3 Ways Digital Technology is Transforming Healthcare
Digital technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, making it easier for providers to share research, manage information and deliver care. But one area where providers are still playing catch-up is improving the digital user experience.
In fact, more than 75 percent of tech-savvy people say their digital healthcare experience can be improved, according to an NTT Data Services survey, while half of this same cohort say they would leave their current provider for a better digital healthcare experience elsewhere.
Fortunately, providers are beginning to take steps to meet consumer demand for improved digital healthcare. Here are three digital technology trends that are beginning to make an impact throughout the healthcare continuum.
- Streamlining Common Customer Service Requests
One way digital technology is already improving people’s healthcare experience is by saving them time by way of automated self-service options. These days, routine tasks like searching for a doctor or specialist, filling a prescription, making an appointment, or paying a bill can be handled efficiently through automated tools.
For instance, providers that utilize a call center in the cloud can provide patients with a variety of services through IVR that automates common service tasks traditionally handled by two-way conversation. CVS Pharmacy, for example, uses IVR to let customers schedule refills and receive automated reminders when those prescriptions are ready.
Additionally, doctor’s offices are using IVR to make it easier for patients to pay their bills, with the number of providers offering IVR payment options growing from 7 percent to 50 percent in 2017. Meantime, web portals and chatbots are other automated tools that providers have adopted as self-service options.
- Speeding Up Hospital Visits
Digital technology is also helping lessen wait times at hospitals by speeding up the flow of healthcare information. One factor that traditionally causes long hospital waits is the slow flow of information as patients
- Fill out forms
- Nurses share information with doctors
- Doctors exchange information with pharmacies and testing labs
Using the cloud to speed up this flow of information is helping providers lessen hospital wait times. To accelerate this information workflow, providers are using electronic health information exchange systems to securely transfer patients’ medical information.
HIE systems let providers exchange information like lab results and medication lists with each other in order to coordinate care. For instance, a doctor handling the care of a pregnant woman can automatically call up a pregnancy care record. This is great news for many patients, as more than 80 percent say using HIE systems improves care quality, a HEALTHeLINK survey found.
- Delivering Remote Telehealth Services
Another way digital technology is improving the healthcare user experience is by enabling providers to deliver telehealth services. For example, military hospitals now use Fitbits to track the sleep, daily routine and exercise patterns of patients who risk hospitalization if their health status isn’t monitored between clinic visits.
Another way providers are offering remote care is by using the cloud and video chat technology to deliver virtual visits for certain routine matters. Providing e-prescriptions, sharing oncology results and scheduling pre-surgical consults can often be handled remotely.
Today, thanks to digital technology, healthcare providers now have the ability to decrease patient wait times and expedite prescription refills. In addition to these improved efficiencies, the exchanging of electronic health information through various providers is also speeding up the process of obtaining patients’ vital information.
Plus, through advancing technology, patients are even able to receive remote health care services via wearables and video chat. And as the adoption of digital technology throughout the healthcare continuum grows, patients can expect to enjoy increasingly better service from providers, who face rising pressure and competition to deliver superior user experiences.