As modern patients become increasingly informed and tech-savvy, the traditional hospital-centric approach to healthcare will cease to exist. Today’s digital patients have all health-related information on their fingertips. Hence, it’s time for a revolution: it’s time for hospitals to revamp the healthcare model to cater to the empowered patient, and gain a competitive edge in the new, patient-centric healthcare ecosystem.

But are hospitals ready for the digital patient? Let’s find out!

The rise of the digital patient

The healthcare industry today is facing a new set of challenges – challenges that revolve around informed and empowered patients who are increasingly demanding a say in the healthcare decision-making process.

This new breed of savvy patients is set to change the way the industry has been operating. With more information on their fingertips, they are asking more questions about their health problems, requesting doctors to check on new drugs and treatment schedules, demanding treatments that are more value-driven and affordable, and choosing to walk away – if their demands are not met.

As patient satisfaction becomes a critical factor that determines the quality of healthcare, the coming years will see the power shift from the physician and towards something that is more patient-centric. A model where patients and their needs will be in the spotlight, and where healthcare organizations will have to deliver care in a way that aligns with patient needs and wants; a model that is far more dynamic and responsive to patient needs.

What hospitals need to do

Since the last couple of years, the healthcare sector has opened up to the adoption of technology to enhance healthcare outcomes. However, as patients get more and more savvy, new technology implementation is not enough. Hospitals have to think of ways to serve the informed, savvy, and demanding patients and deliver value in an innovative manner.

To meet the needs of the digital patient, here’s what hospitals need to do:

  • Implement online scheduling systems that complement existing communication channels to streamline the appointment scheduling process and better connect with patients. Do you know? Online scheduling has shown to increase patient calls by 24 percent.
  • Make use of clinical communication and collaboration systems to coordinate activities between every hospital staff member, so patient information can be shared in the quickest manner. Such systems can not only reduce response times, but also improve care transitions, enhance patient throughput, and quicken discharge.
  • Implement interactive patient care platforms that leverage commercial-grade interactive high-definition TV, wireless peripherals, multimedia devices, and mobile devices. Such platforms can offer convenient bedside access to the caregiver and personal communications, hospital services, entertainment, and health-condition-specific educational content to the empowered patient.
  • Deploy self-service kiosks and enable access to chatbots so patients can register themselves, book appointments, lodge complaints as well as view their vitals, get detailed information about their illness, treatment schedules, medication, and more.
  • Create integrated patient rooms that make use of modern technology to monitor patient health, stream real-time patient data to the command center, and have audio/visual conversations with patients to keep them updated about their health conditions. Such rooms can also enable patient education using Virtual Reality, so patients are always informed and updated about their health.
  • Deploy next-gen nurse calling systems, so patients can communicate with nurses in case of discomfort, pain, or emergency. Such systems give patients the freedom to get in touch with a nurse and get the required treatment or care – as quickly as possible.
  • Deliver virtual care to patients, so they can recuperate in the comfort of their homes through remote monitoring, nurse and doctor home visits, home sample collection and more – without having to travel to a hospital and without having to go through the elaborate process of registration, waiting and discharge.
  • Allow patients to get regular health updates based on the data captured by smart devices like heart rate monitors, insulin trackers, connected inhalers, coagulation trackers, and more. Such updates will enable patients to always stay updated about their health and reach out to a doctor through emergency call buttons – under critical conditions.
  • Implement robust patient discharge management strategies, so patient health is monitored even after hospital discharge. Such strategies enable doctors to keep track of patient health, monitor their recovery through telehealth devices, and take action, if required, for higher patient satisfaction. 

Time for a change

As the digital patient takes over, hospitals have to learn to respect and pay heed to their healthcare needs – before, during, and aftercare delivery.

Today, it’s all about value-based care; what has worked in the past will not work in the future and, hence, hospitals will have to look for ways to cater to the demands of the digital patient and ensure a seamless and fulfilling healthcare experience.

Embracing modern technology and including patients in the healthcare decision-making process is a great way to cater to the digital patient and ensure their needs are met – today and tomorrow.