When it comes to patient engagement half the battle is understanding what the patient expects and the other half is meeting those expectations.
Patients, as consumers in other industries have rising expectations.
The healthcare consumerism movement has helped to bring patient expectations front and center.
Adapting healthcare from what has been convenient to the provider, to what is instead convenient for the consumer; offering patients fast, convenient service in the form of online payments, retail clinics, telemedicine, access to their data and an overall improved patient experience.
Healthcare consumerism enables the ‘Empowered Patient‘ as opposed to ‘Consumer‘ because after all, relatively healthy patients may shop for their healthcare, while those that are very sick will not.
So What are the Expectations of Patients?While no two patient populations are the same there are 8 patient expectations that healthcare organizations can’t ignore.
Each of the expectations listed above should be ingrained across the continuum of care – to ensure engagement throughout the patient’s journey.
Digital health capabilities are increasingly becoming more integrated with core healthcare platforms and provider workflows, leading to major changes in the way healthcare is being delivered.
There have been several recent developments in the application of technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and wearable devices that have been disruptive, have the potential to change the practice of medicine and transform population health management and precision medicine.
Innovations in areas such as mobile apps, the Internet of Things, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are being incorporated directly into healthcare applications.
As the digital health industry moves into the next wave of innovation, the following areas are those that many healthcare providers, payers, vendors, and digital health startups are targeting for development.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI capabilities will become increasingly accepted and used by healthcare professionals as a clinical decision support tool to identify potential risks, mitigate errors, recognize patterns, and improve disease diagnosis and treatment.
This technology framework has the potential to allow hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies to share data more securely, assuming the role of a trusted gatekeeper.
A substantial amount of funding has gone into the study of genes as researchers and providers pursue new disease treatment options and patients seek more tailored and personalized healthcare plans.
Internet of Things(IoT)
The use of data from portable devices and sensors has given providers more real-time information on patient health status and patients the ability to have tailor-made strategies to combat illnesses and to take a more proactive role in managing their health.
The major shift in this area is the evolution from standalone applications to ones that are more tightly integrated with legacy healthcare platforms and the clinicians who use them.
As technology becomes more affordable, remote treatment options continue to grow in popularity for both doctors and patients.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The use of VR and AR technologies will expand in healthcare for medical education and training, surgical support, other types of decision support, and pain management.
An evaluation framework jointly developed by the American Medical Association and MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare claims to identify a lack of EHR user-centered design and testing best practices among several of the most common EHR technologies.
The most glaring of evaluations concerns the ambulatory EHR designed by Epic Systems which scored 9 out of a possible 15 total points for its EHR usability processes.
As one of the architects of the EHR User-Centered Design Evaluation Framework warns, the findings do not represent the actual EHR usability of these EHR technologies.
The designers of the framework maintain that their work is an improvement on the “Low bar” set by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in its requirements for EHR usability and user-centered design as part of the EHR certification process.
“Physician experiences documented by the AMA demonstrate that most EHR systems fail to support effective and efficient clinical work, and continued issues with usability are a key factor driving low satisfaction with many EHR products,” AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD, stated.
“Our goal is to shine light on the low-bar of the certification process and how EHRs are designed and user-tested in order to drive improvements that respond to the urgent physician need for better designed EHR systems.”
The framework comprises eight usability principles culled from a much larger list required by ONC for the certified EHR technology required for the EHR Incentive Programs, including the user-centered design process, testing methodology, and testing results.
Source: EHR Intelligence
Just a couple years removed from the age of the electronic health records, technology that already seems dated and antiquated, is no longer monolithic and domineering to the space as it likely seemed in 2010.
The technology – EHRs were supposed to save healthcare and are now nothing but foundational.
When the promise of those solutions faded and as our attention forced us into new technologies we are now seeing developments in technology creating touch points that impact patients “Where they live” and has become the new force behind healthcare technology.
New consumer technologies have and will further level the field.
Finally, ancillary technology will become healthcare IT’s next big thing or the enterprise level professionals working in the space.
Bolt-on technologies will likely reign over current systems such as EHRs, which are falling short.
Stand-alone solutions like EHRs will be marginalized as foundational technology until better solutions replace them; perhaps new administrative technologies that completely surpass what it offered today.
Source: Electronic Health Reporter
Patient portals have the potential to simplify practice operations and reduce physician costs, but only if patients adopt and use them.
Here some of the key takeaways.
1. Physicians need to raise awareness about patient portal availability and benefits.
2. Patients still prefer hearing from physicians by phone, rather than through a portal, but younger patients are open to online appointment scheduling.
3. Almost half of patients report that their physician did not follow up with them after their visit. This is a significant opportunity for incentivizing patient portal usage.
Earlier this year, Google introduced structured, curated, and verified health information information into its Knowledge Graph smart search algorithm.
Initially, the feature was available for 400 conditions – but now Google has increased that number to over 900 conditions.
“We’re making sure to include neglected tropical diseases, a set of infections that affect over 1.5 billion people including 500 million children in poorer regions. We think it’s important for people to have facts on these diseases, such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, and Leishmaniasis. Today the feature is still only in U.S. English, but we plan to expand it to more languages and regions,” said Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager in the blog post announcement.
“We’re making sure to include Leishmaniasis of neglected tropical diseases, a set of infections that affect over 1.5 billion people including 500 million children in poorer regions. We think it’s important for people to have facts on these diseases, such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, and Leishmaniasis. Today the feature is still only in U.S. English, but we plan to expand it to more languages and regions,. noted”.
In the initial announcement, Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic verify in-depth information for health and medical conditions.
Google has worked closely with a team of doctors to curate and validate this information including positive, helpful feedback from users and medical professionals, and Dokeep working to bring useful health information to your fingertips, whether in the Google app or on desktop,” said Ramaswami.
According to Google, 1 in 20 Google searches are for health-related information.
Is your EHR vendor still solving your problems? This is a hard one to evaluate since meaningful use and EHR certification has hijacked the EHR development process.
An EHR vendor that’s doing the minimum necessary is just barely meeting the EHR certification and meaningful use requirements and never really responds to customer requests.
Does the salesperson have something new to sell you? If they do, it’s quite possible your EHR vendor has started focusing on some new product and not the EHR anymore.
Sadly, I think many EHR users know that their EHR vendor has stopped innovating their product.
Ask yourself the question, how does my EHR vendor approach solving challenging situations? If you talk to a lot of EHR vendors like I do, you can pretty quickly tell how an EHR vendor approaches problems.
The best EHR vendors dive deeply into the problem and not only solve the problem, but try to think of a better way to optimize everything surrounding the problem.
Source: EMR & EHR
A new study by Weill Cornell Medical College backs up previous reports that healthcare providers who adopt EHR early enjoy more financial gain than those who don’t.
“Early adopters of EHRs and participants in EHR incentive programs proved to have more financial capacity, better organization and better resources for supporting EHR implementation,” explains Health IT Outcomes’ Katie White.
The downside is that healthcare providers who have adopted EHR programs and subsequently participated in Medicaid incentive programs may be in a position to provide better care to their patients.
“If a digital divide develops, patients of doctors who keep paper – not electronic – records will have less reliable documentation and weaker communication between their healthcare providers. Those patients will not benefit from any quality improvements created by EHRs that are supported by the programs,” according to a statement from Weill Cornell.
“The expectation is that physicians and hospitals should be electronic,” Joshua Vest, assistant professor of healthcare policy and research at Weill Cornell said in a statement.
“How would everybody feel if only half of the banks were electronic nowadays? Without additional support to move forward there is the potential to stall out among those who don’t have the resources or capability to adopt EHRs.”.