Whether private practice or public hospital, the number one priority for any healthcare organization should be the most optimal patient outcomes. Such results are only possible with a specific approach—one that's patient-facing, comprehensive, and multifaceted. When patients are only treated on an ad-hoc, reactive basis, too many blind-spots may arise.
Through the resulting inefficiencies, varying illnesses and complications exacerbate because the answers aren't there in real-time. Moreover, mistakes get made because of human error and oversights.
Whereas catering to patients’ lifestyle needs and specific behaviors allows healthcare providers to be more predictive and ubiquitous. Lines of communication don’t get crossed, appointments aren’t forgotten or skipped, and small-yet-critical bits of medical histories receive the attention they deserve.
These benefits only result from coordinated care—something often attempted but never fully realized by many healthcare organizations.
Most providers strive for this level of quality, availability, and attention to detail. However, achieving this highly lauded cohesion has always seemed like a distant pipe dream.
Why is Coordinating Healthcare Difficult for Providers?
It’s worth asking why ironing out these inefficiencies has proven to be such a monumental task:
Consider that one study about this very topic found 45 unique patterns of care within its sample size. It’s then entirely understandable that achieving all-encompassing coordination presents an array of obstacles. This author believes that care providers can’t provide optimized care while practitioners function as disparate parts.
Instead, every facet should connect and operate within centralized parameters to remove silos and become a superior sum to all its parts mentioned above. Of course, it's only natural that technology, automation, and digital support would bolster the coordinated care initiative in today's landscape.
Currently, the industry finds itself on something of a precipice. Digital technologies are moving at a rapid rate - but the transformation is in its infancy.
The Industry Isn’t Failing, But the Demands are Reaching New Heights.
This blog is undoubtedly a call to focus on adopting digital care coordination—but it’s not meant to be an indictment on providers. Looking specifically through the lens of surgery, the vast majority of procedures are a success.
In the US, the outpatient surgical procedures market is predicted to grow from 2018’s 129 million procedures to 144 million by 2023. Those numbers are astronomical, and without the right technology in place, the information and communication infrastructures are bound to collapse.
A rise in demand on such a vast scale requires the most efficient pinpoint technologies that eliminate human error. Beyond that, digital tools help remove much of the clutter so medical professionals can focus on the most critical details—not get lost in menial issues.
Without this elevated digitized care coordination, it will be impossible to meet the skyrocketing demand for surgeries.
Further illustrating this point is that in the study referenced before, 25% of the patients struggled during recovery. More specifically, these individuals began with high-intensity interventions before moving to lower-intensity. Unfortunately, they had to tread backward to high-intensity interventions due to varying issues.
While 75% of patients seamlessly recovering is worth applauding, the number of those struggling post-op is still too much. Those rates should be reduced as much as possible.
How Can Digitized Care Coordination Benefit Healthcare Professionals?
Streamlining Communications Between Doctors and Patients
Digitized care coordination first benefits healthcare professionals through communication. When vital information from provider to patient (and vice versa) doesn’t reach the intended source, adverse complications can arise.
In fact, one report examining 23,000 malpractice suits found substandard communication to be a root cause of 7,000 cases. That almost amounts to 1/3rd.
Some of these issues arise from patients not answering private numbers. Alternatively, answering the phone at work isn’t always an option. With digitized coordinated care that utilizes apps, reaching people is far more straightforward. Any critical messaging is sent through a mobile platform can be read at patients’ leisure.
Tracking Patient Compliance with Care Regimens
Also, remote monitoring tools are available with top-performing digitized care coordination. Thus, providers are made aware of whether patients are compliant with suggested care regimens. It then becomes possible to predict the likelihood of another procedure or be confident that things are going well.
Proactively Predicting Missed Appointments and Lapsed Self Care
Another clear advantage of this real-time monitoring is identifying behaviors suggesting that patients will fall off their care pathway. Often, these scenarios involve missed appointments and cancellations. The red flags allow providers to spring into action and intervene when it’s most crucial. Really, these benefits only begin to scratch the surface but stand on their own as an impetus to implement this technology.
COVID-19 and Cancelled Elective Procedures
2020 presented surgery departments with unprecedented challenges. Those reading this blog won’t be surprised by any of this statement, but it’s still worth reiterating.
Elective surgeries to a backseat on peoples’ priorities list. They were substituted with social distancing and waiting for things to be “back to normal.”
The above facts don’t quite hit home until hearing about the predicted monetary losses in US hospitals. Namely, one report projects revenue losses of $17.7 billion per month and $5.4 billion this year in these spaces. Combining the idea of profits with patient well-being is relatively murky. Yet, hospitals can't function to their fullest and provide people with the care they deserve without profits.
Therefore, recovering these lost surgeries should be a top priority. First and foremost, while these surgeries are “elective,” they’re often entirely necessary and vital to a patient’s long-term health. Encouraging these individuals to reschedule and find their way into the operating room could be integral to their overall well-being.
Then, of course, it plays a significant role in restoring any healthcare organization's bottom line.
Automating Your Processes Will Help Recover Elective Surgeries
To recover these elective procedures, healthcare providers must ensure the utmost safety for patients and staff. Without this peace of mind, recovering those elective procedures is as daunting as it is unlikely. As such, pre-op COVID-19 screening has become a must for hospitals.
While this notion has its merits at first glance, there’s so little known about the virus. Patients require a little bit more than baseline screening efforts to alleviate their anxieties and concerns. Otherwise, it might seem (mistakenly) like a more valuable decision to delay until the pandemic has died down.
Sadly, many hospitals and similar facilities don’t have the luxury of waiting. On top of that, the quality of life for a sizeable percentage of these patients rests in the balance.
How Does Automated Pre-Op COVID-19 Screen Work?
Here’s a brief rundown of how automated pre-op COVID-19 screening works on a top-tier platform:
- An activation code is provided to patients who use it to log into a hospital’s mobile app.
- Through the app, customers receive daily symptom questionnaires before their surgery.
- A symptom checker finds out whether patients are coughing, have a sore throat or fever, if they’ve lost taste/smell, or are struggling to breathe.
- There is also a plethora of pre-op material and forms to keep patients formed.
There's a dashboard available for remote monitoring of real-time patient symptoms on the care personnel end of things. This data collection process is 100% automated (lessening the staff's workload) while automatically alerting when given thresholds are exceeded.
With any digital care coordination mobile app worthy of an investment, these automation processes are entirely customizable.
Many clear benefits exist when implementing this technology—the number one being that patient/personnel safety is ensured, and anxieties eased. Another advantage is the streamlining of symptom gathering, removing the need for lengthy pre-op phone calls.
One potentially overlooked boon is the ability to proactively reschedule when catching symptoms early. It then becomes possible to shift around procedures and perhaps move another operation forward, for instance.
Undoubtedly, these all sound like promising features in theory. But where are they available in practice?
Partnering with an Award-Winning Digital Care Coordination Company
Digitizing your entire care coordination initiative isn’t something that should be an in-house effort. Nor should it be a rushed decision to find just any service.
Instead, you must seek out a partner with highly specified expertise in this area. Those who work exclusively in this space understand how to fine-tune the technology to meet healthcare organizations' nuanced demands.
Keep in mind that this decision and strategy will dictate your direction in the immediate and long-term future. Thus, you must perform due diligence and align with a partner boasting a proven track record.
Take Buddy Healthcare, for example.
Through this digital care coordination platform, clients have reduced pre-op phone calls by 98% and taken 1-plus hour off on time spent per pre-op patient. Furthermore, 90%-plus clients would recommend using the Buddy Healthcare App.
The Future is Here: It’s Time to Digitize Your Care Coordination.
Healthcare providers' primary focus should be their patients. This idea gets lost in the muck when you're inundated with menial tasks and hampered by missing or inaccurate information.
Through digital care coordination and automation, gaps with communication and information are removed. From there, you’ll find focusing on your patients’ well-being more streamlined and straightforward.
Initially, taking these measures will lead to drastically improved outcomes before, and after surgeries. Then with your practice or hospital running more efficiently, you’ll notice a significantly positive impact on your bottom line.