With the drastic changes brought about by COVID-19, how will the healthcare industry keep up in the now normal? What strategies should be explored to offset the challenges in the road ahead?
The Corona Virus Health Emergency has instigated significant change in the world, reshaping businesses of every shape and size. It has brought challenges unseen before and is causing many businesses to rethink how they must operate to thrive in the new normal, including healthcare businesses. The pandemic has changed how healthcare centers and providers manage health services and interact with their patients.
While some experts are hopeful that a vaccine or advanced therapies will be developed soon, even if the coronavirus is brought to an end, many believe that our lives will be forever impacted by these past few months. Plexiglass shields might remain commonplace at checkout counters everywhere. Fist bumps or elbow bumps instead of handshakes may stay our standard greeting. One method of doctor-patient interaction that many health industry professionals have seen as a "big help" during COVID-19 outbreaks is likely to be with us in a more prominent role forever – digital healthcare.
Today, the future of the healthcare industry is also facing upend like all other business industries. Emergency rooms, primary care physicians, and other practical facilities are either dealing with overwhelm regarding COVID-19 patients or are feeling slowdowns as other patients are opting not to come in for fear of exposure. As a result, medical providers are struggling with how to offer necessary care to patients when those patients might be unwilling to come in to see them. That’s where the digital healthcare approach comes in.
It’s not new, but the realities of the past few months have definitely ignited new interest in tools and technology designed to facilitate healthcare at a distance. Digital healthcare has become the now normal. In fact, some health centers and hospitals are starting to switch to Telehealth, Online Portal, and other virtual care services as their primary initial interaction with patients for diagnosis and treatment offerings. Thus, as healthcare providers begin to transition and adjust, the Vimagery Team has curated a list of digital healthcare tools and protocols for you to consider to help you run your healthcare business successfully during and after the pandemic.
So, let's dive in...
1. Telehealth Tools
Not to be confused with telemedicine, which refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth is much broader in scope and can include remote non-clinical services. Telehealth is defined by the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration.
A Google Search for “e-healthcare provider systems” returns well over 300,000 results. With telehealth tools, patients have the ability to schedule check-ups, book appointments, and make inquiries straight from their mobile device or desktop. For healthcare providers, these tools allow them to efficiently manage all patient data, medical records, and appointments remotely with just a few clicks, along with staying on top of continuing education requirements and conducting administrative meetings remotely.
2. Virtual Medical Appointments
Due to concerns related to COVID-19, many patients have made an effort to avoid going to medical offices and hospitals over the past few months. Leveraging technology that has been around for quite some time, healthcare providers are switching to virtual appointments for check-ups and even initial diagnostic appointments. These telemedicine meetings, hosted on Zoom or GoToMeeting, are growing in popularity and provide practitioners with an ability to provide care to those who might otherwise not be in a position to or interested in attending an in-person appointment.
Tip: By merely tailoring your healthcare website with a web architect's expertise, you can implement virtual medical appointment capabilities with your clients.
3. Patient Portal
If you are a medical provider and you do not currently have a patient portal through which your patients can access their healthcare records, you are so very far behind your competition. Patient portals, however, offer many more capabilities than simple access to medical files. While there are tons of telehealth tools available, the most effective way to secure remote communications with patients is via an encrypted patient portal. These portals make it easy for your patients to book appointments, download their medical files, and follow prescription advice.
Tip: Patient portals offer significant return on investment. But, to ensure a well-functioning patient portal and, at the same time, avoid patient leakage, you might need to hire a digital agency that specializes in professional services.
4. Virtual Monitoring App
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and sometimes even prescription medications, are all essential keys to ensure that patients are in shape and living a healthy lifestyle. How do you monitor and enforce these regimens if you can't have in-person visits with your patients?
The answer is a virtual monitoring app.
A virtual monitoring app connects patients with their healthcare providers via digital communications. With these types of apps, health professionals can monitor a patient's wellbeing remotely. They allow for the remote checking of vital signs and monitoring of symptom progression. Once the patient's results are in, doctors or nurses will be notified, enabling them to do engage in a telemedicine appointment or push a treatment plan to the patient via the app.
Tip: There are many virtual monitoring apps available, but it is important to understand how each function both on the healthcare provider’s side as well as the patient’s side. An experienced digital marketer's advice might be a great help before selecting an app.
SERIOUS GAME CHANGER FOR PROFESSIONALS
A Quick Tip For Healthcare Providers
We cannot emphasize enough how digital health tools are rising in popularity. Many practices and patients are becoming more comfortable with leveraging technology to tackle routine healthcare tasks remotely. As a result, success in a healthcare business might be dependent on new technologies being implemented to keep your practice relevant as other providers also begin to make the shift. About 74% of patients are comfortable communicating with their doctors using technology instead of having to always visit with them in person. That's why the Vimagery Team encourages healthcare providers to set up their digital health tools and apps, to fully integrate them into the day-to-day operations, in order to make healthcare more accessible to all patients, even those disinterested or unable to attend in-person appointments.
Patients' Electronic Health Records (EHR)
The world has been transformed by digital technologies like mobile phones, computers, and the internet. Throw in a pandemic and shelter in place orders, and the face of modern healthcare is rapidly changing. Nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) office-based physicians have adopted electronic health records (EHR) as a standard tool for their patients. Because of incredible "design to share features," EHR allows doctors to quickly share a patient's medical records with other specialists, healthcare providers, laboratories, and with the patient as well. With EHR, a medical health record is available anywhere and at any time when there's an emergency and so long as reliable internet connectivity is available.
Tip: By having EHR technology coupled with a digital agency's expertise, you will be better positioned to serve your target market.
Today, digital healthcare is currently considered the new normal and eventually will become the norm after Covid-19. It is an excellent method to ensure the health industry's future by making the quality of hospital services and primary care more accessible and convenient for many people amidst the pandemic. Digital healthcare will also help you keep your healthcare business afloat during and after the recession that is associated with government shutdowns and actions meant to slow the spread of the virus.
Pros: Successfully treat Covid-19 patients without getting infected
The healthcare industry around the world is facing challenges. As health providers work to cure everyone, especially Covid-19 patients, there is a need to transform and improve efficiencies. That's why there is a need to shift to the digital healthcare approach. While this shift to digital has been difficult, it is becoming a necessary tool for medical providers to successfully treat the ill and avoid getting infected.
Cons: Tedious, Time-consuming, Costly
Setting up an integrated digital healthcare system within your practice might be tedious and time-consuming. It can also be expensive. So, to avoid feeling overwhelmed, weigh the pros and cons, and from that, decide whether you'll create a digital healthcare system or not.
The healthcare industry is uniquely challenged by what the pandemic has done over the past few months. If you are overwhelmed by how to embrace the changes propelling medical practices into tomorrow, click here to see if you qualify for a Vimagery Strategy Session. Together, we can help shortcut your efforts to cultivate, convert, and close new clients in the weeks and months ahead.