Improving patient experience through digital acceleration

May 18, 2022
Improving patient experience through digital acceleration

The digitalisation of various systems needed in our day-to-day life has been transformative and will continue to do so: the adoption and implementation of digital healthcare, including convenient virtual consultations, is expected to be a gamechanger for the healthcare industry.

In this byline, Adrian Sutherland, Senior Architect at Endava, outlines how digitalisation in healthcare can help prevent the much-dreaded provider burnout and improve patient experience.

The pandemic has revealed the ability of healthcare systems to deliver care remotely at pace and scale. Telehealth adoption across Asia Pacific has doubled since 2019, and even physicians are banking on this trend, with 56% anticipating that more than 25% of their primary consultations would be delivered virtually in the coming years.

As patients increasingly seek better engagement and data to make more informed decisions, it is crucial for providers to build digital ecosystems that are focused on delivering new models of care. The first step towards this digital acceleration is to understand the order in which to implement the right systems and infrastructure, ensuring that outcomes benefit all stakeholders. Underpinning this is engaging the right delivery partner to develop bespoke technology roadmaps and strategies, according to the needs of providers.

The healthcare provider’s hierarchy of needs

There are practical considerations around technical capabilities that can be structured through a five-tiered hierarchy of needs, with basic needs at the bottom and more high-level requirements at the top.

At the base of this pyramid is an agile strategy, where providers must have access to the right skills at scale and be enabled by effective methodologies that require core engineering expertise – providers must carefully consider a long-term relationship with a digital partner that has a deep understanding of their systems and business goals.

Once the base framework is in place, providers then need to consider the security of their systems, through quality processes and traceability throughout the product’s lifecycle. These system capabilities should be built to streamline idea-to-production cycles in a secure, quick, reliable, and reproducible manner.

The third and fourth needs are integration and engagement, respectively. Providers must look at integrating innovative solutions to their core structures, such as data collection and data sharing systems for better patient experience and personalisation. Engaged patients manage their own healthcare journeys and understand how to navigate the health system, leading to improved outcomes while also managing cost inflation. For example, user-centred design and the development of scalable solutions that can help make healthcare more affordable.

Finally, providers need to provide personalised experiences to patients through genomic information and artificial intelligence (AI)-supported analysis of each patient’s case. With system integration and predictive technology, data transfers can be easily coordinated and accessed through a central repository, allowing healthcare professionals to identify each patient’s unique requirements to provide the necessary care. This allows both patients and doctors to increase time and cost savings.

Improving customer engagement through digital acceleration

Having established systems to meet the hierarchy of needs, healthcare providers can then focus on adopting external digital tools to ensure an even more personalised patient journey. In Singapore, an estimated 90% of local hospitals have already adopted patient-facing digital solutions.

These tools, such as wearables or Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) applications, can help monitor patients’ vitals, such as heart rate and blood pressure. When properly integrated with the greater healthcare ecosystem and combined with anecdotal measurements such as medication usage and test results, these vitals give patients a unified yet personalised experience that better empowers them to take control of their own wellbeing.

Access to real-time patient data and cross-system synchronisation, increases value-based care and propels more efficient clinical decisions. In building a strategic and fully integrated digital ecosystem, healthcare providers not only ensure that patient demands of digital healthcare are completely realised, they also warrant safer healthcare access, lower induced costs, reduce burnout, and increase caregiver productivity.

Advantages for regulators and payers

Delivering and setting up the right systems is also advantageous for regulators and payers. For regulators, the acceleration of digitalisation can be seen as a key policy response towards tackling rising costs and increasing citizen healthcare demands. With more patients seeking a digital alternative instead of paying physical visits to the hospital or clinic, the digitalisation of healthcare provides both parties with a win-win situation both in terms of costs and time saving. Constructing an effective digital system also allows providers to adapt more quickly to regulatory changes and compliance.

As the healthcare industry evolves and shifts towards an increasingly digital world, the connected patient is better equipped, engaged and educated when providers are able to deliver the relevant information at the opportune time. Reduced manpower requirements and increased quality of care with minimally incurred costs also translates to patients having to pay less.

Healthcare providers will need to carefully consider and map out precise digital strategies as the first step before they implement competent technological systems.

It is important to remember that the digital acceleration process is not a one-time thing: only by seeing this process as an iterative approach can healthcare providers constantly adapt to changing requirements, secure their competitive edge, and maintain relevance to the connected patient.

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Category: Features, Top Story

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