The last several years have brought many changes to healthcare, as the industry is impacted by politics, technology, and the economy. While many of the changes have been made to improve the existing systems and structure, the changes have made things more difficult for some areas of patient life.
The insurance changes caused by the Affordable Care Act have impacted the financial feasibility of obtaining care, but the stress on doctor/patient relationship has increased. There have also been new changes to the coverage options, restrictions, and applications, which has made it confusing for some patients.
Jumping through the hoops and the red tape to make sure you are getting the services you have been guaranteed is frustrating and financially draining. Many patients simply give up and do whatever they are told by the insurance company or healthcare provider because they don’t have the energy or information needed to alter their situation.
Navigating the Healthcare Maze
Thankfully, through the work of entrepreneurs like Harry Stylli, there is a host of new, innovative firms that are trying to make the system easier for patients. Providers and digital healthcare platforms are looking to technology and the use of the internet to help strengthen patient/doctor relationships and empower the patients to be in control of the services they receive. By doing so, it should also help ease the financial burden that is still associated with quality medical care.
There are several areas of innovation that are being explored by entrepreneurs.
Digital Health Platforms
The improved access to healthcare services has altered the landscape in such a way that traditional care has become inconvenient for many patients. In order to keep up with the demand, visits to a doctor’s office are rushed and moves along quickly. While increasing how many patients a doctor can see is an attempt to remain productive and efficient, it also creates the potential problem of not being able to make the most of the time spent with the doctor. Patients may be unable to ask a doctor important questions or learn about new treatments or medicines because the physician is too busy to spend much time in the room.
In the early days of healthcare, doctors were used to educating and advising the public about the human body, diseases, healthy lifestyles, and the differences between medications. As the demand has increased and modern medicine has tried to keep up with the times. This has moved doctors from an advisory position to being more of a facilitator. The physician is able to facilitate your ability to get a prescription, secure an appointment with a specialist, or to order a test. It doesn’t bring much confidence and patience for those patients who want to receive answers to pressing medical questions or understand a certain procedure or treatment.
Customized Medical Advice
Relying on internet connectivity, digital health platforms are designed to deliver customized medical attention from qualified doctors. Using technology to facilitate interactions between patients and medical professionals is affordable, efficient, and convenient. There is no need to schedule an appointment and wait in line, only to be rushed through to give room to the next one in line. The doctor or medical professional on the other end of the connection doesn’t have somewhere else to be, giving patients the freedom to ask their questions.
In addition to appointments that feel rushed, lengthy waiting periods for a non-emergency appointment is frustrating. For a patient that wants to ask a question but doesn’t require immediate attention, have to wait weeks or months to see their primary care physician is inconvenient. For patients that have already been seen but need to ask follow-up questions, waiting weeks can create new headaches and complications.
The digital platforms are able to provide more timely access to medical advice from a qualified professional. Rather than waiting weeks for a time at the local doctor’s office, digital connections all a patient to ask a question and receive an instantaneous or fast response time. A recent report from a study conducted by Accenture on customer loyalty in the healthcare industry found that 61% of patients would be willing to change providers if it meant they were able to secure appointments much faster.
The logistics that are considered with office visits are no longer a problem when digital health platforms are used. The doctor on call within the system will determine how many questions can be answered in a day, and the platform can recognize areas of availability and route calls or questions accordingly. This decreases the waiting times for answers. An open network of physicians helps reduce scheduling problems and overcrowded waiting rooms.
Tech improvements are able to solve some of the problems typically associated with healthcare services. Through the development of digital platforms, patients around the country will benefit from reduced wait times and more customized medical advice.