By Chinmay Singh, co-founder and president, Asparia.
Every medical group today is expected to demonstrate competence and results in population management. Increasingly, pay-for-performance contracts demand that groups utilize data, clinical coordination, and connected technology to improve patient care and patient outcomes. Information in the electronic health records (EHR) is often the glue that binds these initiatives together, enabling the dashboard for what individual patients need and a repository of data that can be analyzed for an entire group.
However, there is a notable gap in EHR capabilities that has been overlooked, up until now. The individual patient’s clinical data should be tapped and used to manage patients when they are not in the doctor’s office – to ensure adherence to manage treatment for chronic illness, for preventive tests and screenings, and for ongoing medical care.
Often called “patient access” functions, these communications today are fragmented, one-way, and for the most part, ineffective. How does the medical group notify the patients who need a particular vaccine? And how do they know that these patients may have actually received the vaccine elsewhere? What happens when preventive tests are due, and the patient doesn’t schedule or maybe doesn’t keep the appointment? What happens when patients are supposed to come back for a follow up in a year, and they don’t?
It’s not for lack of trying that these situations occur. Patient access departments use telephone calls, reminders by mail, e-mail and even texts, with no appreciable increase in consistency in the reduction of no-shows or patient compliance. Patients have good intentions of keeping their appointments, but life intervenes. It’s an inconvenience to them to have to call to re-schedule, and often they just let it go. Staff spending time calling each patient is tedious, time-consuming and expensive – and without a means to keep patients on track, quality of care suffers. Conditions that could have been detected early, may be only found when they are much more serious and expensive to treat. Illnesses that are preventable happen because the test or vaccine wasn’t received. The group’s costs of care go up, and outcomes go down.
Additionally, operational expenses rise. Staff time is wasted in trying to connect with patients by “old school” methods, and each no-show costs the office an average of $200. At a 7-20% no-show rate, a 100-provider health system has revenue leakage of about $10 million a year.
The solution is to adapt new technology like chatbots for example as a way to enable two-way automated communication with patients that taps the data in the EHR, and then communicates with the patient to ensure that the required actions are taken. Intelligent chatbots have modernized the doctor’s office and make convenience equal to that of dealing with the bank or online travel. This is what consumers expect today, and this is what they should be able to experience in health care.
Electronic health record companies such as Epic, NextGen, Athenahealth, AllScripts, Centricity, DrChrono and others have already incorporated these chatbots into their systems. Although awareness of this capability may be low, it is easy and inexpensive to integrate and use. This integration enables “zero friction” implementation and operations; staff do not have to undergo training to learn a new system and can continue to work within the EHR. With no data duplication, the EHR remains the single source of truth for patient data and interactions.
Over the last few years, hospitals and healthcare practices throughout the country have started adopting new technology that helps them provide better care to their patients and make life easier for their employees.
For example, 64 percent of physicians now send electronic messages to their patients via text or email. Meanwhile, 63 percent allow their patients to view their medical records online.
Are you looking for new ways to bring your practice into the 21st Century? Listed below are seven of the top healthcare technology trends you ought to know about and consider implementing in your practice.
Electronic Medical Records
Electronic medical records (or EMR for short) are one of the most popular tech trends in the healthcare world.
Lots of practices have started using EMR to simplify the process of searching for patient records. EMR has also made it easier for patients to access their medical records online.
Even though plenty of practices are making use of EMR, there are still a lot of them that haven’t made the switch yet. The sooner you start making your files available in a digital format, the sooner you’ll start reaping all the benefits of EMR.
For example, EMR provides immediate access to patient records. It also helps physicians make better decisions about their patient’s care.
They can spot patterns more easily when everything is in front of them. This, in turn, allows them to choose the best treatment approach and avoid missing something important.
Blockchain has started to make its way into the healthcare world, and it’s not showing any signs of leaving.
Blockchain technology allows healthcare practices (and other businesses, for that matter) to store digital information without taking up a ton of space. It also allows them to store their information in a more secure way since it cannot be copied.
In the digital age, patient security and privacy protection are of the utmost importance to many healthcare professionals.
Blockchain systems allow practice owners and managers to ensure they’re keeping patient records and information safe. It also helps them to avoid expensive and harmful (on many levels) data breaches.
In 2019, many people are looking for new ways to get things done without leaving their homes. They have groceries delivered to their door, for example, and they communicate with friends and family via video chat.
Lots of healthcare practices are jumping in on this trend and are making it easier for patients to have their medical needs met from the comfort of their own homes as well.
Telemedicine allows patients to talk to doctors, receive medical advice, and even have prescriptions filled, without having to make a special trip to the doctor’s office.
Physicians are also using these same technologies to communicate with each other in more effective ways and come up with better, more comprehensive solutions for their patients.
Artificial intelligence is for way more than gaming. It’s also one of the biggest healthcare trends of 2019.
Physicians and researchers have started or have plans to start using artificial intelligence in a variety of ways.
As artificial intelligence technology becomes more refined, it will be easier for healthcare professionals to monitor their patients and provide better diagnosis and treatment.
It will also likely enhance the telemedicine world as well, as it will make it easier for physicians to see their patients without having to be in the same physical location as them.
Wearable health monitoring devices are not new. However, they’ve become more popular than ever, and they’re also becoming more advanced.
As these devices become more accurate and able to provide more details about the wearer’s health, it’s likely that many physicians will start relying on them to gather information about their patient’s health and daily habits.