Sponsored: The future of patient access

Connected, engaged patients are no longer the future, but today’s reality. Jump into this Healthcare Perspectives to learn about advances in consumer and health-focused technology.
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HIMSS Innovation Center

A noticeable shift is underway in patient access, along with the processes and technologies to provide high quality, patient-centric care at an affordable cost. A slow-moving, one-size-fits-all approach is no longer good enough.

The future leaders of healthcare will be determined by an ability to deploy the appropriate mix of clinical and operational assets across the continuum of care. Integration models that span the healthcare journey promote accountability for patient populations by improving care coordination, encouraging investment in infrastructure and redesigning care around quality. This revolution requires healthcare organizations to redesign their organizational structures and business models to meet evolving patient needs and a shift to outpatient services.

At the Global Center for Health Innovation, several organizations are making this vision of the future a reality. On the cutting edge of healthcare delivery, HIMSS Innovation Center collaborating organizations are working to integrate technological solutions to the most fundamental problems in healthcare today. It begins with the first contact, continues through the delivery of care and extends past the clinical consultation. As a result, patients have quicker, more efficient access to the right care when, where and how they need it.

Making Contact a Positive First Impression

Imagine patients wishing to embark on their healthcare journeys. They expect to connect with their providers the same way they connect with their banks or airlines or retailers: through online chat, text message, phone call or email. They do not expect to be put on hold for long periods, or transferred around different departments, trying to find the right one. All too often, however, this is the reality in healthcare.

To meet patient expectations, healthcare organizations must have well-designed and optimized patient access strategies built around an efficiently operated contact center model. The contact center is often the first point of engagement between patient and provider. Healthcare organizations must ensure it is a positive patient experience on which a lasting relationship can be built. In an environment where the majority (65 percent) of physicians now work within healthcare systems, it is essential that contact centers are organized and operated to maximize efficiency so that patients can be directed where they need to go.

Care Driven by Consumer Demand

Once the connection is made, it is no longer the case that patients who wish to receive high-quality medical care must travel long distances to physical locations. Patients can receive care in a multitude of ways. The use of smart, connected devices now enables care to be brought to patients, no matter where they are.

A strong technology infrastructure not only enables state of the art healthcare call centers to connect with their patients, it also makes remote patient monitoring a reality.

Part of making this leap towards the Internet of Things for healthcare is the design of devices that people can use intuitively. Ergonomic, wearable health-monitoring devices enable continuous monitoring of ECG, skin temperature, heart rate, posture and a range of other health indicators is now being deployed by tenants of the Global Center for Health Innovation and the HIMSS Innovation Center collaborating organizations that are easy to use and fits seamlessly into the care journey of patients. Meaningful information is fed back to patients and physicians via smartphones and web portals.

Other advancements improve care by giving patients the power to engage in their health, 24/7, from the comfort of their homes through well-designed medical device technology. Even when a visit to a brick and mortar hospital is the most suitable way to deliver care, healthcare systems are innovating with new approaches. Effectively managing a patient through the continuum of care requires sophisticated data analytics to support mobile technology, virtual visits and connectivity back to the brick and mortar settings. The availability of data to and from devices needs to be interpreted, analyzed and presented in a meaningful way for patient use.

Post-visit Care Suited to Patient Needs Helps Improve Outcomes

While hospital buildings as centers of excellence will remain essential, more and more follow-up care is being delivered virtually. Healthcare doesn’t end when the patient visit – virtual or real – is over. Using connected devices means patients can be monitored and connected at all times. Post-discharge follow-up programs, such as those run by the by tenants of the Global Center for Health Innovation and the HIMSS Innovation Center collaborating organizations, deliver care to patients after the visit to ensure they adhere to medication and discharge instructions.

The future of healthcare is happening now. These organizations, through collaboration and innovation, are working to ensure that as many patients as possible have access to the highest quality care; this is the measure of a successful healthcare system. With the advances in personalized technology, data analytics, and flexible operational models, a patient-centered, value-based model of care is emerging from the hype as something tangible and real.

Patients, providers and technologists are partners in the delivery care, working together to give the right care, to the right person, at the right time.

Perspectives in Healthcare is a joint publication developed by the tenants of the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland, OH.