Getting ahead of the digital health avalanche

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Getting ahead of the digital health avalanche

Many medical procedures require patients to have consistent products prior to the procedure. Knee surgery may require items in the home, for example, such as a shower chair or a walker. Additionally, there are consent forms and patient education materials that need to be reviewed and completed prior to the procedure.

Patients turn to their medical providers for trusted advice. About half of calls to maternity departments are product-related and many dermatology visits involve patients asking for over-the-counter product recommendations. Why does each request have to be manually addressed? How much simpler would it be if a person coming in for a procedure was automatically sent the required materials or a new mom emailed a list of recommended supplies?

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Instead of clinicians manually ordering these items, parameters can be established to automatically trigger these orders when a procedure is scheduled. These parameters can also initiate an insurance formulary check, so providers are only shown those options that are covered by the payor. Automation eases the clinician workflow and informs patients, which can lead to better adherence to treatment plans.

Analytics informing strategy
At the end of the day, hospitals need to know that the initiatives they are devoting time and resources to work. Analytics can show who watched the patient education video, completed the requested paperwork, arrived via the transportation service and used the CPAP machine as directed, which can be of elevated importance leading up to a heart procedure.

Data can also determine how certain subsections of patients respond. No persons are the same and technology can incorporate social determinants to offer clues about what intervention options and communication approaches will work with different patient populations, further improving patient retention and adherence rates.

Healthcare has entered a new era, where patients expect tailored, convenient care. Especially in today’s age of transient patients, hospitals need flexibility and convenient care strategies to remain competitive. Integrating digital health tools in a way that engages patients, while also considering what is covered by insurance and fitting within the physician workflow, will help healthcare organizations retain patients and help them be more compliant with treatment recommendations.

Mike McSherry is CEO of Xealth, a platform for digital health, enabling clinicians to order and monitor digital tools from within the EHR workflow.

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