December 17, 2020
How Digital Healthcare Helps Doctors and Practices Overcome Their Biggest Challenges
Telehealth is transforming the way practitioners deliver care to their patients. Here’s how digital healthcare helps doctors overcome their biggest challenges.
It’s a known fact that healthcare professionals have one of the toughest jobs in the world. Physically demanding, intellectually challenging, and emotionally tough—it checks all three boxes—which is why it’s vital health workers have as much help as they can, especially during this challenging time.
The problem: healthcare is a notoriously bureaucratic industry and change happens slowly. If there’s a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that it has forced the healthcare industry to evolve, almost overnight. Since waiting rooms and healthcare facilities can spread the virus, many practitioners have embraced digital health and remote monitoring as a way to better serve their patients.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how digital healthcare helps doctors and practices overcome their biggest challenges.
What Are Some of the Biggest Management Challenges for Healthcare Professionals?
From managing records to dealing with no-shows, it’s no secret healthcare practitioners have their work cut out for them. Here are some of the top challenges doctors and healthcare practices face day-to-day, with some tips for overcoming them:
1. Patient Satisfaction
Happy patients come back and are more likely to comply with recommendations. There’s also an increased emphasis on patient satisfaction scores these days, with financial consequences for those with low scores. There will always be unhappy patients, but communication goes a long way towards making them feel cared for. It’s frustrating when a patient feels dismissed by their practitioner. So, the more information and support you can provide, the better. Let patients know they can schedule an appointment anytime to address their concerns, even if it’s a remote appointment.
Make sure your patients are aware of your online portal and any remote care options available to them as well.
Telehealth and telemedicine satisfaction surveys are coming back with positive results (Image Source).
2. Administrative Demands
Healthcare is an admin-heavy industry and it’s unlikely that will change any time soon. Part of running a good practice includes being organized and keeping patient data safe, secure, and in good order—which is no easy task. Hiring qualified administrative staff and implementing a document and data management system should be your first priority. Storing data digitally in the cloud (as opposed to hard copies/paperwork) ensures everything is secure, well-organized, searchable, and easily retrieved.
3. Patient Compliance
The saying ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ applies here: you can give patients information and medication, but if they don’t comply, treatment is pointless. This puts stress on the patient and is an added burden on the healthcare industry due to their worsening health and wasted time and medication. In fact, lack of adherence costs the U.S. $300 billion per year in avoidable hospitalization and mortality costs.
Affordability plays a large part. Prescriptions are often left unfilled or stretched further than they should be. Adherence to treatment recommendations currently stands at about 50 to 63%. This is where Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) comes in handy, especially for those living with chronic health conditions. It’s more affordable for the patient, and usually more practical than constant clinic visits. The patient receives ongoing guidance and recommendations that help them keep up with positive lifestyle changes and focused on complying with treatment guidelines.
4. Healthcare Affordability
Late payments, increasing administrative requirements, fewer patients—these are all negatively impacting every practice’s bottom line since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The best way to address these issues is to make small changes. Going digital is one option. Also work with commercial Insurance Carriers, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and offering patients a more flexible way of receiving healthcare via telehealth, and other remote healthcare solutions such as CCM and/or RPM.
5. High Employee Turnover
As the diagram below shows, overworked staff are more likely to leave—and hiring and retraining is an expensive business. One way to lower the burden is to outsource admin tasks to a trained professional. Also try to motivate your team with technology that makes their jobs easier, more satisfying, and more effective. After all, having the right tools to do our jobs properly can make all the difference.
Unhappy employees are more likely to leave (Image Source).
How Digital Healthcare Is Helping Patients and Practices
Healthcare has been slow to take up remote options for several reasons: it’s a bureaucratic industry with stretched budgets, technological limitations, legal restraints, long-winded protocols, and restrictive billing. Yet, we’re now learning how digital health can help practitioners overcome most of these challenges. It’s also transforming the way practices deliver care to their patients, with benefits that stretch beyond convenience: beaming healthcare professionals into patients’ homes and offices has made vital care more accessible and convenient than ever before.
“I never imagined how valuable telemedicine could be until my GP diagnosed me 42 days ago with suspected COVID-19 during a telephone consultation. It was more of a partnership than a normal doctor-patient interaction because my GP was open to me sharing the patient-generated health data from all my sensors at home to help her make her diagnosis. The data from my sensors helped her determine I was not in immediate need of hospitalization. She asked for that data in every phone call after the original diagnosis, to better understand my progress,” says Maneesh Juneja, a London-based expert in wearables and sensors in healthcare.
Telehealth is a hit with patients overall. In a recent survey, 90% of those interviewed said they were satisfied with their telehealth experience.
“Consumers today are looking for convenience, transparency, and efficiency in all their transactions, including healthcare. Those providers that offer a seamless telehealth experience from scheduling to follow-up will earn a competitive advantage,” the survey report notes.
How ChronWell Can Help
ChronWell offers digital health services designed to help doctors and practices provide better care for their patients. Our Digital Health Solutions include virtual care through Chronic Care Management and Remote Patient Monitoring services that make it easier for doctors to support patients better through regular and accessible care.
If you’d like to find out more about setting up a CCM plan, speak to one of our experts today.
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