations, technology vendors, HIEs and public health systems.

“We are entering a new era in healthcare where the emphasis will be on expanding ecosystems and establishing new data trading partner relationships to optimize clinical and operational workflows. These initiatives will be powered by interoperability and data management: healthcare organizations that can excel in these areas will have a significant competitive advantage,” said Sean Cassidy, CEO of Corepoint Health.

“The combination of Rhapsody and Corepoint enables our customers to continue to get tremendous value out of the products and services they love, while having the confidence that their interoperability partner is heavily invested in helping them confront the challenges they will face in the future,” Cassidy added.

Learn more here.

AdhereHealth and Papa Partner To Tackle Barriers of Care, SDoH

AdhereHealth has announced a partnership with Papa, a companionship platform company serving the elderly, blind and disabled. A growing issue for millions of Americans enrolled in Medicare are SDoH, such as loneliness, food insecurity and transportation, any one of them impeding optimal healthcare and medication adherence.  This combined relationship addresses foundational barriers to care through advanced technologies and a compassionate, personal interaction.

“We could not be more excited about this partnership as it extends the Adhere platform’s reach into the home with Papa assisting those most in need of personal support,” said Jason Z. Rose, AdhereHealth CEO. “Our analytics and clinical workflows will help direct Papa Pals to address a myriad of SDOH issues our consumers face, such as transportation to doctor appointments and local pharmacies, grocery shopping, housing chores, and other senior services.”

In 2018, CMS announced a new policy allowing Medicare Advantage and Part D health plans to pay for SDOH services as a medical expense for seniors with chronic diseases.  Now AdhereHealth can deploy “Papa Pals” to consumers at risk for poor health outcomes for face-to-face support.  Most Papa Pals are college students majoring in nursing, social work, or hospitality that desire to improve consumer quality of life. 

Andrew Parker, founder and CEO of Papa, shared, “We have realized that social determinants of health in America is an increasing factor in medical non-compliance.” He continued, “Collaborating with AdhereHealth will allow Papa’s team of personal companions to make an intergenerational impact on the most vulnerable in our society, providing them the freedom to age in place while having an advocate at their side to aid them in the journey through health care.”

Graduating from Silicon Valley’s prestigious Y Combinator accelerator program, Papa works with large Medicaid and Medicare clients who have embraced companion health for their members. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses the healthy days metric to measure consumer quality of life. This partnership is immediately available to over 20 million American’s covered by Medicare Advantage plans, plans interested can visit www.adherehealth.com/papa.

CynergisTek’s Survey Data Reveals Cybersecurity Concerns for Healthcare Executives

Image result for CynergisTek, Inc logo

CynergisTek, Inc. recently announced findings from its first “CAPP Conference Survey.” The survey was administered to attendees of the company’s first inaugural CAPP Community Conference: Cybersecurity 2019 this past May, which focused on tackling some of the most pressing issues facing healthcare cybersecurity and privacy, including vendor breaches and risks, new state privacy laws, privacy and security culture, and medical device security. The survey of approximately 60 C-level healthcare executives revealed the greatest perceived threats and current challenges these organizations are facing in cybersecurity and privacy.

Overall, the findings highlighted that the issues respondents were most concerned about were the risks associated with Internet of Things (IoT), medical devices, third-party vendors, and program development/management. However, the data also pinpointed some of the barriers or disconnects within the organization to solve these issues, like executive leadership buy-in. Most notably:

“The fact that the vast majority of respondents report a lack of resources as a serious constraint against their cybersecurity program, and senior management buy-in as the least concern, shows there is a huge disconnect happening and is extremely troubling,” said David Finn, executive vice president of strategic innovation at CynergisTek. “If executive leadership truly understood the business risks posed by inadequate cybersecurity and realized the major operational, financial, and patient safety implications a security incident can have, they would ensure any and all resources needed were available. We need to make sure we are effectively communicating these issues to executive leadership so they make cybersecurity a business priority.”

The “CAPP Conference Survey” findings reiterate the issues facing the healthcare industry today and the difficulties to keep up with the ever advancing cybersecurity world. The disparity between the severity of these cybersecurity threats and the lack of urgency from organizations to implement a plan or solution is creating a dangerous landscape that many healthcare organizations have fallen victim to. The CAPP Conference provided a platform to help bridge this gap by bringing together industry experts and CynergisTek’s CAPP community members to serve as resources to one another to help address these common issues and work together to find a resolution.

For the complete “CAPP Conference Survey” data, please visit https://insights.cynergistek.com/slideshare/capp-conference-survey.

Vyne Named to Inc. Magazine’s List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies: The Inc. 5000 List

Inc. magazine has revealed that Vyne is No. 3723 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Vyne’s 2019 ranking marks the organization’s 12th consecutive year on the list, which honors the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment — independent small businesses.

Vyne’s technology provides health systems, dental providers, and insurance payers the ability to exchange health information in a compliant manner and improve revenue cycle management processes. Its HITRUST CSF Certified solutions – the Trace platform for health systems and the FastAttach software for dental practices are leading technologies in their respective market sectors.

Lindy Benton, president and CEO of Vyne, said: “Our overwhelming commitment to healthcare innovation drives our success, and being recognized by Inc. for the 12th consecutive year proves that the role we play in helping medical and dental businesses run more efficiently and profitably is vital for their success.”

“We are proud of this honor and remain dedicated to serving the more than 800 hospital and health system clients, more than 73,000 dental providers, and the more than 750 payers and health plans that place their trust in us,” Benton added.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database — sorted by industry, region and other criteria — are available at www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Vyne®

Vyne is a recognized leader in health information exchange and electronic healthcare communication management. The company’s robust technology platform facilitates the electronic capture, storage, and submission of healthcare data in any form – voice, document, image, data, fax, or electronic interface. Vyne’s solutions connect disconnected data to close gaps in documentation and improve the continuum of care through a more complete and fully accessible patient record. Outcomes include improved financial strength, operational performance, and patient experience for medical and dental providers and payers. For more information, visit vynecorp.com.

About Inc. Media

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Inc. took home the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. The total monthly audience reach for the brand continues to grow significantly, from 2,000,000 in 2010 to more than 25,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, the list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success.

Disclaimer:

Vyne, Trace and FastAttach are trademarks or registered trademarks of Vyne and/or its affiliates. Other company and product names mentioned herein may be trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Why Blockchain Tech May Be Key To Protecting Patient Records

By Adrian Johansen, freelance writer; @AdrianJohanse18.

While cybersecurity is an issue constantly addressed by the media and something small and large businesses alike are consistently focusing on, one of the biggest digital dilemmas comes from the healthcare system. This may be unsurprising, given that financial records and personal data are all stored within patient care files. Hackers are fully aware of the value of this data, and it’s about time that the medical industry shows that it does as well.

Sadly, one in four consumers have had their healthcare data breached. This calls for swift action by the players in the field. Some experts think that the answer can be found in blockchain. That’s right — the same technology that secures Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could soon become the key to protecting patient records.

While there have been ongoing discussion among government and finance officials about the actual risks of cryptocurrency, it’s generally agreed upon by tech experts that blockchain is one of the most secure ways to go. Will the world see this technology implemented into its healthcare systems soon, though? It’s very possible that the answer is “yes.”

The Security of Blockchain Makes It the Best Ledger for Healthcare Networks

The reason that blockchain technology a regular part of public discussion and being normalized in new industries so frequently is its transparency and security measures. It’s garnered public, private, criminal, and government interest due to this, and it’s doubtful that its popularity will stop anytime soon. But what is it about the ledger that makes it so safe?

Primarily, it’s the unique approach it takes to security keys. There wouldn’t be a way for someone to modify or corrupt information within a blockchain system without the relevant key. At one point it was even believed that the technology was unhackable.

While there is still debate over what it means to hack blockchain networks and whether or not it’s even been done, that debate still points to the safety of those networks at large. Without a doubt, it is the most secure ledger for protecting personal data — and hospitals may need it the most.

Making It Official

The lengths at which blockchain is being adapted cannot be understated. Government officials are starting to explore the technology, and the big four investment firms are even beginning to pay attention to it. But what does this mean for the healthcare industry?

Well right now, blockchain still is not the norm. Currently, if a hospital or healthcare organization wants to adopt it, they are probably making the best move in terms of security.

While there are downsides to this kind of mass adoption (discussed at further length below), it also calls for advancements to be made, which could better these systems as a whole. It should be noted that with something as new as blockchain technology hitting the greater market, there are a lot of changes bound to happen that cannot be accurately predicted right now.

The Adaptation of Blockchain in Culture May Challenge Security

Granted, it is very important to recognize that blockchain’s mass acceptance could adulterate the technology. With businesses at large implementing it into their operations and the parallel use of mobile money tools in modern society, people are going to start looking for loopholes. Hackers are going to make it their duty to try and disrupt it.

For this reason, there needs to be external precautions set up for security. A good example is business insurance — something necessary for every hospital, even with blockchain implementation. The loss of mass amounts of data is bound to occur, so hospitals need to be protected, even when their systems seem foolproof.

Right now, hospitals and organizations at large need to understand that blockchain is a very important technology to the future of healthcare. But it cannot be solely depended on, either. Other precautions need to be taken to protect patient data by the healthcare industry. Blockchain may be the best option healthcare networks have for data security.

How do you think blockchain will change, for better or worse? Do you think this will heavily affect the healthcare industry? Feel free to share your opinion in the replies below!

The Rise of Chatbots In Healthcare

By Sachin Kalra, vice president of customer success, Infostretch.

Rapid advances in technology mean the chatbot market is now one of the fastest-growing segments in healthcare, with the market expected to be worth more than $314 million by 2023.

Sachin Kalra

In some ways, this growth is not surprising.  Combined with the commercial benefits for healthcare providers, there is a genuine appetite for more advanced technologies to form part of patients’ healthcare.  A recent study in the US revealed that more than half of consumers would use an app for remote general consultation if given the option, while research in the UK found that apps would be used by 47 percent of patients to book appointments, and 42 percent to manage prescriptions.

Before long, it is likely to be very commonplace for prescriptions to be re-ordered through your smart speaker, for medical appointments to be made by Alexa, and for medical disclaimers and drug side effects viewed in augmented reality (AR) via Google Home. In fact, chatbot applications such as these already exist as proof of concept projects and even, in some cases, as deployed systems in the US. The providers that successfully deliver systems like these which make the lives of patients fundamentally easier will inevitably gain mind share and market share, as the good news of the improved service spreads.

Beyond these immediate applications, the potential of chatbot systems in healthcare is virtually endless, limited only by the imagination and needs of physicians and their patients.

The three types of chatbot

Whether they’re employed in healthcare, customer service or simply for general consumer use, there are three main types of chatbot.

Most healthcare chatbot apps would typically fall into this latter, closed-domain category. Whatever the category of chatbot, so long as they provide users with an improved quality of experience, healthcare providers will be able to deliver a better service to more people at a lower cost.

Applying artificial intelligence

The performance of these chatbot apps – especially their ability to adapt as required – can be largely impacted by AI and machine learning technology, the application of which can enhance a number of areas.

By eliminating human bias from interactions, natural language processing can widen the topic of conversation, and increase the number of valid responses available to a chatbot. Of course, being able to answer a wider range of specific questions and provide more information will only make these apps more useful.

AI can also improve business performance for internal-facing bots which, in turn, will improve the customer experience for both practitioners and patients. Automating patient/admin interaction will enable more flexible scheduling options, for example, while the ability to more thoroughly convey information on side effects and conflicts from drug interactions will only improve patient outcomes.

What’s more, chatbots known as cognitive bots can use deep/machine learning to continually learn from their ongoing interactions, in order to provide more tailored responses to a patient’s needs. Accessing massive data sets and rapidly extracting insights from them is a task much better suited to AI versus humans who are limited by time.  Longer term, cognitive bots will deliver improved healthcare outcomes for more patients at a lower cost to the provider.

Adoption and appetite

The growth in the adoption of chatbot technology is likely to be organic. With each success that is achieved, a wider set of needs will be recognized and the technology developed further to address them. Its adopters will range from the largest healthcare innovators, where we would expect to see such innovation, to the smaller rural healthcare facilities who are set to benefit most from the resource and cost efficiencies it offers.

Within the last few years many of us have become accustomed to using Alexa, Siri and Google Home in our daily routines. As the healthcare industry continues to embrace chatbots, it won’t be long before we think nothing of asking them for medical advice, to carry out administrative tasks, or even to speak directly with our doctors. And given the rate at which this technology is evolving, who knows what the next few years might hold?

AI-Based Automation Framework For Healthcare

By Cynthia Burghard, research director, IDC Health Insights.

Cynthia Burghard

Artificial intelligence (AI) has two faces in healthcare. One face sings the praises of AI as the tonic that will enable healthcare to deliver better clinical outcomes at a lower cost and the second face is full of skepticism and raises barriers to adoption at every turn. It is heartening to see that a third face is emerging, the thoughtful and appropriate use of AI to predict adverse health events; to identify and stratify patients in need of health, social, and human services; and the application of AI in the automation of tasks, activities, and processes.

To understand the likely evolution of AI-based automation, it’s important to evaluate the interaction of humans and machines across these five levels. At each level of automation, the following questions must be asked and answered:

  1. Who produces insights? – Does the human or the machine (AI) analyze data and deliver insights from such analysis? Does the human or the machine describe what something is, how it trends, why something is happening, and what might happen next?
  2. Who decides and how? – Once all relevant analysis has been conducted, does the human or the machine make the decision based on the derived insights?
  3. Who acts based on the decision? – Finally, a decision should lead to an action by either a human or a machine? The action can be in the digital or physical environment.

Based on the responses to these questions, IDC has identified the following five levels of AI-based automation:

  1. Human Led – At the first level, it is the human who analyzes the data using limited technology, such as tools for only descriptive analytics; it is the human who makes the decision based on the analysis (or experience); and it is the human who acts based on the decision.
  2. Human Led, Machine Supported – At the second level, the human continues to lead data analysis, decision making, and action steps but is now more reliant on the machine across these steps.
  3. Machine-led, Human Supported – At the third level, it is the machine that is using a wide range of analytic and AI techniques to conduct the analysis and produce insights. These insights are reviewed by humans. The human still makes the decision based on machine’s recommendations, and it is the human who acts based on the decision. However, at this level, the machine acts to provide oversight over human decision making and execution.
  4. Machine Led, Human Governed – At the fourth level, the machine analyzes data and produces insights without the need for human review. At this level, the machine decides based on the analysis of all available data and a framework of human-developed governance policies and procedures. At this stage, it is also the machine that acts based on the decision under the governance of humans.
  5. Machine Led – At the fifth level, the world has likely achieved general AI. At this stage, there is a full AI-based automation without the need for human involvement. At this level, we need to think of machines that set their own goals and understand all mathematical, economic, legal, and other external constraints. Most AI academics and experts in labs of commercial enterprises predict this level of AI to arrive no sooner than in about 50 years.

In recent years, one of the shortcomings in the commercial sphere of AI has been the misrepresentation of the scope of possible automation. Too often, we hear claims of AI systems automating end-to-end processes and predictions of massive labor losses, this does a disservice to organizations trying to plan for the appropriate level of investment in AI. There is a need for a pragmatic framework that decision makers across industries can use to assess opportunities and risks of AI-based automation. The levels of AI-based automation must also be viewed in the context of the scope of automation. We define this scope where:

IDC’s AI automation framework was developed to help wade through the hyperbole associated with AI.  Our goal is to help provide a planning tool and key piece of vendor evaluations processes to fully understand the role AI is playing in software and guide strategic decision making.

How Can America Respond To the Opioid Crisis?

By Abhinav Shashank, CEO and co-founder, Innovaccer.

“Relief from deadly pain is just a pill away!”

Abhinav Shashank

How many times have we heard catchlines like these? It was easy to get your hands on colorful pills and capsules that could ease off the pain and were easily available to act as a part-time solution to various medical problems. By the 1990s, they had already become the flagbearers of “pain-less care.”

Cut to 2019: 130 people in the US die every day due to opioid overdose.

Painkillers that kill pain or people?

Patients in pain are sometimes prescribed painkillers — especially the opioid pain medications- that can practically sabotage the very aim of improving their health in the long run. In times when voices for wellness-centric care delivery culture are getting louder by the day, the alarming rate of the opioid crisis should be the first thing healthcare stakeholders should address.

Patients’ tendency to take excessive opioids might end up genetically endangering the present and future generations. This is a grave concern for the entire US population.

According to a study, increases in opioid prescribing have been noted in several other high-income countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. However, these increases have occurred gradually and are generally much smaller in magnitude than the increase observed in the United States.

In the US, opioid addiction has reached alarming levels, putting public health as well as the economy and national security at stake. Declared as public health emergency since 2017, the opioid crisis has already taken a toll of more than 1 trillion on the economy in the period 2001 to 2017. Projected to further incur a cost of $500 billion by 2020, it is bound to have rippling effects in terms of both loss of lives and an addiction threat to the younger population.

Every healthcare stakeholder is equally hit

Over-prescription of opioids and ‘doctor shopping’ has multiplied the usage on different levels, which has ended up adding to the nation’s healthcare expenditure. Patients being the direct users in the process suffer without realizing the gradually-building addiction- which does more harm than good with breathing problems, nausea, and drowsiness on opioid withdrawal.

Because of lack of calculated prescription, physicians also unknowingly become a part of this overdone process. Prescribing doses that are tough to withdraw brings down the patient health and ultimately affects the care outcome. Providers without the detailed knowledge of network functioning might end up making repetitive payments for painkillers used by patients.

At the same time, when patients in desperate need of opioids do not get access to it, they resort to other illegal means. They try to find loopholes in the prescriptions- patients usually go in, complaining about a bunch of different symptoms, perhaps even under different names. They might even pay for the medications in cash instead of using their insurance and resort to doctor shopping. And physicians are often unaware of the lethal combination to which the patients are subjecting themselves.

Can deep insights into data be helpful against opioids?

Data might seem like an uncorrelated term, but if we deeply analyze, it can revamp our battling approach with opioids. Doctor shopping, for example, is a direct outcome of data discrepancy, where patients end up getting access to drugs with multiple physician prescriptions.

A universal data pool with live-data access across the network is a key solution in this scenario. Even though organizations and federal governments are deploying data solutions extensively, resources must be channelized to shift focus on reducing opioid usage throughout the data pool.

While opioids are prescribed to people of all age groups, depending on the seriousness of surgery pain, chemo, accident among others, we can change the impacts for different suffering populations.

One particular case is that of the opioid usage in pregnant women leading to premature deaths and growth restriction in the fetus. In such occurrences, an integrated approach to care delivery in the maternity wards can reap rich dividends. This can significantly reduce the problems of low birth weight and developmental disorders in newborn babies.

Another case is that of teenagers who mix prescription opioids with other substances, making them really vulnerable to dangerous drug overdose outcomes. For them, it is important that data records track their transition to adult care, as well as keep a unified record of prescribed drug doses.

Healthcare agencies and organizations taking note of the situation is a good sign

Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and Guam, all have a prescription drug management program (PDMP) in place. With HHS and NIH focusing their efforts around preventing the misuse of opioids nationally, California has become the 28th state to mandate that providers check the PDMP database, CURES, before prescribing opioids and updating the prescription in the EHRs. Following the lead, three more states — Ohio, Kentucky and New York- have implemented the mandate.

The Road Ahead

While mandates and policies have been known to reduce prescription drug abuse, the real challenge that needs to be addressed lies in how physicians are able to change patient behavior. Starting from the access to real-time prescription data right at the point of care, when the prescriptions are being made to creating care plans address the exact pain points of patients- US healthcare needs to take every step it can to address this epidemic. Battling this war will definitely require a new approach!

Strategies To Engage Consumers In Data Sharing To Improve Healthcare

By George Mathew, chief medical officer, North America, DXC Technology

George Mathew

Connected consumers, and their data, will play a critical role in transforming the next era of healthcare. In fact, global industry analyst IDC predicts that by the end of 2020, 25 percent of the data used in medical care will be collected and shared with healthcare systems by patients themselves.

Using devices, such as wearable fitness trackers, biometrics, implants and digital voice assistants, patients will generate real-time information about their diet, fitness and sleep habits, mood and purchasing behavior. Providers will be able to access and analyze a more complete picture of each patient, enabling them to make better care decisions, faster.

However, for this trend to truly drive transformation, organizations will need innovative approaches to care delivery that engage patients to actively share their healthcare data and participate in directing their own health services.

Patient-friendly Care Delivery

As increasingly empowered consumers, patients are demanding a shift from the traditional reactive model of healthcare toward one that is more proactive, continuous and collaborative in delivering the most relevant care when and how it is needed. Recognizing this trend, many healthcare organizations are investing in tools that are designed to provide more personalized patient experiences.

Patient-centered care tools can include electronic portals, mobile applications, wearables, chatbots or patient relationship management systems that capture more data and enable patients to conveniently access their health information. Patients can also use these digital tools to more-readily monitor their care plans, communicate with providers, access support networks, request appointments and prescription refills, and support behavioral changes through push notifications that guide them toward the next-best actions for maintaining their health. They can become more involved, and engaged, in managing their own health and building a robust record of actionable data.

For health organizations to maximize patient-driven insights, they can prioritize digital platforms that automate data collection, integration and measurement to reduce patient effort, and to ensure that analytics capabilities are as predictive as possible to amplify preventive services.  

Transparency and Collaboration

Providers will also need to earn and maintain patients’ trust by approaching care decisions collaboratively and being transparent about how patient data may be collected and used to drive health outcomes. Healthcare organizations may consider creating an information base of health data with shared access by patients, providers and third-party communities where the patient feels a strong affinity, such as their fitness center or employee wellness program. Through proper consent and individualized access based on role, multiple entities can contribute and extract from this pool of data, driving richer insights for acute health concerns or providing “dashboards” for longer-term well-being and family health.    

Additionally, providers can view patients as partners in working toward shared incentives in value-based care. For example, digital health apps could be used to analyze all available data and bundle health services into care-plan options that optimize provider resources. This approach helps patients personalize a plan based on their desired outcomes, budget and lifestyle goals.

Healthcare providers may also consider establishing official partnerships with self-organizing patient cooperatives designed to collate their data and work as a group to trade aggregated information for discounted health services and financial incentives. This type of model could, for example, allow the cooperative to pool their data to pre-buy services or procedures directly from providers. In both examples, providers can offer affordable, personalized care while strengthening their relationships with patients and, ultimately, creating a truly connected healthcare system.

Next Steps

There’s no question that patient-generated health data has become a valuable resource for providers. Healthcare organizations that can engage patients to collect and share their personal health data will derive rich, new insights that positively influence clinical decisions and drive higher quality care. To do this successfully, providers can prioritize personalized inpatient, outpatient and virtual services that combine consumer-friendly technologies and innovative incentives. Improved patient experiences and clinical effectiveness will create new opportunities and imperatives to advance the future of care.  

5 Ways Medical Practices Can Adapt to the New Digital Era

By Jared Jost, vice president of marketing, PatientPop.

Jared Jost

Of all the changes we’ve seen in the last century, the digital revolution has an excellent claim on being the most profound. As businesses of every stripe discover just what can be done within the rapidly evolving digital world, ongoing changes continue to shake up the landscape. This affects and benefits medical practices just like any other company or business, and several significant points have emerged that best illustrate how medical practices can take advantage of the changes that have given patients increased access and decision-making power.

1. Acknowledge this is the current world of patient demand

It would be easy for physicians to ignore the details and intricacies of the digital landscape, simply because they have a full schedule and a loyal patient base. Why change? Because patients are expecting digital access, and healthcare providers’ opportunities for acquisition and retention exist online.

A 2019 PatientPop survey found that three out of four people have gone online to find out about a doctor, a dentist, or care. Fifty-seven percent of patients do this with some level of regularity. Being present and available online is simply a matter of going where the patients are.

2. Attract patients the way any business attracts customers

As practice owners will tell you, a healthcare practice is a healthcare business. Your patients are your customers, and potential patients in your market are looking for you or your services online. If you’re not easily found, your business could get lost.

That’s why having a strong web presence is crucial to your success. Not only does it position your practice to be found more readily online, but it also delivers a great first impression for patients unfamiliar with your practice. What are the best steps to get started?

3. Simplify scheduling for patients and staff

One thing that kills online shopping is an overly complex cart. If it’s tough to get the customer to conclude the sale, that can mean lost revenue — and a lost customer. In online retail, this is called “cart abandonment.” Similarly, if you don’t make it easy for an interested website visitor to make an appointment with your practice, you lose the opportunity at a new patient.

To encourage that appointment, feature online scheduling on your own website and across any third-party websites that offer it. In ideal situations, requests can integrate directly into your EHR’s scheduling system, per your rules and parameters.

Additionally, set up your mobile presence to allow click-to-call functions, so that mobile users can call you directly with one click. This makes for a convenient process and helps you better “convert” website visitors—mobile or otherwise—into patients.

4. Pay close attention to online reviews, both positive and negative

The 2019 PatientPop survey previously referenced noted that when patients decide on a healthcare provider, patient reviews are their most influential online source. Online reviews are one of your greatest tools in drawing in new potential patients.

Make sure you monitor reviews across the web and when you find negative reviews—and they do happen to everyone—be ready to respond promptly and concisely. Tell any dissatisfied patient that you appreciate their feedback, want to address their concerns, and can speak with them directly to remedy the situation. You’ll show that patient, and any others reading the interaction, that you’re the kind of doctor who listens and responds to your patients.

5. Keep it simple

It can be tempting to quickly add new software or service to meet an immediate need or tackle a business problem. But that often requires adding more along the way — to cover website management, SEO, online reputation management, blog development — burdening your practice with multiple tools and extra costs. Instead, look for an all-in-one offering that can connect all the points of your web presence and online reputation in one practice growth solution. You’ll get unified insight into how well your efforts are performing, and a single point of contact for your ongoing needs.

As the digital age continues to produce new and exciting developments, making these fit into your current operations will help produce the best chances at success going forward.