Three Considerations When Planning for a Hybrid-Care Delivery Model that Delivers People-First Healthcare Long-Term
Providing quality healthcare has always been a top priority for our industry. Because of this, along with tight margins, changing payment models, and strict regulations, healthcare systems have been historically slower to digitize the patient engagement experience.
With COVID-19, as we all know, everything changed. Now many healthcare organizations have a digital platform in place and are preparing to offer a hybrid approach that delivers the convenience of telehealth alongside in-person patient care.
This hybrid method to patient care will go beyond just the virtual visit and provide a more personalized, flexible, and seamless patient journey improving both the in-person experience as well as giving patients more autonomy over their own care.
As organizations figure out how to best leverage their telehealth and technology platforms in order to deliver this hybrid-care model to their patients, consider these three key areas when building strategies and workflows around a platform that will serve patients and clinicians long term.
Improving access to care
Since the onset of COVID-19, the care model and the demand for digital has shifted. Now, 60 percent of patients want to use technology for communicating with healthcare providers.
Today, this means more opportunities to improve virtual care whether that be in utilizing a form of a virtual waiting room or interacting with other members of the staff, in addition to the telehealth visit with a clinician. On average, these virtual appointments are saving time for the patient and providers by 105 fewer minutes than in-person care previously provided. Further, there’s an opportunity to bring in specialists, caregivers, and/or translators to improve that virtual visit even further. This makes for both a seamless and easy experience for the patient as well as aligning better with the overall clinical workflow.
Long term, healthcare organizations that want to accelerate this engagement further, should consider how their existing platforms provide seamless preventative visits on any modality. Can patients access this care on their mobile devices as well as on their desktops? Does the existing platform provide the bandwidth to ensure there are no problems with connectivity regardless of patient location? As patients get increasingly more comfortable with using technology to receive care, healthcare systems will have to invest in platforms that can ensure their experience continues to be seamless and accessible.
Closing care gaps
Healthcare systems have already accelerated their digitization by six years due to the pandemic and we’re seeing that up-leveling even beyond the virtual visit from initial appointment making, to clinician follow-up. Now, patients can easily communicate with their doctor’s offices beyond just automated text messages. They have control over what channel they can speak to their clinician on and can choose to receive future outreach when and where works best for them. This new level of autonomy opens the door to healthcare outside the hospital, prompting patient’s to take control of their lifestyle while using their preferred channels to communicate and monitor their own wellness.
In the future, we expect to see this taken even further and allow patients to have even more ownership over their healthcare through remote monitoring using their data to determine their health journey. For example, tracking high cholesterol or blood pressure remotely and based on results determining whether an in-person visit is needed. Instead of a more generalized approach to patient care, this type of technology harnesses patient data to further personalize their care without ever having to leave home.
Scaling your teams
Through the influx of patient appointment requests and general COVID-19 questions, healthcare systems were brought to the forefront of call routing, deflection, and optimization to relieve and support their in-person staff. Now, with systems in place and the pandemic dying down, hospitals can leverage these investments to optimize even further by using a platform approach and creating a flexible built-in infrastructure to evolve as organizations change and grow.
This means making sure the platform you’ve invested in can support customizations that allow users to seamlessly move between text, voice, and video. Building these channels as part of a larger workflow plan will allow you to scale and iterate in the future to support the needs of both patients and the staff.
The future of healthcare will balance excellent in-person care with a complimentary seamless digital experience. This hybrid model starts now. The question remains: Is your organization ready?
About the Author:
Erik is the global leader of enterprise healthcare at Twilio. He has an extensive background in the inpatient, outpatient, and vendor sides of the healthcare business that gives him a unique understanding of the complex issues facing the industry today. He has worked with organizations globally to improve patient engagement and experience. These improvements, in turn, are driving better outcomes, reducing costs, and decreasing employee burnout through improved workflow efficiencies within the entire health care ecosystem.