While the forces affecting the healthcare industry, today, have been made more complex by the global pandemic, the fact is many of the challenges are familiar. Market consolidation, payer shifts, and non-traditional players looking to disrupt the status quo, have all been around for a while.
What also has not changed is the underlying reason behind these shifts: patient expectations and demand. While their needs, traditionally, have fallen into three categories: fix me when I’m broken; sustain my health; and enhance my wellbeing; patients are increasingly looking at healthcare through the lens of a consumer. With this view, there is more scrutiny on cost, delivery efficiency, and convenience.
One of the most significant gaps we see is provider organizations struggling to understand and fulfill on what their consumers – patients – want and need.
Data fragmentation continues to be healthcare’s Achilles Heel, and that is behind much of the consumer/patient frustration. This leaves a lot of opportunity for those health systems that understand, address, and solve consumer needs. Those who are willing to make strategic investments in innovative technology systems, quickly, will advance. I say this not only as a technology executive, but a patient who has watched virtual care, such as the use of telemedicine for continuity of care, take a five-year leap in just few months, at the very early stages of the pandemic.
As a healthcare economy we hold great potential to reduce treatment expense and increase our investment in prevention. To get there though, we will need to embrace radical interoperability as the route to transformation. This isn’t a new concept - we often talk about the only way to create true, sustainable, change, is to balance investments across business and clinical operations.
The resulting cohesive approach has the effect of enhancing the patient experience by freeing clinicians to:
- Engage more with patients
- Focus on superior outcomes
- Lower costs
For healthcare leaders, the operational benefits include:
- Cost and productivity improvement
- Better revenue management
- Enhanced staff engagement
- More effective and efficient supply chain management
While all of this sounds radical, it is still centered on the patient, and their access to appropriate, affordable care. We have always known that the right care, at the right time and place, involves a delicate, ongoing balance across people and processes. That hasn’t and won’t ever change. What has changed is, technology exists – and continues to evolve - to connect around our core mission to personalize points of care to create happier, healthier, and more productive populations.
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