It’s no secret that the healthcare industry has faced a number of COVID-19 challenges during this on-going pandemic. It has been able to adapt to new sanitation and preventative measures, but other business operations have suffered. The healthcare industry now has the opportunity to strengthen its relationship with technology to overcome some of these operational challenges.
Patient-centric approaches were already on the rise in the healthcare industry before the pandemic. Now, these approaches must be a priority. The pandemic has illuminated areas that need improvement in order to better serve patients in the future.
COVID-19 Patient Interaction
The healthcare industry has traditionally been very high contact. Patients are constantly interacting with office staff and providers from the second they make an appointment, all the way until they pay their bills. They sit in crowded waiting rooms next to other patients while they wait to get their vitals checked and are in close proximity to their providers for the remainder of their appointments. COVID-19 challenges have made it necessary to flip the script on patient interaction. Providers have been looking for ways to interact with their patients while making little to no contact at all.
Telehealth is one way that the healthcare industry has been able to adapt to a contactless world. Though it was already gaining traction prior to COVID-19, the pandemic made it clear that implementing a telehealth strategy, where possible, is essential. Telehealth strategies have made it possible for providers to see more patients in a safe but effective manner. It provides convenience and accessibility for patients who may have previously been unable to get proper care. This is good for both the patient and provider.
COVID-19 Staffing Challenges
The burden on healthcare staff during COVID-19 has been tremendous. As the number of patients needing care rises, so does the workload on administrative staff, doctors, nurses, and even billing departments. Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations have been forced to furlough employees leaving much heavier workloads for those still working. These staffing issues can lead to a rise in human error during check-in and billing which directly affects the financial outlook of the healthcare practice. Without a telehealth strategy in place, it also reduces the number of patients that can be treated on a given day.
Utilizing automated technology is a great way to lessen the daily burden that staff face. Running eligibility checks and generating out of pocket patient estimates generally takes a lot of manual effort. Implementing a technology platform that can do this seamlessly and automatically allows staff to focus on what really matters – patient care. It also reduces human error, which can have significant financial implications.
Having a stronger relationship with technology allows the healthcare industry to have a better grasp on patient and data management.