2020 was a year of uncertainty and lessons learned, but it also opened the doors for growth. Moving into the new year, healthcare won’t go back to what it was pre-COVID, and practices and providers will approach operations differently both in the near-term and ongoing.
We spoke with our team of experts about the impact of last year and where they see the industry headed in 2021. Continue reading for a list of our healthcare technology predictions:
1 – Vaccination Communications Become Critical
Your practice is likely experiencing an influx of questions and concerns from patients about the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s because 34% of patients cited their healthcare providers as the most trusted source on the topic. What’s more, many patients said they would like to receive news and updates about the vaccine from their provider weekly or more often.
Even if a provider is not directly administering the vaccine, they are still seen as a trusted source and can play a role in easing patient concerns. Therefore, every provider needs the right tools to connect with patients to keep them in the know. With patients preferring to send or receive communications with their provider by email (46%), phone call (34%) and text message (33%), Cathy Kuhn, director of Strategy Consulting, expects more practices to adopt communication solutions for improved patient engagement.
2 – Telehealth Usage and Demand Will Continue to Increase
Speaking of patient engagement tools, according to our customer survey, only 18.7% of respondents reported having offered telehealth prior to COVID-19. Now 93.8% have implemented telehealth in order to keep their doors open during the pandemic. Despite the start of COVID-19 vaccine distributions, infection rates continue to spike and practices are leaning on telehealth now more than ever to care for patients while keeping their staff safe.
And while many practices have used telehealth since the onset of the pandemic, patients have grown fond of using the technology as well. In fact, 65% of patients said they like using telehealth because the visits are more convenient than in-office appointments. So, as we continue adjusting to our new normal, Senior Vice President of Technology Mike Witting predicts the demand for telehealth is likely to continue, with providers and patients preferring to utilize the tech now and in the future.
3 – Broader Virtual Care Strategies Will Be a Must
Telehealth is only one piece of the virtual care strategy that patients are demanding. From eliminating phone calls to automated appointment reminders to offering contactless check-ins, it’s critical practices implement a full virtual care strategy in order to succeed long-term. Patients want more opportunities to connect with their physicians or healthcare providers and President Michael Morgan knows that by implementing virtual care, practices can strategically provide more touchpoints with patients at every stage of their healthcare journey.
4 – Practices Will Need to Eliminate Paper Processes
Back in 2017, CMS launched its “Patients over Paperwork” initiative focused on allowing physicians and healthcare providers more time with patients by eliminating unnecessary paper processes. Since then, the industry continued to move slowly in adopting the right tools for better productivity. Until the pandemic.
Since COVID-19 was declared a public health crisis, our industry has seen a shift as more providers embrace digital transformation. As we move into 2021 and beyond, Andi Hila, director of Strategy Consulting, predicts our industry is likely to trade in paper processes that create inefficiencies and bottlenecks for more convenient and paperless technology solutions such as Electronic Fax, Electronic Forms and more.
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