The healthcare system has rapidly evolved to meet the needs of patients and staff, including making services available in remote areas via electronic devices. Such has been evident during the pandemic, when most physical operations were limited, forcing health organizations to fill in the gap via virtual care.
Transitioning to telehealth solutions has been a bumpy ride for most health facilities but has also been an eye-opener that revealed technology’s future. The healthcare industry has been slacking in regards to adopting virtual models compared to other sectors.
Because of the shift of events in recent years, more and more companies are looking into making maximum use of telehealth. It offers convenience to most patients and allows providers to reach out to people regardless of the distance.
Organizations need to create a comprehensive plan to realize telehealth’s full potential beyond just service provision. Below is how healthcare organizations can optimize telemedicine for both patients and healthcare givers.
Customize tools to meet patients’ specific needs
When designing a platform for patients, you want to ensure that their needs are at the forefront. Include messaging tools that enable secure chats between a patient and the doctor or other health providers. While the platform may require patients to schedule appointments, it should also offer emergency services to connect with a doctor immediately.
An effective tool should support capturing and storage of patient data, including diagnostic results. Asynchronous and synchronous data transmission enables both clients and specialists to access important information when need be. The space needs to allow communication between providers, such as supporting video-based meetings.
Align the virtual models
Offer a seamless patient and provider experience
User experience largely determines how well both patients and healthcare providers will embrace the virtual model. A telehealth platform shouldn’t be a complex place to maneuver but should be an easier option that integrates with in-person services. Organizations should prioritize professionalism and work with web designers and other tech gurus to create a channel or platform which is easy to navigate.
Challenges that may present include conducting diagnoses such as blood tests. Events like these require patients to take an extra step to complete the test. Including testing organizations in their transformation may help the healthcare industry bridge the gap.
However, the future is promising as web-based clinical diagnosis systems use artificial intelligence, making it possible to screen respiratory problems, including asthma. Such tools are convenient for patients, help them manage their conditions as required, and generally improve their quality of life.
Certain apps allow patients to upload information, making it easier for the providers to monitor their patient’s progress. While instant digital transformation is unlikely, things like inventing apps and sites are steps in the right direction.
Sync the system with that of providers’ schedule
The providers should fully embrace telehealth for it to be effective and reach its full function. A complex system that requires the staff to go out of their way may not result in the best outcomes.
The apps and tools used need to blend with the routine duties of doctors, nurses and specialists instead of requiring additional tasks. Accuracy in these electronic systems is of essence to avoid serious problems such as misdiagnosis. For instance, a tool designed to track blood sugar levels should be error-free.
Create a system that is inclusive of all populations
While digital platforms may transform the healthcare industry for the better, some populations can be left behind, or some instances may not be favorable for them. Since internet access is necessary for the applicability of telehealth, this may pose a limitation for the latter’s success.
For example, people with no internet access or those unable to get devices like smartphones and computers may not benefit from telemedicine. Organizations need to consider the digital divide and create a healthcare experience favorable for every population.
Telehealth facilitates the care continuum, which results in better patient outcomes. Health facilities that integrate technology in the provision of their services are taking a step in the right direction because, in the future, more and more patients will rely on technology-based services. To make their scope more comprehensive yet effective, organizations need to involve patients and providers in the implementation process.