The need for healthcare services is growing with the increase in population and the number of patients who seek health care at hospitals, medical facilities, holistic groups, and physicians practice has improved significantly.
These bring a new set of challenges for the staff of the facility and administrators. Online scheduling software, a recent technological advancement, has made the booking process in hospitals easier for both patients and administrative staffs.
What are the advantages of Online Scheduling System?
The online scheduling systems are also known in many names such as online booking application, online scheduler, online scheduling software, and more. It is one of the most commonly used web-based applications and enables individuals to securely and conveniently book their reservations and requests online via a laptop, tablet, smartphone, computer, and other web-connected devices.
Anyone can access the online appointment management system via the URL provided by the healthcare or medical facility or through a “Book Now” button in the website. Once the time and date are selected, the system confirms the bookings automatically and also records it within the system instantly without any intervention from the staff.
The online appointment management system also comes with features like automated text and email message reminders, which is sent to the booked patients or individuals on the date booked before their scheduled time of booking. The flexibility of the online appointment management system in healthcare includes
Booking inoculations and vaccine in hospitals.
Scheduling a patient’s treatment, services, and appointments.
The staff spends less time on managing appointments, and phone booking, and can, therefore, use their free time for more urgent and vital tasks. The patients can also save time as there is no need for calling the hospital and booking an appointment in the middle of their busy schedule.
For example, consider a large medical facility hospital which schedules 100 plus appointments daily. Every appointment calls are handled by the support staff from the administration, and they spend approximately 3 to 4 minutes on a phone call.
In this case, if the healthcare facility switches to an online booking system it can save most of their time and also get more time to deal with other pressing tasks in the facility.
The time savings made by the facility can translate automatically into monetary savings as a reduction in services and staff translates into a reduction in expenses. The appointment management system can reduce the need for extra human resources created by the process of appointment scheduling.
24 hours convenience:
An individual is needed to schedule an appointment over the phone calls during the office hours, and therefore people need to work round the clock on the phone booking. With online appointment management system, the individual or the patient can book an appointment any time. It is seen that after business hours there is more than 55 percent of all appointments booked through online scheduling appointment systems.
Every service needs a secure payment system. As an online appointment management system is safe, and the data is kept secure, people find themselves comfortable with online payments. Offering a free consultation or discounts on consultation fees within the limited period after the initial consultation encourages the individual patients to make use of the online appointment management system every time to book the appointment.
Healthcare providers are making use of the latest technology and keeping themselves updated to enhance quality. The online appointment scheduling system is considered to be a step forward to bring a healthcare facility to the future.
Making the workflow perfect, enhancing data reporting and capturing, improving efficiency and time savings, providing the patient with significant convenience and choice, thereby enhancing the patient loyalty and trust are some important benefits of an online appointment management system.
Centralized Information System:
Online systems make patient management easier and more efficient. Some online scheduling systems for appointments also have management of patient health records as part of the package. The organization can create a single point from which to save, update, manage and analyze patient information.
Recording, reporting and analyzing such information helps to efficiently manage the case file of a patient. All regularly recorded patient information, along with a history of check-ups and associated medical tests, can be used to make educated, carefully considered health care decisions. This can reduce the amount of documentation and the time it takes to access physical files.
It is also possible to avoid redundant data entries about the same patient. In addition, the ongoing records of the patient can be updated at each appointment, making patient information available for easy and fast access in one place. This is important when two different practitioners are consulted at the same facility by a patient.
For example, it may be more convenient for a patient consulting a dentist and an orthodontist at the same facility to have information stored at a single point, as the dentist would like to be informed about the ongoing orthodontic treatment of the patient in order to assess how best to handle the specific oral hygiene needs of the patient.
In the same facility under another doctor, a quick reference to the current orthodontic procedures that the patient undergoes is all it takes for the dentist to plan his procedure. It saves time and ensures complementary and coordinated overall services are provided. Such systems become a common interface to access information about a single patient by different medical staff. This can go a long way in strengthening the care process of a patient.
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Universal health care is a hot topic for discussion these days, with people arguing for and against it. While proponents of the system argue that it is the right of every human being, opponents argue that it may not be economically feasible, and may harm a lot more people than it will help. The issue is much more complicated by the fact that there is no one system in the world that is adopted by all the countries that currently has universal healthcare, and therefore it becomes difficult to gauge its success across the world. Let us try to break this complex issue to gain a better understanding of the system, and form informed opinions.
Universal health care is a system that ensures all the people in a region or a country gets healthcare without affecting their financial status. According to WHO Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship. In practice, this does not mean that everyone has insurance coverage or that all medical issues are covered by the insurance, it just means that everyone has access to healthcare.
Universal healthcare first started in Germany in 1883 with the sickness insurance law, which mandated industrial employers to provide insurance for their workers using funds made from deductions in employee wages and from employer contributions. By 1930s, almost all of western and central Europe had similar systems in place. Currently, of the 33 developed countries, all of them except the USA has universal healthcare.
Even though the definition of universal healthcare is uniform throughout the world, the implementation strategies used in different countries are very diverse and difficult to classify. Each of these systems are linked with the governing systems and the laws and regulations of that country, and therefore may even differ in different parts of a single country, as in the different provinces of Canada, where each province has reasons to determine what is considered essential, and where, how and who should provide the services.
In some cases, the government pays for healthcare from a single fund. In some countries like Canada, this would mean that the government pays private organizations which in turn provide healthcare to its public, while in countries like the United Kingdom, the government maintains a healthcare system, owning healthcare resources and employing healthcare professionals. Such systems are referred to as single-payer systems, which means that the fund for the system is managed directly by the government or a government regulated agency. In such a system, the entire population is brought together under a single health risk pool, and one set of standards for services offered, and the cost for these services. Generally, the idea is that the high healthcare costs that arise from the sicker section of the population are balanced by the low healthcare costs for the healthy section of the population.
In a multi-payer system, the medical costs are paid for by multiple entities, which may include the person or their family, their employer, and the government. Countries like Germany follow a multi-payer system, with a statutory health insurance, and private health insurance. Compared to single payer systems, multi-payer systems provide more options to the patients, and are generally difficult for the governments to exploit, but falls below in terms of healthcare equity, risk pooling, and negotiations. Multi-payer systems are also associated with higher administrative costs.
In some countries like Switzerland and Germany, universal healthcare is enforced by legislation. In Switzerland, there are no free state-provided health services, but private health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country). Swiss are required to purchase basic health insurance, which covers a range of treatments detailed in the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. It is therefore the same throughout the country and avoids double standards in healthcare. Insurers are required to offer this basic insurance to everyone, regardless of age or medical condition.
The advantage of universal healthcare is that everyone gets medical coverage, no matter how poor they are, and everyone gets the same standard of care. Various studies have shown that universal healthcare has lead to healthier populations, with lower infant mortality rates and improved life expectancy. Universal healthcare is also associated with improved economic well being of the population. In Thailand within ten years of implementation of Universal Health Scheme, the catastrophic healthcare expenditure in the poorest households fell from 6.8% to 2.8%. In Mexico, impoverishment from health expenditure fell from 3.3% in 2001 to 0.8% in 2010, with the implementation of a national protection programme called Seguro Popular, funded by general taxation and modest contributions from richer households.
Implementation of universal healthcare is complicated with a lot of difficult choices. The healthy section of the population ends up paying for the sicker section of the society, the money which may well be spent on economically better ventures, which will improve the quality of life for everyone. Universal healthcare may end up crippling the economy and may even lead to poor quality of healthcare, as doctors have more incentive for treating more patients, but less for treating fewer patients with more care. People may also be less careful of their health and can lead to less healthy choices if they don’t have the incentive to stay healthy.
So the debate on whether universal healthcare is good or bad, essentially is a debate on how to achieve universal healthcare - should it be done by implementing laws and regulations specifically for universal healthcare, or should we do it improve the overall standard of living that access to healthcare is not a problem for anyone.
The success of a universal healthcare system will depend on how it is implemented, and choices have to be made based on the size of the population, the economic well being of the population, the available funding and the fine balance between the choice similar to as mentioned above.
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Imagine the following scenarios:
An electrocardiogram necklace that helps the physician to track the patient’s health.
A chip in a pill, which is used for sending data to a web portal from the body and also the capability of your doctor to check the patient’s treatment progress.
A fetal monitoring device which observes the women remotely with pregnancies of higher risks.
The above are some of the visuals which can happen in the future of Healthcare and medicine. These types of unsetting technologies are redefining the patient experience and transforming outcomes in the clinics of the healthcare industry. Different data points show this effective modification. The life expectancy has increased to 60 years from 30 years between 1800 and 2000 at 1.5 years average rate per decade. The likelihood has now expected to be 90 years by the end of 2020 and at a 15 years per decade average or 10 times faster than that and this is what we call as Patient centricity world. In this blog, we will check out the patient-centricity in-depth and how technology is used to enhance them.
What is Patient Centricity?
There are three significant aspects when it comes to defining patient centricity. Let’s check them below.
Making use of patient data efficiently for better treatment, monitoring, diagnosis, and R&D. At present, the evidence in the real world is reliably becoming significant, especially in the FDA providing new drug approvals. Correspondingly, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is increasingly accomplishing providers to prefer measures and address outcome data via the execution of the meaningful use regime.
Patient Centricity also deals with improving patient experience and engagement to mold them active attendant in every decision that is care-related ones and also enhances the excellent patient experience. The trend has now moved to human clinical trials, especially during the drug development’s advanced stages to engage patients actively.
Patient Centricity helps to enhance the outcome of the patient by shifting the focus to a population health management approach to individual encountering that targets interferences on particular cohorts and holistically at the patient risk.
Digital technologies can be influences by Healthcare and Life science organization to allow patient centricity in a way which creates excellent health outcomes, transform the patient experience, the boom line, and also boost both customer loyalty.
Data encourages Customer Insights:
Enhancing the patient experience takes more time than expanding technologies and also needs data-driven insights. Data is the only fuel that powers an enterprise’s patient-centric strategies. Device data, inventory data, customer data, systems data, etc. offer a 360-degree view which forms the substratum of patient-centric decision making, sound, and process optimization.
The ability to define more information and in-depth insight is vital for discerning the health journey of the patient and develop outstanding experienced. When you apply AI to the data wealth, the Healthcare and life science organization can expand their understanding of the expectation and experience of the patient. With this knowledge, they can enhance app features and interfaces, offers customized and individualized experiences, streamlines the process at every point along the journey of the patient.
The combination is Key:
All the technologies and digital data in the world will do few to enhance the experience of the patient in case they do not work in concerts. There are entirely expandable digital platform which supports the complete journey of the patient, and this is mandatory to offer an outstanding experience.
Adequate health care and life sciences amid digital platforms are rooted in a simple, user-friendly and intuitive design which makes it easy for both healthcare professionals and patients to communicate, to share and access data along with various systems and also initiate actions. These management tools and platforms that include automation enables healthcare and life science enterprises to influence athletic abilities across the enterprises.
Support staff and clinicians can communicate with patients and colleagues in real-time and remote, the people in the group can reply to the requirements, collaborate rapidly on new services and products, enterprises can more rapidly take the opportunities advantages.
The healthcare and life science system which efficiently utilizes the digital technologies and data to enhance the experience of the patient is OSF healthcare that analyzes and expands internal and external social, financial, clinical, and operational data to improve their organization and patients. This information is daily updated, enabling OSF to execute new processes and monitor real-time bed availability.
The truth is that OSF can enhance capacity management and efficiency, decrease readmissions by offering physicians a readmission risk score of their people each day and also gain the insight advantages coming to the system, allowing rapid discussions that focus on the patient requirements.
To achieve strong patient centricity, Healthcare and life science need to expand digital tools and platforms in a way that enhances processes and people to deliver the best goals as per the customer requirements. The technology requires to function as the best part of this type by connecting customer knowledge, facilitating data collection, empowering responsiveness, innovation, and more. It can also play an essential role in operationalizing feedback and measure performance to make sure the strategies in customer-centric approaches on track and also can be adapted continually to deliver new value.
By exploring the unique customer experience and organizing process, technology, and teams to deliver on the vision consistently, different health enterprises can lead in the present patient-driven market successfully.
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Leveraging telemedicine to profitable practice helps in enhancing patient retention, increases revenue, and delight your office staff. The advantages can be quickly gained through the option of telemedicine.
Powerful financial incentives for the providers and intense consume requirements for the service are the two critical things that drive the sharp spike in the field of telemedicine technology.
Both private payers and legislatures are allowing the arise of telemedicine by representing parity laws and policies in telehealth. They identify the requirements to expand access to care while leveraging healthcare resources effectively.
How to make use of telemedicine to improve profitability?
There are many reasons to list out why influencing telemedicine can bring more profit to you. In this blog, let's check out a few steps that can be used for influencing telemedicine to a more profitable practice.
Hold your current patients and amuse them:
There are numerous healthcare options available than before for the patients to choose from. There are a different number of urgent care facilities, retail-based walk-in clinics, and thousands of online opportunities. These variations to in-office care are prominent with patients, especially for regular issues like flu, skin conditions, other ailments, colds, UTIs, and more as they are inexpensive, quick, and convenient. The practices which provide video visits provide the patient with the essential benefits of seeing their routine provider, with the added convenience which telemedicine brings.
Decrease No-Shows and Cancellations:
Practice profitability is hard when any of the appointments are missed. They also bad while considering the outcomes of patient health. A good number of the reasons which people cancel or show up at the last minute are withdrawn by telemedicine. Patients need not consider taking time off work, transportation, nor arrange for childcare.
Grab good patient outcomes:
It's easy for patients to follow up on the next visit through the recommendation process in telemedicine. They are an accurate tool for lifestyle coaching, post-hospitalization care, and medication management. Compliance and increased patient management lead to smaller unnecessary complications as well as help in better case management.
Make a profit with telephone calls:
Most of the payers do not compensate for the provider's telephone rather only follow-up calls. Few conversations like medication checks and reviewing test results will not be paid if it's done over the phone. Most of the exchanges become counterpoise by adding videos. Making use of the video also makes these relevant encounters and make them understandable by the patients.
See More patients:
In-office care is not much effective when compared with online visits using telemedicine. Practices that influence video will see several patients every day with identical providers. Most of the countries and states need insurers to compensate providers for visiting of telehealth at an equal rate as similar to the in-office care. It's also recognized that most of the insurers follow these set of rules in the states that do not need it. It indicates that most of the visits are performing every day or week, and this can have a substantial impact on the profit and revenue along with the added cost.
Enjoy an excellent Life Balance/Work:
May practices that provide visits through video find that the reliability it offers has a full impact on well being of the provider. Few of them prefer to move some appointments to the weekend or work from home for a few hours. The providers are provided a chance of enjoyment to take care of their tasks during the workweek, and the patients also appreciate the prospect to get attention outside of regular hours in the business. There is no extra office expense if there are hours extended or else the visit can happen from anywhere.
Boost employee satisfaction:
Video visits are mostly preferred by the medical office workers as they make the office run flexibly and smoothly. They also alleviate a few administrative works of making every patient come to their office. The waiting rooms are quieted and less crowded with fewer patients in the office, and there is not much risk of grabbing the illness from the already present patients. This extra time provides extra office staff to work on the practices and strategies in work. The team also gets an advantage when the practice is growing or gaining more profit.
Video technology can be the best game-changer in the coming years, which implements an efficient program. Office workers, providers, and patients all win when the practice of telemedicine are thoughtfully applied with the right education and technology.
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As new technologies and innovations arise, technological strides in the medical and healthcare industry increase in pace as well. The emergence of digital healthcare solutions has enabled hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities to greatly enhance the delivery of medical services and products to their patients.
From aiding medical professionals in detecting serious diseases at its earliest stage to reducing medical errors to collaborating on a medical case, digital healthcare software solutions have allowed for these and more. Looking from a business perspective, digital healthcare systems help users improve their profitability exponentially, thus driving their business growth.
If those are not valid reasons for your company to go digital, then the following points will definitely convince you.
7 Reasons Your Company Should Use Digital Healthcare Solution
Centralize Information for Better Management, Storage, and Access
Create and Implement Personalized Journeys for Patients
Share Patient Information Easily across Multiple Platforms
Facilitate Continuity of Patient Care
Simplify and Increase Patient Bookings
Fuel Medical Research and Development
Empower Patients to Live a Healthier Lifestyle
1. Centralize Patient Information For Better Management, Storage, and Access
One of the most obvious benefits that stem from deploying a digital medical healthcare software is the centralization of patient information. Patient records, medical bulletins, patient medical histories, doctors’ instructions, progress reports - all the information contained in these documents are critical to the success of a patient’s medical treatment and outcome.
Manual entry of patient information takes time and can be prone to errors which some of the common small business problems. The storage of paper-based files requires resources and takes up physical space. Traditionally, accessing a patient’s files in the old days means browsing through file cabinets and checking each folder individually, which also takes time.
A digital healthcare solution streamlines the process of logging and categorizing of patient information while significantly reducing errors. It makes information access seamless and smooth. This is now an imperative as all medical professionals tasked to care for a patient requires immediate and reliable access to the patient’s data, be it doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians.
A digital healthcare software ensures that they can access patient information in real-time using their desktop online or their mobile device. Access can be configured for added security, granting access to only those who are directly involved in patient care.
2. Create and Implement Personalized Journeys for Patients
As digital healthcare software solutions make it easy for medical professionals to centralize and access a patient’s data, the pains that often come with creating and executing personalized care plans are significantly reduced.
A study on systematic delivery of healthcare services revealed that the utilization of standardized consultation templates is among the leading effective digital healthcare trends in creating a personalized medical care plan for patients. Separate research on the full implementation of digital technology in healthcare cited numerous benefits, including the use of AI and robotics to support the patient in rehabilitation and recovery.
Access to prescriptions, allergies, medical history, and more are essential in helping medical professionals understand the needs of their patients and devise a personalized journey that guarantees the best experience possible and the desired results almost predictable.
3. Share Patient Information Easily Across Multiple Platforms
Digital healthcare software helps accelerate the sharing of patient information with other doctors and other healthcare professionals. This is crucial in a number of scenarios, such as handling critical cases that require insights and expert medical opinions from external parties or when an EMS or ambulance crew needs to provide ER teams with sufficient information prior to receiving the patient.
Sharing patient information no longer require handling and receiving of actual patient files. A digital healthcare solution lets users share and receive files online via desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. Transmission of files is a breeze and can be done in a few clicks, saving users valuable time.
4. Facilitate Continuity of Patient Care
Electronic health records (EHR) play a crucial role in the continuity of patient care. Having all the patient’s information in a single, accessible page makes it easy for healthcare providers to keep themselves updated with the patient’s status.
Being able to retrieve and review files, scans, prescriptions, diet plans, and notes from other professionals allow users to make the necessary changes to the patient’s care plan if and when necessary. Direct coordination with laboratories, therapists, and other healthcare workers becomes more seamless and productive, resulting in the best medical journey possible for patients.
5. Simplify and Increase Patient Bookings
More patients mean more income coming into your hospital or clinic, which is crucial in a growing business. Doctors who run a private practice need patients to remain significant, competitive, and, most importantly, operational. Patients coming in for appointments represent a huge slice of your revenue pie.
With digital healthcare software, you can make the booking process convenient for your patients. Most healthcare systems come with customizable scheduling tools that help you create client-facing scheduling applications.
You can show your patients your work calendar with preferred time slots for the week or the month. The availability of your time slots is updated in real-time whenever someone has successfully booked an appointment. This ensures your patients pick a schedule that is both convenient for them and you. This feature prevents instances of double booking and decreases no shows.
6. Fuel Medical Research and Development
A patient's data, no matter how insignificant it may seem, can be instrumental in the future. The advances made in the medical field, some of them very recent, are fueled with data gathered from all over the world.
A study on linking healthcare and clinical research in 2018 enumerated several benefits of modern digital healthcare systems in terms of improving the research process and the output. The study, published by The International Journal of Medical Informatics, pointed out that medical data collected from healthcare solutions are better in terms of quality and accuracy. It also takes out redundant data documentation out of the picture.
With digital healthcare systems, along with other technologies, patient information is now easily collected, collated, verified, and utilized for research and development of new drugs and treatments to further improve human health and well-being.
Hopefully, with all the patient information gathered from different sources, the medical world can discover effective medicine to combat and end serious illnesses that plague mankind. And ultimately, prevent large scale epidemic like the Black Death and the Yemen Cholera Outbreak from happening ever again.
7. Empower Patients To Live A Healthier Lifestyle
For most patients, if not all, waiting for their diagnosis and test results can be a confusing aggravating and frustrating experience. Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford highlighted in her speech in an AI technology festival that the deployment and utilization of digital technology, particularly AI, in the healthcare industry can help provide better outcomes for patients by not only speeding up their diagnosis but also giving them more accurate results.
Digital healthcare software facilitates the smooth and frictionless communication between healthcare professionals/providers and their patients. This feature enables doctors, therapists, and other healthcare workers to work closely with their patients and give them insights into their health on a very personal level. Being able to do so, you can empower your patients to make the right choices and plan for a long life that they can enjoy to the fullest.
The Future Of Healthcare Is Anchored On Digital Technology
According to a September 2018 report on digital systems in healthcare by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), hospitals, clinics, and other digital healthcare companies are continuously looking for ways to digitize their processes and that absolute digitalization can be achieved by the majority of NHS organizations by 2023.
The deployment of digital technology in the medical and healthcare industry is not just limited in the United Kingdom. It is happening all over the world. Many hospitals, clinics, pharmaceuticals, and other healthcare establishments are making the transition to a totally digital model of operation and business.
It is no longer a question of “when” will the future arrive. The future is here already. And your company will be left in the dust of your competition if you’re not making the move to adapt to the changing times.
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