As the healthcare industry moves towards a patient-oriented delivery model, more and more care providers are investing in technologies that can enhance their care quality. The traditional healthcare model mostly involved face-to-face meetings between the patient and the medical professional, and the delivery of care ends as soon as the patient walks out the door.
In a patient-centric approach, the individual’s health needs and desired health outcomes become the major determinant of every medical service they receive. They’re treated not only from a clinical perspective, but also from social, mental, emotional, and financial standpoints.
To achieve a patient-oriented care model, healthcare institutions invest in technologies that can improve their processes, such as patient portals, electronic medical records dashboards, and automated appointment reminder services.
Most of these digital health solutions aim at improving the patient experience. But another benefit of these technologies is that they can also result in better health outcomes.
Below are three ways healthcare technology helps improve patient outcomes.
Simplify Patient Admissions
The admission process typically involves multiple hand-offs between desks, prolonging the wait time for patients. This inefficient system negatively affects the patient experience, which can decrease their satisfaction with your overall care. Patients admit to leaving the clinic if they have to wait long for their turn with the physician.
A bigger issue is that long patient admission processes delay the delivery of necessary medical services and treatments. This is a serious problem, especially for patients in critical conditions. Even emergency rooms suffer from overcrowding.
Digitization and automation can simplify your admission process. You can make frequently used documents available on your website, such as new patient forms and insurance paperwork. It allows patients to fill them out before going to their appointment, minimizing their wait time.
Self-service kiosks can also streamline your administrative functions. These let your patients check themselves in without having to wait for a medical administrator to attend to their needs. Kiosks eliminate the need for desk-to-desk hand-offs and free up your staff for more important tasks.
Track Patient Flow Real-time
Patient flow is another part of the hospital workflow that commonly encounters bottlenecks. Just like the admissions process, holdups in patient flow can delay the delivery of medical services, which can impact health outcomes.
Common causes of delay in patient flow include incorrect ward placement, lack of available beds, and delayed diagnoses, among others. These can be solved with real-time location systems or RTLs.
Location systems keep track of patients, staff, and even equipment. You can see the location of people and things on a digital map, so you can quickly find what you need.
These RTLs can be integrated with centralized admission and discharge platforms. This way, you can keep track of patients that are about to be admitted and those who are ready to leave. The map also shows which rooms and beds are unoccupied. You can plot these details on a rooming or schedule planner to speed up your patient flow.
A rooming and schedule planner lets you plan the admission of patients more efficiently. You can prioritize people with the most critical conditions and assign them to a room immediately, potentially improving their health outcomes.
Ensure continuity of care following discharge
Digital health solutions not only improve the patient experience inside your hospital, they also extend the reach of your care outside the physical location of your healthcare institution. Continuity of care is critical to ensuring positive patient outcomes over time, reducing readmission rates.
Some healthcare technologies make health management easier for patients. One example is patient portals. This all-in-one platform has plenty of resources and self-help tools that support patient self-management. They can access their medical history records and clinical summaries so that they can stay on track of their treatment plan and recovery journey.
Patient portals also have a direct messaging feature. It allows them to ask their physicians simple questions about their health or treatment without having to go to the hospital. Some patients may hesitate to seek medical attention for minor issues. Having access to a patient portal helps ensure that they get the medical service they need, regardless of the severity of the issue.
Telehealth is another digital health solution that ensures continuity of care. People can receive the clinical service they need without having to go to the hospital. This reduces their waiting time and decongests the lobby of your hospital. Telehealth services also help patients cut down their expenses since they don’t have to spend on transportation for frequent hospital visits.
Patients who need to be monitored more closely benefit the most from telehealth. They can easily schedule virtual appointments and consultations, allowing their physician to easily notice any changes in their health that require a more in-depth assessment.
These applications of digitization show that healthcare firms can evolve from the traditional
care model to meet the increasing demand for quick, quality patient care. Healthcare providers should determine exactly which digital tools and capabilities will be helpful for their patients.
True healthcare is about understanding, recognizing, and solving each patient’s problems to improve their health, which is the goal of a patient-oriented care model.