In the age of technology, chat bots, and electronic charting, the healthcare industry is seeing radical changes in its approach to patients.
While these technologies are providing new ways to provide care, they may also be missing an important aspect of quality care.
The number one frustration in treating those with multiple morbidities in chronic diseases is a lack of time to spend with the patients to adequately understand and council them. The second biggest frustration is a lack of time needed to adequately manage these complex cases. By finding the right balance between technology and human touch, healthcare providers can mitigate these issues, and create a synergy of technology and personal touch to deliver better outcomes than possible with either of these alone
Technology, despite its value, can not supersede human touch and interactions for some issues with patients, knowing what is happening and when it is happening so the care team can make the decision on what is needed is key. So how do we bridge the gap between the two? Here are some ideas for healthcare professionals.
Gather Data for Better Patient Care
As we’ve stated previously, gathering and analyzing real-time patient generated data and feedback is critical to providing better service to patients. However, this is only effective when paired with the necessary human interactions. If your data continuously shows that a patient does not understand healthcare instructions or struggles to follow the care plan, timely and personal conversations help clear up any confusion and set the patient up for a better outcome.
Going Digital Comes at a Price
Within the last decade, the healthcare industry has made the significant shift from paper to electronic health records. However, less than a third of U.S. adults surveyed by Forbes in 2013 wanted their medical records digitized, citing privacy and confidentiality concerns. With a steady flow of news reports detailing hacking of major insurance companies and health records, it’s no wonder there is resistance to the digital progress.
This is where human interaction is important. You may not be able to reassure all patients that their records will be 100% secure all the time, but you can show them the value of digital records. For example, digital records allow new prescriptions to be flagged automatically if they interact with other medications the patient takes. Digital records also enable PCPs to provide specialists with a more detailed medical history, to insure a more thorough treatment plan.
Constant Care Comes Digitally
For many older patients or those with multiple chronic diseases that need specialized care, technology has allowed them to spend more time at home and less time traveling and in the doctor’s office. That’s because with the right technology, real-life members of the care team can check in with patients routinely and directly. This is perhaps the best and clearest example of technology and touch coming together. For example, a patient with chronic conditions such as COPD requires frequent care, but seeing a doctor on a daily basis is not feasible. With digital access to their PCP or specialist, that patient can live more comfortably in their own home knowing they have a care team member on-call when needed.
The bottom line, as technology advances and healthcare continues to change and move into the digital age, is that we must remember the human element of our work. People, patients and providers, even more than the technologies we will use, will drive more efficient and compassionate healthcare systems.
Learn how Senscio Systems’ Ibis platform provides postive Impact and bridges the communication gap between patients and caregivers with real-time data gathering and feedback capabilities.
By Mike Charley, Chief Growth Officer