What’s the first thing on your mind when you hear «digital healthcare»? Many people probably first and foremost think of video consultation, which may not be so strange – many of us got to try out video consultation for the first time during the pandemic. But digital healthcare offers much more than just video.
Video is really just one of many forms that healthcare professionals use to communicate with patients. Digitalising more parts of the process means that healthcare professionals can collect and manage patient information more easily, but also work more efficiently. Here are 5 examples of situations that should be digitalised.
Easier appointment booking
When the patient is able to book an appointment online, this provides benefits for both the patient and the healthcare professional. By getting an overview of available appointments, the patient can easily choose the time that suits them best. The booking can also be made at any time of the day. But the system primarily frees up time and resources for the healthcare professionals. Less time on administrative tasks means that the healthcare professionals will spend more time on other tasks, primarily on the patients.
Virtual waiting rooms for drop-in visits
Healthcare professionals often give the patients the opportunity to get quick help via drop-in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as intended – often the drop-in is associated with long waiting time due to limited resources. A virtual drop-in waiting room offers new possibilities. The personnel are no longer tied to a geographical location, so resources from other units can be used to staff the reception centre. This makes you significantly more flexible when it comes to opening hours, but also in terms of the type of health service you will be offering. You might want to expand your offering since you can deploy resources from elsewhere? By making different types of businesses available, you can easily have several digital waiting rooms.
Collect patient data with digital questionnaires
Digital questionnaires can be used to collect patient data before or after a video consultation. In most cases the form is used before the consultation, where the patient will be able to provide information about their ailments and medical history. The information helps healthcare professionals assign a health resource that has the right expertise to care for the patient. The health professionals are also better prepared, and have answers to questions that might otherwise have been asked during the actual appointment. By describing the ailments, the patient will also be better prepared, resulting in a more efficient appointment.
Communicate messages, independent of time
Asynchronous communication using messages works much like a regular email communication, but with secure authentication. This function allows the patient to write a message to the healthcare professional at any time of the day. By not having to deal with opening hours, it may be easier for patients to seek health care. Healthcare professionals in turn can have an effective communication channel with the patient, which simplifies accurate and regular contact.
Collect data for statistical purposes
Statistics provide an important basis for business analysis. How many video consultations have been conducted in the last year? What is the average time for an appointment? What are the goals? By digitally including more parts in the value chain, more figures that lay the foundation for statistics will automatically fall into place, without manual processing. Figures can also be obtained to analyse processes for different patient groups by looking at results and ICD codes, or measuring what the staff and patients think of different tools using evaluation questions.
There are significantly more health services that can be digitalised – developments happen quickly, for example in terms of record management, home follow-up and AI. It is hard to predict how healthcare will be in the future, but we can be quite sure that they are becoming more and more digital. The government’s vision of e-health, the innovation goals of health organisations and, not least, the patients’ expectations of increased influence over their own health are some of the driving forces behind the development.
Are you ready to be part of the journey?