In a previous post I wrote about the necessity of modern healthcare not just incorporating technology’s increasing role, but embracing it. Well, there are several ways we can truly take advantage of this new digital frontier in the industry. From facilitating conversation and increasing patient engagement to bolstering current data and better educating ourselves, the sky is the limit.
Communication has never been as convenient as it is now. With nearly innumerable options to speak in the form of email, forums, or mobile applications, patients and caretakers are able to maintain contact at the literal touch of a finger. In fact, a survey conducted by Kaiser Permente found that “more than one in three respondents who used email to communicate with providers said doing so reduced their phone contacts or office visits.” Not to mention, 91% of American adults send and receive email, indicating that medical professionals should be doing all that is in their power to take full advantage of this clearly pervasive medium of communication.
Patient Web Portals
Considering the internet’s reputation for misinformation, it is certainly to the advantage of the medical industry to provide an informational and intuitive resource for patients. According to a study based on a healthcare system that is based in Idaho, patient portals “benefit patient care and provider workflow.” To elaborate, patients specifically cited that they enjoyed being able to:
- “Communicate directly with provider”
- “Ask questions in between visits without having to make a phone call”
- “Submit questions online for medications and referrals”
Even more significant, it was claimed that a number of patients actually chose the Idaho group specifically because of the portal in the first place. From healthcare’s side, the portal made the organization more efficient because it allowed for more flexibility in the allocation of time and resources. For instance, it takes staff less time to respond to an email than it does to place, receive, and transfer phone calls.
The prevalence of mobile technology allows patients to access medical forums patient portals, and emails at anytime, anywhere in the world. By optimizing these web portals for mobile technology, healthcare professionals are notably encouraging patient engagement. Additionally, optimizing for these mobile devices will also bolster data collection by simple virtue of increased participation from patients.
By integrating, implementing, and continually innovating digital healthcare, the medical industry will increase satisfaction rates, disseminate proper knowledge, and ultimately, save more lives.