Why Technology Encourages Patient-Centered Care
Patient-centered care is becoming a more popular phrase. Providers are seeking to give their patients greater autonomy, access, and control in their own healthcare journey, and one way to do so is to integrate new technology into their practices.
New technology can sometimes be received with suspicion, especially in the context of replacing labor typically provided by humans. But in practice, technologies that rely on artificial intelligence, cloud-based data storage, or machine learning can actually produce an improved experience for consumers, or in this case, patients.
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A.I.: Improving Diagnostics, Providing Preventative Care, and Monitoring Patients from Home
While artificial intelligence is sometimes criticized for taking the “human aspect” out of certain industries or fields, A.I. is actually being used to create a more patient-centered experience in healthcare.
Faster, More Accurate Diagnostics
Artificial intelligence is now being applied to the diagnosis of some cancers and even rare genetic diseases, giving patients faster, more accurate insight into their own bodies.
Researchers at Stanford have developed an algorithm–using a massive image database of skin diseases–that can detect the presence of skin cancer early on, making it possible for patients to quickly respond and treat their condition.
A.I. is also being used to diagnose rare genetic diseases that produce facial dysmorphic features. With greater precision than a pair of human eyes, machine learning is able to detect features or abnormalities that indicate a specific condition.
These kinds of approaches are sometimes combined with more traditional methods of pathology to help physicians come up with an accurate diagnosis and help treat their patients more quickly and effectively.
Preventing Future Disease
The combination of artificial intelligence with genetic testing has made it possible for patients to take a more autonomous role in their own health journey.
When applied to the results of genetic testing, artificial intelligence can be used to identify certain variations or mutations in a person’s DNA that can indicate future risk for diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis, and more.
This kind of testing doesn’t necessarily involve the intervention of a physician, but can be integrated with healthcare to help both patient and provider develop a preventative plan.
Artificial intelligence is also being integrated into wearable technology to help monitor vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and oxygen rate, all right from home.
At-home monitoring technology lowers hospital readmission rates and decreases the need for caregivers to visit patients at home–lowering overall expenses and allowing patients to be more proactive in their own healthcare journey.
Despite being associated with a “Brave New World”-style society where robotic efficiency has replaced human compassion, artificial intelligence has actually created more space for patients to receive better, more personalized care.
Cloud-Based Technology: Increasing Accessibility and Expediting the Forms Process
One of the top complaints of patients receiving care in a private facility does not necessarily involve the quality of healthcare.
Rather, patients are fed up and irritated with miscommunication and disorganization.
If you’re reading this, you already know that running a private healthcare practice involves an enormous amount of administrative output: Scheduling, patient forms, insurance and billing, patient follow-up, highly sensitive information, and testing results all must be handled with care and efficiency.
Unfortunately, administrative disorganization is all too common, and patients usually suffer the consequences. Lack of communication, clarity, and access to information are common frustrations with healthcare providers.
Cloud-based technology, however, provides an efficient and effective solution for the transfer of valuable information…and for creating clear patient-provider communication.
Relying on the internet to externally store data, electronic forms can be used for patient intake forms, questionnaires, note-taking, and more. They significantly reduce administrative headaches and provide a safe, efficient way to store private information for practices.
Electronic forms also create a better quality patient experience.
Cloud-based technology also enables the creation of patient portals, giving patients (and providers) an easy centralized hub of information.
Patient portals may contain forms, appointment summaries, lab results, and insurance/billing information. In many cases, they also allow patients to privately message their healthcare providers, giving them an access point for communicating concerns, questions, and more.
ChatBots and Texting: Faster, Easier Communication
As a patient, you wouldn’t want to communicate with a ChatBot in place of your healthcare provider.
But you might want to communicate with a ChatBot instead of a busy office staff member who will put you on hold. Now, many healthcare practices are using ChatBots for scheduling, allowing patients to make much-needed appointments without interrupting the flow of their workday with an extra phone call.
Likewise, texting allows providers to ask for appointment confirmations. Texting a simple “YES” or “NO” makes it fast and easy for a patient to confirm their scheduled appointment without taking the time to call an office.
Providers also save on administrative costs by employing technology for scheduling purposes by eliminating hours of additional work for staff members.
Mobile Healthcare: Providing and Receiving Care on the Go
Nowadays, people expect to be able to do just about anything on their mobile phones. In fact, 77% of all Americans own a smartphone and are increasingly using their phones to shop, browse the internet, and even perform administrative tasks.
Many of the technologies described above are applicable to mobile phones, meaning patients can:
- Fill out and send important forms
- Directly message (and in some cases, videochat with) their medical care providers
- Monitor their own vital signs
- and more..
….all from their mobile devices.
You can bet that as tech innovators collaborate with traditional healthcare providers, patients and providers will see a greater proliferation of services, tools, and systems to make staying healthy easier and more efficient than ever.
Patient-Centered Technology: Freeing Up Practitioners to Provide Better Care
Advances in technology also make providing care more efficient for practitioners–freeing them up to invest their time and money in growing their practices and providing quality care.
With administrative burdens relieved by cloud-based technology, diagnostics made more accurate by artificial intelligence, and scheduling made easier with texting and ChatBots, providers should have more time, money, and energy. Utilizing their newfound resources, they can develop new programs, educate themselves, and focus on building relationships with patients.
Ultimately, both patients and providers win by engaging in a more efficient, cost-effective, and quality form of care.
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Making Space for Innovation and Creativity
Despite what the naysayers might argue, the point of technology is not to replace humans with robots. Only a human provider can offer compassion, creative insight, and relational support to patients who are seeking better health.
Rather, new advances in technology–such as artificial intelligence and cloud-based data storage–are designed to create more space for innovation.
As we see technology take root in more and more healthcare practices, we’ll also see the development of more innovation and creativity that contribute to higher quality patient-centered care.
If you’d like to level up the technology in your own healthcare office, consider starting with electronic forms. Integrating electronic medical records into your practice can ultimately save you a massive amount of time and money, create a better patient experience, and make space for you to focus on providing more quality care.
IntakeQ provides you with a platform to create easy-to-use, customizable forms (as well as a patient portal and messaging system). To get started, click here.