Addressing Healthcare Access Gaps with Technology: 3 Areas To Focus Today
By Jeff Gartland, CEO, Relatient.
As experts in the healthcare industry, we’re all acutely aware of how our health system falls short of consumer expectations. And the gaps in the industry aren’t new – health systems and medical providers have long spent a significant amount of time and resources addressing the barriers to patient access that cause people to fall behind in follow-up and preventative care.
For many patients, today’s healthcare experience is marked by several gaps: gaps in access, gaps in communication, and gaps in control. These disconnects are often coupled with weeks-long wait times for appointments, unnecessarily complicated payment processes, and care that seemingly operates in a silo, separated from other parts of the care experience.
This starkly contrasts with what most people (and health providers) desire in terms of care. People want their healthcare experiences to mirror their consumer ones marked by frictionless, 24/7 access, self-service, and on-demand support. They also want to feel in control of their care, evidenced by Salesforce data stating that 71% of healthcare consumers feel responsible for managing their health. However, only 23% of those respondents said they completely trust the healthcare industry has the technology to enable them to manage their own care—another gap.
While the U.S. healthcare system is a complex puzzle with many pieces, further overlayed onto a pandemic landscape, technology is one element that has the potential to effectively revolutionize care, expand access, and improve the entire patient journey. There are three core areas where healthcare providers should focus today to solve persistent gaps:
- Appointment Scheduling
One way to mitigate a care gap is to invest in smart scheduling solutions. Solutions that offer centralized scheduling that leverage a rules-based workflow help improve patient-to-provider matching by utilizing provider preferences, sequential scheduling, and automated waitlist management. In addition, offering a self-scheduling solution to patients provides them with greater accessibility, convenience, improved efficiency, and a better user experience for both provider staff and patients. By reducing barriers to appointment scheduling, you make it easier for people to make and keep appointments which boosts patient outcomes.