Industry leaders warn practices to embrace change
The coronavirus pandemic hit the healthcare industry in meteoric fashion, and technology continues to help medical practices shift, adapt and adjust.
Since early 2020, models of delivering patient care have dramatically changed, along with staffing challenges and a marked increase in the clinical content required by front and back office medical professionals.
Additionally, the division among us in how we respond to the coronavirus, its variants and the health and safety precautions available continues to add stress and complications to delivering care.
Technology has been and still is key in addressing these new challenges.
“General health care will be forever reimagined to consider hybrid ways of approaching services,” Danah Boyd, Founder And President of the Data & Society Research Institute and Principal Researcher at Microsoft, stated in a PEW Foundation study published in February on the “new normal” in 2025.
These new approaches will be supported by enhanced and new technologies in health care systems and standards in electronic records, some of which take effect in 2022.
And healthcare professionals resist these emerging technologies at their own peril.
“Healthcare professionals are notorious for avoiding new technological advances but embracing the future is one of the keys to continued success as a medical professional,” the International Council for Quality Care recently advised.
So, what does this mean for the medical professional in a mid-size clinical practice?
Experts have identified four main objectives behind the new and more use of technology in delivering health care:
Greater access to and reduced cost of health care. Appropriately applied, technology can connect more people to more health care services while lowering the unit cost of delivering care.
Consolidation and coordination of the delivery of health care. Consolidation of health care delivery allows clinics and hospitals to serve more patients with a wider range of services. Technology can manage the increased patient flow and coordinate care delivery.
Increased use of value-based care rather than fee-for-service care. Value-based care provides a financial incentive when patients remain healthy and their chronic care needs are appropriately met. Technologies can monitor patients, send reminders, and help them keep in regular communication with care providers.
Higher demand for elder care. As people live longer, the demographic change will mean an increased demand for long-term care and in-home care. It’s worth noting the widening trend of providing services, including health care, that help older Americans remain in their homes rather than nursing or care homes, when possible.
These objectives are not all new ideas — many technological advances in health care were in development prior to the pandemic — but are necessary to meet the changing health care landscape post-COVID-19.
Clinic-ology has identified these three top new and emerging technologies in health care, for 2022 and beyond. These will undoubtedly affect how front- and back-office health care professionals perform their roles. As the impacts become clear, clinics may need to change their internal processes to meet and adapt to these technology changes.
1. Digital delivery of healthcare.
Smart phones and devices connected to the internet are the simplest devices that allow for digital health care services. However, these technologies do more than allow for the delivery of care, in home care settings and other venues outside of a physician’s office, a clinic or a hospital. Digital technologies assist in transitioning from paper to electronic records and use data to use patient records in the most efficient ways.
2. Artificial intelligence.
The potential for artificial intelligence (AI) in the healthcare field is, like everywhere else, wide ranging. AI is not one technology but a collection of them. While AI is already used by providers and clients, it may prove key diagnosis and treatment recommendations, patient engagement and adherence, and administrative activities. Challenges to using AI in delivering and the administration of healthcare lie in implementation and ethical issues.
3. Semi-autonomous service robots.
This is future-thinking but probably not as far in the future as one would think. In fact, one recent study found 60% of healthcare leaders see robotic process automation (RPA) along with artificial intelligence as driving cost reductions in providing health care.
Automation can also be used with a virtual workforce and to streamline staff license retrieval and credentialing.
Clinic-ology understands that adopting new and new uses for technology is often difficult for healthcare professionals. It upends established processes and methodologies and challenges how team members think about healthcare delivery. However, achieving the proper use of technology in healthcare clinics is seen as critical by industry leaders. Clinic-ology’s online training modules and virtual (and in-person) workshops and consultations are tools available for a smoother transition.
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