By George Mathew, chief medical officer, North America, DXC Technology.
Consumer technology has given rise to 21st century digital citizens who are reinventing their lifestyles ? one smart device at a time. They are also reinventing healthcare.
The 21st century digital citizen monitors their daily calorie intake, sleep patterns and heart rate during exercise. They have used a DNA testing service to access their genetic information, and they know their risk level for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or cancer. They have become empowered consumers of healthcare.
Healthcare organizations are exploring ways to capture this new wave of patient-generated data, integrate it with other clinical and non-clinical data sources and gain insights into improving health management for individuals and populations. The key will be to create a digital foundation that can radically improve data flow and deliver contextual, actionable insights across the entire healthcare ecosystem.
21st Century Outcomes
Consumerization has made it possible to get a more complete picture of what patients need to better manage their health, and to provide care beyond the walls of a hospital or clinic. Insights can be gleaned from a variety of internet of things (IoT) devices ? from cameras linked to video analytics systems to assess people’s behaviors, to communication and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) devices that can interact with patients in their homes.
Consider what this means for patients who are managing a chronic condition such as diabetes or hypertension. Those individuals receive advice when they visit their doctor or nurse practitioner. But how can providers keep patient engagement going between those visits? Now, after garnering the appropriate approvals, providers can use patient-generated data and virtual health services to monitor patients and ensure they have the information needed for their care without requiring an office visit. Increased interactions between practitioners and patients helps to increase engagement, which is often difficult to achieve between visits. Better-engaged patients will positively impact patient satisfaction scores — a key consideration in the value-based care system.
Additionally, collecting more types of data enables organizations to better understand the dynamics of the entire population. Patients with similar profiles can be identified, successful care paths can be determined, and emerging patterns can be recognized to help in finding the most effective interventions. And, healthier populations will result in less expense to the healthcare system overall.
The role of mobile wayfinding solutions for hospital systems has quickly evolved from a novel service offered to an essential component of a patient-centric approach. The catalyst has been the growing importance of patient experience to meet both care and competitive standards. A wayfinding platform not only improves patient’s easy access to care, but also provides the experience that patients have come to expect from their healthcare system.
A modern wayfinding platform does more than fulfill its fundamental mission of helping patients find their way around facilities. It is a valuable channel for health systems to engage their patients before, during and after each encounter. All the services a provider offers can be embedded in their wayfinding platform providing opportunities to engage patients and build new avenues for business development.
Health systems have recognized this, and are making extensible mobile wayfinding platforms an important element of their efforts to improve patient experience. An extensible wayfinding platform aligns health care providers with the best aspects of consumerism, serving patients when and how they want to be served, using their smartphones.
Wayfinding Contributes to Positive Patient Experience
Digital, experiential wayfinding not only puts patients and visitors on the best path to their destination, but also gives the healthcare organization an important pathway to keep patients in their system for follow up care.
Patients typically need help finding the right area within a hospital and prefer a self-service navigation using their own smartphone instead of having to ask for directions. A wayfinding platform provides a hand holding experience for patients initial visit and extends to any subsequent visits.
Wayfinding Improves Continuity of Care
Apps that go beyond basic navigation and support physician lookup, messaging and other functions help develop ongoing, rather than episodic, interaction between the patient and provider and improve continuity of care.
Patients can receive an appointment reminder message, guidance to the closest parking followed by step-by-step directions in real time to their destination indoors. When they are seeking follow up care, they can make an appointment, view wait-times access their medical records, pay their bill and much more.
Wayfinding to Navigate the Health Journey
Today, navigation provides the opening to a platform the provider can use to offer different services to the user and to interact at different points in the care journey. Gartner notes this evolution in its recent report that, “Wayfinding has evolved to encompass an ecosystem of technologies that combine in a way that assists a patient to conveniently locate and navigate the health care provider facility and space. Experiential wayfinding helps patients navigate an episode of care or navigate their health journey. Wayfinding of all forms is becoming a requirement as the complexity of care delivery continues in increase.”
It is hard to achieve a top-level patient experience when an encounter begins with the patient becoming lost, delayed and anxious. Those problems are preventable by offering mobile wayfinding, the value of which will continue to rise in tandem with the growing importance of patient experience.
Modern wayfinding produces a positive experience that serves as a platform for continued communication, giving providers the flexibility to create strategies, and easy access to care that supports their patient engagement goals. Wayfinding solutions therefore need to support those capabilities to help providers support their patients with excellent experiences throughout the continuum of care.
By Tim Mitchell, healthcare vertical sales manager, Advantech.
From a technology standpoint, we are amid a transformative era within the healthcare industry. In a hospital setting, where efficiency and accuracy are often life-or-death matters, the increased availability of IoT devices is revolutionizing the healthcare space. In any given hospital, there are countless supplies, tools and devices, each of which are extremely expensive. IoT is enabling a better way to track these assets, helping hospitals to operate in a more timely and efficient manner
Additionally, IoT is a driving force behind how patients now interact with technology. Whether it’s follow-up care instructions via a text message, portal sites or email appointment reminders, the idea is to engage patients electronically and remotely. This helps patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, to better control, monitor and manage their health, resulting in a higher quality of care and reduced healthcare costs for all parties.
IoT is allowing the healthcare industry to streamline processes, boosting efficiency and reducing costs, which is why we will continue to see the rapid adoption of these types of devices in the hospital setting.
Here are four ways IoT is currently revolutionizing the healthcare industry:
Healthcare “wayfinding” is a major problem for large medical facilities and hospitals, as most patients are already anxious about having to see a doctor –and this multiplies with the added stress of having to navigate a large, unknown campus. Updating signage, while proven to be effective, has become outdated with the rise of IoT. Digital wayfinding solutions, like blue-dot navigation apps, touchscreen kiosks and tablets that are distributed to patients upon arrival, are sweeping through hospitals across the nation and help reduce new patient anxiety, no matter their age or socioeconomic status.
Patient experience and engagement
Whether it’s a knee surgery or congestive heart failure, patients are now able to take home ‘suitcase kits’ to help doctors monitor their conditions and recovery remotely. Depending on the patient, these kits may include a tablet or different wearable devices that will monitor the patient’s vitals in real-time, like blood pressure, temperature, etc. The patient can also log and report certain conditions or symptoms that they may develop post-surgery, allowing a doctor to provide a diagnosis or recommendation virtually. Post-care has always been an issue in the healthcare industry. The idea is to improve post-care patient engagement and experience via IoT devices to prevent a readmission, which is extremely costly to both the patient and hospital.
The simple task of trying to track down a nurse or doctor, or locate a specific piece of medical equipment, can cost hospitals hours of lost productivity. IoT devices that utilize Real-Time Location System (RTLS) technology allow the location of specific items or people to be easily and precisely tracked. This helps medical facilities and hospitals to have one unified system for managing inventory, assets and even personnel, resulting in more productivity and budget savings.