Healthcare has always been at the forefront of using technology – every device that is used to detect, diagnose, and cure diseases and ailments are all testimony to this.
The global lockdown opened up a host of new opportunities and possibilities for technology in healthcare. With the growing focus on healthcare, especially in the post-covid world, traditional healthcare models may not be enough to cater to the growing demand for better patient care and enhanced clinical outcomes. We know that healthcare will be modernized through technology. Technology is embedded in all aspects of our lives, and it provides the scale and impact needed to enhance the quality of care and remove patient barriers to healthcare.
Considering the three crucial aspects of a patient journey, health systems have these opportunities to integrate technology for patient-centric solutions:
Patient Engagement Pre-visit
Provider Search: Patients are searching for providers and symptoms on the internet more than ever. The first touch point for health systems and providers is to be present on these platforms as specialists in their relevant specialty – primary care, specialist, or therapists. This provides easy access to the directory information, and a mandated login/authorized access for rating the experience which ensures genuine reviews for the provider online.
Cost of Service: To provide access to cost of care through the directory platform, this information can either be shared by the patients, i.e., be crowdsourced, or highlighted by the health systems themselves. To provide price transparency, these platforms can be devoid of sponsor or advertiser intervention.
Electronic Scheduling: Electronic scheduling is prevalent on the directory platforms and is being used increasingly by patients for the process’s convenience. Online scheduling of appointments is shown to improve patient experience and patient visits.
Symptom Search and Visit Prep: Providers and health systems can step further to engage the patient by providing information regarding their symptoms. Informing about the immediate home remedies for temporary relief and to prepare patients with the appropriate questions to ask during the visit.
Patient service: With patients being more comfortable interacting with a machine at the other end, chatbots, conversational AI, scheduling service, etc., are fast gaining acceptance with the patients and providers. These require practice specific training data to adapt to the patient and the physician.
Direct Patient Care
Telemedicine: Although telemedicine has been around for some time, the pandemic has reiterated the importance of remote consulting. Technology has been able to mimic an in-office visit. Further opportunities for complex visits lay in sending diagnostic equipment ahead of time and working with caregivers to set them up.
Enabling Physicians for better care: The physicians’ in-office experience can be augmented with technology that focuses on care and outcome. During patient visits, technology is being used to document the visit and procedure, thereby providing Physicians more face time with the patients. This is being achieved by making the mediation technology-heavy and light on the operations. Physicians can also be supported by providing quick access to a knowledge base that can be used for checking medication, protocols, etc. Embedded into the technology will be guidelines and regimens for care that would enable the Physicians to communicate these to the patients.
Patient Check-in: Long queues and wait time can inversely impact a patient’s experience. Seamless check-in experience and reduced waiting time can be achieved by automating check-in at entry, during visits.
Mobile Technology for Monitoring: We presently see some examples for monitoring diabetes and pregnancy on mobile apps. This has opened up opportunities for health systems to put in place similar solutions for more complex diseases. These apps can be key to manage patient compliance and condition monitoring.
Patient Check-out: Like long queues at check-in, patients often get harrowed with the time it takes for the check-out process. Technology can be integrated to make this a seamless process by integrating bill payment, insurance claim, medication, post-care, etc., and made available through online/mobile assistance.
Patient Engagement Post Visit
Patient Monitoring: Patients with chronic conditions need interaction with the physicians after a visit to check on compliance, daily care, medication, exercise, disease information. This can be delivered through an integrated system that carries the patient from the first touch-point to the end. Technology, specifically IoT (Internet of Things) enabled devices will play a huge part in ensuring care continues from the encounter room to the living room. Technology will be ubiquitous yet invisible, small yet powerful, and be indispensable to healthcare changing it for better.
Patient Service: With the world shrinking into our palms, healthcare should be accessible to where we are. A complete patient-centric interface to address all patient queries could be developed using conversational AI and chatbots. Engaging patients to help them take better care of themselves, pay for their service, and rely on services that enable them to get back to what they love to do.
There is a need to create an integrated health system to manage end-to-end patient journeys. The US is moving quickly towards breaking the patient barriers, and creating an ecosystem that can deliver better, safer, and more efficient care to their patients by using integrated practice management systems. In India, Healthcare Enterprises that adapt to emerging technologies could be the torchbearers for this change.
Dr. Muthu Krishnan, Chief Digital Transformation Officer, IKS Health
Dr. Muthu Krishnan is an accomplished Healthcare Technology veteran with over 25 years of experience. He possesses extensive expertise in helping organizations build a superior technology product portfolio that can help organizations succeed in highly competitive markets. As the Chief Digital Transformation officer, he is responsible for helping IKS Health make the key pivot from being a human-capital intensive, technology enabled enterprise to a technology-intensive, human-in-the-loop model. Dr. Krishnan received his Bachelor’s in Engineering from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas.
About IKS Health
IKS Health is a global healthcare solutions provider that helps Physician Enterprises deliver better, safer & more efficient care. Founded in 2006, IKS Health is committed to helping its enterprise healthcare clients deliver superior financial and clinical outcomes, while also empowering them to grow successfully, operate efficiently, and navigate industry change. IKS Health’s Product Portfolio is built with the aim of helping reduce the demand-supply gap in Healthcare, especially as demography shifts & other industry dynamics continue to widen that gap.
IKS Health’s globalized & centralized delivery model has created thousands of jobs in India with a diverse set of employees including revenue cycle management professionals, life sciences graduates, doctors, pharmacists, software developers and data scientists. IKS Health believes in nurturing professionals & empowering them to achieve their ambitions.