When it comes to the way healthcare is administered, many providers have struggled to innovate.
There is of course good reason for this – when precious internal resources are needed for treating the sick, few remain to redesign patient experiences and build the technological expertise necessary to integrate the latest digital tools.
The catch is, redesigning and digitalisation hold incredible potential for improving the efficiency of healthcare and the outcomes of patients.
While there is no replacement for the expertise and care of a trained professional, there are some patient interactions that digital tools can take over, freeing resources to be redirected towards more pressing patient needs.
So, where should teams looking to implement the latest technology in the least amount of time begin?
Across nearly every other industry, players are digitising key processes to drive better outcomes.
In retail, for example, both in-store and at home, customers are interacting with brands through personal devices or digital kiosks and having better experiences while brands save on overheads.
Healthcare has different requirements, but there may still be something to learn from private sector consumer businesses.
Putting the experience of the patient first may be the answer to driving efficiency and saving resources.
The Patient Experience
For organisations struggling to digitally transform, a good first step is usually to try and gain the best possible understanding of the service user experience.
Use both qualitative and quantitative data to map out the patient journey.
Only organisations that understand on a human level the emotions and experiences their patients are going through will be able to design an optimal experience.
The focus must be to identify all the points of friction because then it becomes possible to develop solutions to improve.
Positive experiences must be put at the heart of the healthcare offering in order to drive better patient outcomes.
The pandemic showed us the importance of engaging with patients remotely and many patients realised the benefits of engaging with their healthcare provider from home as well.
An engaging, interactive and intuitive digital experience could be the key to reducing readmittance for patients undergoing post-treatment care or suffering from chronic illness.
This in turn frees up resources that organisations can reinvest in treating net new patients.
The Pill+ Model
The organisations that have been able to most successfully integrate digital patient care decided to treat the patient experience like the private sector treats the customer experiences.
In other words, the patient is treated like a VIP.
This is the core of the Pill+ Model, adopted by Syneos Health companies and designed by Beyond.
The aim of this digital form of treatment is to provide patients with healthy living tools and educational materials to improve overall health.
Web or app based digital tools provide additional value and work alongside pills, helping patients to self-manage their care.
Digital resources can give patients access to education through portals or alerts, while reminding patients to take medication and engage in other best practices.
This can directly drive better outcomes for patients and provide useful tools for professionals to better track their disease.
The role of community
There is perhaps a greater gift though that digital tools can offer patients than ease of self-management and that is community.
The last decade has shown us the power of technology to bring people together and there’s no reason why healthcare organisations should not be embracing and leveraging these capabilities.
The fact is, while healthcare practitioners are often experts in the ailments they treat, there is no replacement for a community of like-minded people with similar experiences to help and encourage each other.
Support groups are a fairly common part of the inpatient experience but after patients are discharged, there are more opportunities to connect them with those in similar circumstances so they can share knowledge, resources and anecdotes.
The power of digital
When resources are spread thin, it can be a difficult time to introduce new methodology or even ways of thinking.
But there is a lot to be gained by digitally transforming the way healthcare is administered to patients recovering from intensive treatment or suffering from chronic illness.
Not only can digital tools help to drive better patient outcomes, they can work alongside practitioners to free up vital resources for where they are most needed.