Nearly every person dreads going to the doctor. Often people avoid seeking medical attention because of a bad experience due to a lack of communication or outdated equipment and technology. However, this can put patients at risk for letting undiagnosed issues wreak irreversible and/or costly havoc on their bodies. Here, Joel Arun Sursas - the head of Clinical Affairs at Biorithm - shares how you can enhance the patient experience with technology.
Many hospitals and clinics have been trying to improve their patients' experiences for years, but with no avail. With so many breakthroughs in technology, though, could this be the key to providing patients with the best experience? Some hospitals seem to think so.
In recent years, health providers everywhere have been using technology to better engage with their patients and improve their overall medical experience.
From systems that allow patients to communicate better with their providers to digital services that improve patient participation during a hospital stay, there are many ways in which technology can enhance a patient's overall experience.Patient Portal Access
Many hospitals have been expanding their websites to include patient portal access, which gives their patients independence and self-efficiency concerning their health.
This allows them to check test results, make appointments, and message their doctor directly conveniently and receive a response in a matter of minutes, rather than wait on the phone on hold or for a provider to call back or have to settle for talking to a nurse instead of their doctor. It also grants users instant access to their medical and immunization records; no more waiting upwards of days for the hospital to pull their records and mail it.Telemedicine
One of the biggest issues surrounding access to healthcare is if a person can receive it. Some may have a financial struggle that prevents them from visiting the doctor for something as small as a pink eye, while others might not have the time to visit their regular provider. That's where telemedicine comes in.
Companies, such as Cigna, now offer telemedicine for mild medical cases to help reduce the need to go to an urgent care facility or emergency room after-hours or when the person has a time of financial strain.
Telemedicine offers portable access to a doctor, nurse practitioner, or nurse. It's affordable and convenient for most, and some telemedicine companies even accept insurance. All a person has to do is simply open an app on their phone to videoconference with a medical professional. Through a video call, a patient can describe and show a doctor what is currently bothering them.
From there, the provider may advise them to seek medical help from a clinic or other health facility nearby if it cannot be treated over the phone. Otherwise, for mild cases like colds, pink eye, skin conditions, and even gastrointestinal issues, they may be able to advise the patient of how to treat their ailment. A doctor or nurse practitioner can even prescribe medications through telemedicine.
With telemedicine, patients can receive quality medical care at an affordable price and at any time they need it because it's available 24/7.Health Information Technology (HIT)
No one likes having to spend a few days in the hospital, but hospitals have been trying to better these experiences through the use of health information technology (HIT).
Patient participation is key in developing a treatment both the doctor and patient agree upon. Using HIT gives patients the power to do this by allowing them to rate their experience and satisfaction of the treatment itself and how they are treated. This gives the doctors and nurses a better idea of what works well for that patient and what doesn't. By enhancing communication between medical professionals and their patients, HIT aids doctors in altering their treatment methods to better suit their patients' needs.
While more research is needed to solidify these claims, many argue that it can significantly improve a patient's overall experience during a hospital stay.Interactive Patient Engagement Technology
Like HIT, interactive patient engagement technology (iPET) also gives patients the ability to report back to their medical providers, but iPET is used to distract patients and help educate patients, too.
Nurses may use this method while administering treatments or throughout a hospital stay. The goal of iPET is to engage patients in an entertaining way to create a better experience for them. Though, since it's a new technique, a recent study indicates that more training would be beneficial.Better Organization
It's crucial for healthcare providers to remain organized, but on a busy day, it's easy for doctors and nurses to feel rushed tending to each patient. Unfortunately, this rush can create a chaotic environment in the hospital or clinic, which leads to disorganization.
Disorganization is the enemy of a healthcare facility, as this increases the risk of mistakes and undesirable experiences for patients. Technology is the solution.
Computer programs offer easy, secure and convenient options for medical professionals to communicate and record confidential patient information. For example, one of the most notorious forms of disorganization is messy handwriting, however, that is not a problem when doctors type their instructions or responses. These notes are then easy to access by any other doctor or nurse, which will assist in smoother transitions during shift changes.About Dr. Joel Arun Sursas:
Joel Arun Sursas is a skilled Medical Doctor and Health Informatician motivated to solve administrative problems in healthcare. His determination to work tirelessly to bridge the gap between doctors and engineers is resulting in medical technology solutions that improve patient outcomes, enhance monitoring, and protect patient privacy. Dr. Joel Arun Sursas is an effective communicator who facilitates the achievement of team goals.
1 Siwicki, Bill. "Clinical Notes Technology Helps Bring Order to ER, Clinic." Healthcare IT News, 22 Nov. 2019, www.healthcareitnews.com/news/clinical-notes-technology-helps-brings-order-er-clinic.
2 Siwicki, Bill. "At Cigna, Telehealth Reduces Patient Costs and ER Visits, and Boosts Use of Generic Rx." Healthcare IT News, 20 Nov. 2019, www.healthcareitnews.com/news/cigna-telehealth-reduces-patient-costs-and-er-visits-and-boosts-use-generic-rx.
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5 Sorondo, Barbara et al. "Patient Portal as a Tool for Enhancing Patient Experience and Improving Quality of Care in Primary Care Practices." EGEMS (Washington, DC) vol. 4,1 1262. 26 Jan. 2017, doi:10.13063/2327-9214.1262