Patient Benefits of Digital Transformation in Healthcare
As part of the digital transformation series we ran throughout 2021, we looked at the changing face of healthcare and how technology has helped progress the industry.
But what about the tangible tech benefits for the very people the industry serves?
Here, we’ll dig deeper and look at how digital transformation in healthcare is benefiting patients.
First, let’s recap.
What is digital transformation in healthcare?
Digital transformation refers to the way technology can be adapted by organisations to vastly improve their customer-facing services as well as their own internal processes. (Often, the two are interchangeable; the latter helps the former). In the healthcare world, this can mean healthcare providers like different NHS Trusts, along with private health brands like BUPA, pursue technical solutions that let them:
- Search medical databases quickly
- Facilitate clinical support more efficiently
- Monitor the quality of care being given
- Map the spread of infectious diseases
- Plus keep track of the supply of essential resources like drugs and vaccines
What are the patient benefits of digital transformation in the healthcare industry?
In our ‘changing face of healthcare’ post, we mentioned how 5G and cloud computing are helping healthcare services to make good calls on staffing levels and understand diseases better. However, looking at the digital transformation of healthcare for the patient means looking at things in more detail.
Some examples of patient benefits from digital transformation in healthcare include:
1. Convenience and ease of remote healthcare
Gone are the days of in-person appointments being the only option for those needing healthcare. During the pandemic, hospital outpatient appointments, GP surgeries, physiotherapists and more turned to offering remote appointments. Many were conducted by telephone, but some went fully virtual with video teleconferencing bridging the gap between people not being able to leave home, and needing treatment based on visual inspection or advice.
Remote healthcare is one of the most obvious benefits of digital transformation in the healthcare industry, with patients feeling seen by and connected to much-needed medical assistance at a time and place that suits them.
2. Intuitive feedback mechanisms making people feel heard
If connecting patients to digital health services is an obvious example of how digital transformation in healthcare is benefiting patients, empowering them to complain might seem less important. However, the benefit of making sure people feel seen, heard and understood should never be underestimated.
A great example is the anonymous issue reporting system we built for the NHS Central Eastern Commissioning Support Unit. It offered a simple, intuitive web interface that allowed both patients and GPs to give feedback on their experiences with the NHS in and around Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Luton. It allowed them to feel like their feedback was valued, and in doing so, also allowed NHS decision makers to get tangible feedback on how it could improve its services. A real win-win for patients and healthcare professionals alike!
3. Lower chances of prescription errors
Another tangible patient benefit from digital transformation in healthcare revolves around the increased sophistication of records software and the emerging use of artificial intelligence. Together, these technologies can scan patient records to detect inconsistencies between prescriptions and diagnoses, and alert medical professionals to double-check potential errors.
At the very least, that means patients spend less time going back and forth to their GP to get the right treatment. It can also offer an extra layer of security against patients being issued drugs that might react badly with other medication they’re already taking.
4. Patients having more ownership over their own wellness
Another aspect of digital transformation in healthcare we mentioned in our past blog post was wearable technology. However, we looked at it there from the brand’s point of view.
From the patient’s perspective, wearables open the door to owning their wellness, with features like heart rate monitoring and calories burned plugging into software that allows people to track their progress and feel the psychological benefits of progress, as well as the physical ones of getting in shape. Insurers have even gotten in on the act, taking advantage of these personal benefits by rewarding people with better workplace benefits and corporate discounts.
5. Improved customer service
The last of our notable patient benefits of digital transformation in the healthcare industry is that it simply delivers better customer experiences.
Electronic consultation services are now widely used by doctor’s surgeries to capture patient requests, meaning patients can make proactive health requests without needing to call and sit on hold for minutes at a time. Chatbots are also used widely as the first line of customer service to point patients towards helpful FAQs, meaning people getting the advice they need without even needing to speak to a real person or fill in a form.
From the professional side, this ability to triage patients and safeguard workers’ time has huge benefits. But the benefits to patients are just as great.
Helping healthcare organisations deliver better patient experiences
If you work in healthcare and need to digitally transform an area of your business, our team has the knowledge, expertise and experience to help.