Technology is widely acknowledged as a significant disruptor, and this is true especially in case of the healthcare sector. Catalysed by the pandemic, healthcare IT teams have been enabled to transition from offering mere support of ongoing operations to driving innovation and business transformation in healthcare. COVID-19 has essentially enabled a phenomenal shift in how technology is being used to deliver healthcare. Technological advancements have enhanced and standardized the healthcare industry for both providers and patients; and research shows that 60% of patients in fact prefer healthcare that is backed by technology.
Streamlining patient journeys
On the outpatient side, the use of technology aids in simplifying patient experiences, making their journey that much more efficient. By offering patients non-timebound digital channels of communication in an undoubtedly stressful situation, information is able to be collated and shared conveniently, avoiding those seemingly never-ending queues at hospitals for registration continuing throughout the care journey.
Technology not only eases the major pain points faced by patients admitted at hospitals – right from reducing long wait-times while signing in and during discharge procedures, but also those steps in between, such as placing requests for non-clinical needs, such as housekeeping and ordering food. This releases a lot of bandwidth for healthcare providers so that they can provide superior, personalized services without being caught up with paperwork that can be handled digitally.
The digital revolution in patient experience
Processes such as patient registration, data collation, appointment booking etc. being digitized, not only reduce patient turnaround times but also provides both healthcare service providers, patients as well as caregivers the much-needed calm and efficiency. Several hospitals now have easy to use self-help kiosks, which have gained so much popularity that 80% of patients return to use them! 44% of healthcare chief information officers rank cloud services as a top investment priority. With the data being collated and stored digitally, it can easily be accessed by healthcare providers based anywhere in the world, thus providing patients with efficient, quick and easy care. Thus, digital health data management helps healthcare teams focus more on the patient, enhancing patient experience, while reducing overhead costs as well.
Of great importance is the fact that the use of technology minimizes the risk of error. This not only refers to the registration and data collation processes, but is also useful for JCI or NABH compliance purposes.
Patient Engagement and Education
A survey conducted in May 2022, revealed that 96% of nurses perceived a lack of tools required for patient engagement and education! In an increasingly stigmatized chronic care patient population, nurses report challenges with patient education and disease stigma. Technological devices can assist patients and healthcare professionals with education or resources to address the worst aspects of the patient experience for those with long-term health needs.
Digital Feedback Collection and Ongoing Engagement
With a view to improving patient experiences, prompt feedback certainly proves of vital importance. Using multi-directional digital feedback mechanisms whereby patients can provide their reactions or preferences at their own convenience maintains engagement and can also help with notifications by hospitals for future appointments or check-ups.
The ways in which hospitals can improve patient experience are many, and advancements in technology have paved the way for ample innovation. Several technology solutions are available as software-as-a-service (SaaS), eliminating the need for upfront investments by health IT teams. By putting an emphasis on patient care and leveraging existing technology, healthcare providers can create memorable experiences for their patients.
Transformative innovation in healthcare technology is flourishing in today’s world. Needless to say, modernization offers healthcare administration and IT teams and patients a range of much appreciated advantages, such as access to user-friendly, patient-centric solutions while managing their concerns around integration, information security as well as adoption.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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