Like most businesses, the strategies adopted by hospitals and clinics seem self-serving. Yet oftentimes, the one that successfully brings a good business return in investment, are those that put the customer both front and center. Despite reluctance, digital health is one of those strategies that will greatly empower patients and drive innovations as well.
Improving healthcare access remains elusive and the Covid pandemic has made it even more difficult. The demand for care services is unlikely to dip. For healthcare providers, adopting innovative strategies like standardized digital practices can create efficiencies and improve service deliveries that will lead to savings which could help drive costs and make care more affordable.
As if to belabor the point on the fragmentation that has long plagued healthcare, Reddy, and Jannsens write, “the Covid-19 crisis has prepared the ground for widespread adoption of digital healthcare solutions” that requires a fundamental rethinking in the use of digital platforms around key themes that include:
- Information transparency. The use of health registries to create a single source of truths for all stakeholders especially the patient reduces administrative burden as well as to enjoin patients in managing their medical care proactively.
- Interoperability. Holistic not siloed. Disparate patient records will remain an age-old problem as long as records remain in paper making collaboration and standardization of care difficult and costly.
- Claims processing. One word. Fraud. Transparent systems that support faster validation make a whole world of difference for the operations of care providers.
- Change from episodic to wellness-oriented care; from service-based to value-based healthcare. These two healthcare ideals deserve an article of their own but to simplify, these are about preventive health maintenance (prevention cost way less than cure) and results-based care incentives (better, not unguaranteed, care outcomes) both of which disrupt the payment model.
Overall, digital platforms will change care delivery models, like how telemedicine has abruptly transformed the patient visit. The world is looking at unprecedented change caused by this pandemic and healthcare players will have important decisions to make if they are to survive, thrive, or perish in this new normal.
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