Patients Expect Engaging, Digital Healthcare with Affordability and Continuity

Keshav Jeet

Internet and mobile technology have transformed the consumer mindset in all the industries, and this is increasingly happening as we advance in this digital age. The awareness among consumers is increasing and so are their expectations.

This is no different for the healthcare industry. Consumerization has seeped in and patients have come to expect seamless, customer-centric experience from healthcare as well. The fee for service model doesn’t work for them anymore. They want value-based care today. Moreover, the definition of care isn’t limited to patient’s discharge anymore. The ambit of care delivery has expanded much further.

Similar to how it’s happening in other industries, expectations of healthcare consumers or patients are also evolving along with the evolution in the healthcare landscape. They want healthcare services to be in alignment with their expectations.

Read: How Mobile Health Benefits Patients, Service Providers, and Investors

This blog focuses on those expectations and shares why it’s important for providers to meet them and how they should go about it.

Providers should invest in patient engagement

To a great extent, the effectiveness of a healthcare model depends on how engaged patients are with the provider. This factor has a strong grip on the overall patient experience. While patient engagement surely has been a success-mantra for all healthcare organizations irrespective of their scale and operation; it’s slowly moving ahead from a value-addition to bare-minimum. It’s one of the major expectations of patients today.

Patients want to be more involved in care delivery now. They want to spend more facetime with the doctor to get answers to all their questions. They want their concerns to be heard and addressed.

This has generated a need for a revamped approach to care. Healthcare organizations have started to move from fee-for-service model to value-based care. They’re bringing about a human-touch in treatment. This means it’s not physical health they’re focusing on. Instead, they’re ensuring the emotional well-being of patients thought their treatment cycle.

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To improve patient engagement and experience, providers must communicate with patients regularly and maintain transparency in communication. They should also educate their patients to increase their awareness and help them make better health decisions.

It’s important to remember that only the organizations that are paying due attention to the patient-centric model will succeed. Those failing to strive for strong patient engagement will soon find themselves lagging behind in the competition.

There should be more focus on digital healthcare solutions

Digital application in care delivery has shown impressive results in health improvements and that’s why its adoption is on the rise. Providers have been using digital tools to serve the care needs of their patients, whenever and wherever needed.

For example, electronic health and medical records have equipped doctors and clinicians to know the complete profile of their patients, enabling them to plan an information-driven treatment. Wearable devices have further encouraged patients to manage their health using real-time vital information about their body.

Read: How Healthcare Providers Can Engage Employees with EHR

digital healthcare solutions
Source: Pexels

Patients, especially from the younger population, consider digital healthcare solutions one of the top priorities.

They believe that these tools can enhance their interactions with the provider while helping them stay on top of their treatment. They can use patient portals to understand the effectiveness of their treatment and have a better say in the care process.

Technology like telemedicine has brought access to proper healthcare even to those in remote locations and/or unable to make frequent visits to hospitals.

At the same time, they make their journey through the care plan seamless and hasslefree.

Patient and hospital management systems can be highly effective in transforming patient experience by facilitating bill payments, appointment scheduling, reminders, prescription filling, claim processing etc.

Providers should work with developers to design digital tools and solutions that can meet patient expectations.

Affordable care should be a top priority

As much as the quality of care determines the experience of the patient, it’s also the affordability of the treatment which absolutely can’t be ignored. Rising healthcare costs are one of the reasons why adequate healthcare access isn’t available to all.

Excessive health expenses also force a number of patients to delay their treatment, if not avoid it totally. This is a potential hurdle in early detection of ailments and following the best course of treatment. Many times, no insurance can also contribute to this situation.

Digital Healthcare strategy
Source: Pexels

Like all other industries, evolving consumerism making affordability a priority in the healthcare industry.

Patients expect value-based services which are well within their reach. They want to be communicated about the financial considerations including out-of-pocket expenses before the treatment is offered. This way, they make an informed decision by comparing cost and value.

Some of the existing challenges for the patient are lack of understanding of medical costs, coverage, and claims. That’s why, despite an insurance coverage, many patients have to pay a lot from their personal savings.

To meet this expectation, providers should ensure to communicate financial aspects of the treatment process to patients and help the receive an affordable care. This is a crucial aspect as patients may link affordability directly with the quality of care.

Patient satisfaction is synonymous to continuity of care

Continued care is another determinant in patient experience and has found an important place in patients’ list of expectations from the providers. Care isn’t a one-time thing, and it doesn’t end with discharge from the hospital.

It starts with the first appointment scheduling and continues to be there throughout a patient’s healthcare journey. That’s what care continuity is all about. It’s about the quality of care delivered over time.

The recent shift in patient preferences has also made care continuity a crucial consideration for healthcare organizations. This includes better coordination between departments and doctors.

There needs to be fewer repeated tests and shorter waiting times. In addition to this, patients want better communication from providers both during and after the visit to keep a track of their health.

Also, comprehensive healthcare needs of a patient today are difficult to be met by a single entity or person today. Holistic care involves seamless integration, coordination, and data sharing from multiple departments.

Therefore, healthcare organizations should develop a multidimensional framework to establish a unified healthcare system.

Perhaps the most important fabric in care continuity is the need of patients for comprehensive care as a person.

While a high patient satisfaction index does depend on continued care delivery, patient experience alone is not the right measure for the effectiveness of continuity. There are other factors like how an individual case was handled and how effective multidisciplinary coordination was.

Conclusion

Given the pace of patient empowerment, managing the expectations of patients isn’t going to be optional for healthcare providers. They’ll need to revamp the model to fill the existing gaps in care delivery and enhance the patient experience.

What’s evident here is that providers will have to upgrade their service delivery, be more patient-focused, set goals with a patient-centric approach, and make a psychological connect with their patients for better understanding.

While this may put additional pressure on the providers, especially considering the limited resources and bandwidth of medical professionals, it can open the door to new opportunities.

At a time when healthcare consumerism is more powerful than ever, organizations meeting patient expectations will be sure to gain a competitive edge.

As for patients, the revamped model will ensure that affordable and quality care is available to all, irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

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about the author

Keshav Jeet

Keshav is the most creative and innovative thinker who is never isolated with the bandwidth. He always strives to bring out the potential of technology to deliver a remarkable impact. Started as a programmer he gradually gained expertise in Developing, Designing and Architecting solutions for startups and enterprise. He has varied experience from healthcare, public procurement, ERP and mobility. He helps clients ideate, innovates and uses cutting-edge technologies to solve real-world problems. He brings technological leadership, by evaluating and implementing solutions on next-generation technologies.