February 4, 2019
The 19th century was the era of an upsurge in technological advancements and its implementation in business. By the mid-twentieth century, information technology started being used across sectors for simplifying basic systems. Repetitive processes like accounting and payroll were made easier. Healthcare sector was also moving in pace with others in adopting IT in its system.
In the 1970s, integration of core processes was made possible through IT. Services were being developed to make businesses run operations in a smoother way through developed technologies. Healthcare Information Technology developed services like Electronic Health Cards in Germany and Eclipsis in the US.
Soon, there was a third uproar of Information Technology. This era was exploring digitization and its impact on business. So far, the healthcare sector was successful in adapting to the dynamic changes IT was bringing along with it. But in the early 2000s, Healthcare sector found the balance between stakeholders’ trust and IT advancements was a complex transition. Health payers and providers were developing systems like N3 Communications in the UK and Secure Telematics program in Germany, but using digitization for building a fully integrated system was still a challenge.
Healthcare IT can start evolving better by understanding what patients want and then build a system to deliver customer satisfaction.
Hence, breaking some major myths about patient’s expectations from Digital Healthcare is important.
Health payers and providers store sensitive information about their patients. This creates an assumption that the consumers may tend to not trust digital platforms with their medical records.
But according to a survey conducted by Transcend Insights in 2017, 71% of patients believe that it would be helpful if their doctors have access to their medical records. Another survey was done by Deloitte also revealed that 46% of patients are willing to share their EHR data with payers and providers.
Patients have high expectations of Health IT offerings from their providers. And Healthcare IT can start fulfilling these expectations by developing well thought multi-channel services.
The first step that Health payers and providers need to take is towards understanding its customers need. This can be done by doing research through surveys, focus groups, and comparative analysis.
It’s a fact that majority of the technologically advanced products and services are being used by millennials. But it’s a myth that Healthcare IT services do not have consumers of older age.
In fact, the survey reveals that more than 70% of the older population from UK, Germany, and Singapore want to use digital healthcare tools like virtual access points, online scheduling, online payment, and price transparency.
Though the preference of digital modes of communication and service type differs between the older and younger generations.
The younger generation may look out for services related to prevention and health promotion while the older generation wants more information on acute and chronic conditions. Older patients have also understood the importance of digital healthcare experience and hence, they keep exploring.
According to a survey done by Deloitte, older patients use digital healthcare system for seeking chronic related solutions and prescription refilling.
Health payers and providers need to segment their services considering the consumer type and their need.
Mobile health is the term coined for the health-related support given through mobile applications. There are more than 250 health apps that offer a broad range of services ranging from scheduling to online bill payments. But most of these apps lack clinical validation.
Also, mobile health attracts mostly the younger generation who seek basic guidance on health and fitness. As much information mobile apps can give, it still cannot provide solutions to most of the healthcare problems.
Other challenges that mobile health trend is facing are privacy protection, interoperability of the technology with EHR and other healthcare technologies, reliability on the app, multi-channel integration etc.
According to Black Book’s research, 92% of consumers say that improving customer experience should be the topmost priority strategy for Healthcare organizations. Majority of healthcare services have failed because of lack of relevance and distinction, inappropriate pricing, poor messaging and marketing.
A survey done by Deloitte reflected that relationship and trust are the top priorities for health care consumers. Health payers and providers must focus on offering a quality digital experience to its stakeholders. Patients are not expecting anything extraordinary from the digitization of healthcare.
But basic expectations like efficiency, better access to information, integrations with channels etc., must be built to the best of its quality.
For building a provider-patient relationship, Healthcare IT should build services that are related to enhanced digital scheduling, online bill payment, and patient-reported outcomes.
Noticing the trend of how aggressively every sector is utilizing IT to become more efficient, Healthcare sector feels the need of building a comprehensive, concrete structure to adopt digitization. But according to research, Healthcare sector doesn’t need to dive all – in.
Healthcare can build toward digitization by taking baby steps. Like mentioned earlier, healthcare consumers are mostly expecting quality service which solves basic, redundant and routine problems.
Organizations can start by gaining their stakeholders’ trust. Respecting the patient’s hesitation in sharing their medical records and data is as important as convincing the patient to adopt the system.
In due course of time, Health payers and providers can identify the gap between the demand and supply of its digital services. Identification of unmet needs and whitespaces in the process will give chances of innovating the system further. Thereafter, Healthcare organizations can develop a digital system in an effective manner.
Recent trends in Healthcare IT clearly show the potential this sector has for transitioning into digitization.
A patient-centric system needs to be developed by healthcare payers and providers. User friendliness, personalization, and cross channel applications need to be prioritized while building the system. A very recent study done by NTT Data shows that 78% of tech-savvy consumers believe that digital customer experience in healthcare sector needs improvement.
Segmentation of services is one other key aspect to be taken care of while designing a digital platform for healthcare consumers. Segmentation based on various factors such as investment, patient demand, and value created must be done. Segmenting services and audience will also help healthcare payers and providers in identifying gaps and whitespaces. These gaps will give room for further innovation.
Innovation is a continuous process. After identifying patient needs and delivering each patient a service customized digitally for them, healthcare organizations can focus on innovation by adding more complex high – value services.
Understanding digital customers must be the first ladder towards a digitized Healthcare platform. And now that major five myths about patients view on Digital healthcare have been busted, it should be leveraged by healthcare organizations for excelling in providing patients what they actually need today.