Emerging technologies in healthcare are changing the practice of medicine, and it can be difficult to stay current. As patients become more proficient in using digital devices, they have more opportunities to participate in their care. This means providers must consider the patient’s experience at every stage in the continuum of care.
Read on to learn how innovative digital solutions for patient-focused healthcare can help your patients achieve desired outcomes more effectively and efficiently.
- Patient-focused care takes a holistic view of how patients experience their medical conditions.
- Digital solutions include digital therapeutics, telehealth, artificial intelligence, machine learning software, sensors, and others.
- To assess the effectiveness of your digital solutions for patient-focused healthcare, your organization needs to have a system in place to accurately measure outcomes.
What is Patient-Focused Healthcare?
Patient-focused healthcare requires trusted partnerships between patients, providers, healthcare systems, and third-party payors.
In the early 2000s, person-centered care took the stage as providers and healthcare systems shifted away from the notion that a patient’s role was simply to comply with physician orders. The person-centered approach has historically addressed chronic disease management in terms of episodic treatments, with a focus on the condition itself.
In contrast, patient-focused care takes a more holistic view of how patients experience their medical conditions in the context of their daily lives. To achieve patient-focused care, patients and providers must build and maintain trusted, collaborative partnerships. This is what makes shared decision-making possible.
The foundation of patient-centered care is built on respect—respect for patient values, preferences, and choices about their health. To fully embrace a patient-focused care model, every treatment decision inside this model must be determined while viewing the patient as a unique individual.
Unique patient characteristics include:
- Health goals
- Socioeconomic status
Emerging technologies in healthcare delivery encourage patients to take an active role in their care, positioning them as directors rather than participants in their treatment journey. This flattens the hierarchy among members of the care team and promotes a spirit of equality where all voices are important within the continuum of care.
Multi-specialist medicine has to some degree undermined patient-focused care, fragmenting the patient experience and limiting the ability of providers to build long-standing relationships with patients.
In this new patient-focused paradigm, successful health outcomes must be measured against patient personal goals and evidence-based guidelines. Providers cannot achieve desired outcomes without the patient’s commitment and action.
Benefits of Digital Health
The FDA defines digital health as “mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine.” Digital health technologies include digital therapeutics, mobile apps, artificial intelligence, machine learning software, sensors, among others.
However, digital health technology is not patient-focused unless it supports the patient’s health in a positive way. For example, when a patient requests a specific medication that does not have sufficient evidence of efficacy, providing the prescription is not necessarily patient-centered care.
Effective digital health innovations must strengthen patient-provider relationships, enable meaningful and actionable communication, educate patients about how to self-manage their health, encourage patient engagement, or achieve another positive outcome.
Examples of digital health technology benefits:
- Reduces human error
- Increases efficiency
- Reduces stigma
- Increases patient satisfaction
- Improves patient access to care
- Reduces friction in communications
- Increases patient engagement
- Reduces costs
- Increases speed
- Reduces staffing needs and burdens
- Improves billing experience
- Increases consistency
- Enhances workflows
- Increases patient caseloads
- Improves personalization
- Increases quality of care
Patient-Focused Healthcare Technologies
With the rapidly changing perception and adoption of digital technologies, patient-focused technologies augment traditional healthcare by improving patient engagement, satisfaction, and outcomes.
1. Digital Therapeutics (DTx)
Digital therapeutics are clinically validated technologies that treat, prevent, or manage medical conditions. Examples of digital therapeutics include wearables, such as heart rate monitors, activity trackers, blood glucose monitors, and pulse oximeters. The pharmaceutical industry is also exploring the use of software-based drugs.
DTx technology enables personalized medicine. For example, artificial pancreas systems integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to provide precise insulin dosages similar to that of the human pancreas.
With digital health innovation, treatments are consistent, reducing the risk of human error and negative outcomes.
Telehealth grew deeper roots during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts expect the trend to continue as patients have come to value the convenience of telemedicine. One study found that 97.1% of patients and 100% of caregivers felt comfortable having sensitive and emotional conversations by video.
Telemedicine appears to have further growth potential, with some industry leaders considering it to be a digital form of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Surgeons can also use telemedicine to extend their geographical reach since patients no longer need to travel long distances to complete follow-up visits after surgery.
Virtual care is a patient-focused approach that may also allow clinicians deeper insights into their patients’ everyday lives.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is defined as “computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence.”
These innovative digital solutions include chatbots, robotics, virtual assistants, and other tools to identify and treat patients based on evidence-based algorithms. Using predictive analysis and pattern recognition technologies, patients receive timely, appropriate, and consistent treatment.
Surgeons are integrating robotic surgery technologies into their workflows, resulting in smaller incisions, greater precision, and shorter patient recovery times.
To assess the effectiveness of your digital solutions for patient-focused healthcare, your organization needs to have a system in place to accurately collect, analyze, and measure outcomes.
Wellbe’s Digital Solutions for Patient-Focused Healthcare
Wellbe offers a digital patient enablement solution in support of patient-focused healthcare.
Providers who use innovative technologies understand their patients on a deeper level, enabling them to achieve shared goals and outcomes. To accomplish this end, providers must be able to accurately measure outcomes related to patient-focused care, which requires a responsive platform that aligns with organizational goals.
Wellbe can help you elevate your patient-focused healthcare approach with innovative digital technologies. Contact us today to learn more about our patient enablement platform and automated guided workflow solutions.