When people visit a doctor’s office, they aren’t just interested in how their physician treats them. It is about the entire experience. From the waiting room to the nurses to the billing department, every interaction point matters. Healthcare systems face difficult times, and the adaptability to provide patient-centered care is critical.
According to a study by the NRC, despite patient satisfaction, many healthcare systems face financial difficulties. The key is to understand what the patient wants, needs, and how to care for individual health concerns. While patients are generally happy with the care they provide from their physician, there are non-clinical issues. Here are some alarming statistics from a survey of over 1 million patients across the country:
- 77% of patients reported dissatisfaction with waiting room times
- 67% of patients felt disrespected by the office’s non-clinical staff
- 34% of patients had negative experience with the system’s billing department and process
Adaptability and the willingness to shift focus to create comprehensive patient-centered care is fundamental during times of uncertainty and change for many clinics and healthcare systems.
How the Field of Healthcare is Changing
Changes in the medical field have shaken up the industry, and they will continue as technology advances and care becomes patient-focused.
Consumerization of Healthcare
Patients are increasingly concerned with the care they are receiving as it aligns with the cost and value of their insurance premiums. The older generation, who has historically been quieter about their concerns, is more tech-savvy and getting educated on healthcare plan options and the care they can expect to receive.
Healthcare systems need to adapt to these changes and provide their patients with transparency, treatment options, and a care-centered approach. This will not only retain patients but by providing educational resources and information about their practice and the medical industry, these healthcare systems will attract new patients.
Increase in Outpatient Care
Healthcare systems are seeing a large increase in outpatient care, rather than inpatient services. This is because of ambulatory surgery centers, primary care clinics, imaging centers, urgent care centers, and even the patients’ homes.
This shift to outpatient care is possible because of medical innovations like telemedicine and the increased need to improve quality of care and patient outcomes. Outpatient care lowers the overall cost of healthcare, something that is a large financial burden to many patients. Reducing cost while improving the patient experience is a trend that continues to climb.
Healthcare systems and clinics will need to, if not already, develop a plan and strategy to enter into an outpatient setting. The plan should include details like growth capacity, outpatient resources, digital technology, and telecommunication systems.
Consolidation of Healthcare Systems
The rate of healthcare consolidation will continue to increase. Smaller practices are being targeted by larger systems as a way to survive this changing landscape. This is primarily driven by difficult government reimbursement models which include lower payment rates and better incentives to make the shift towards outpatient care.
However, as consolidation increases, so will healthcare prices. The belief that value-based care is more financially responsible than many small, private practices may not be true. The consolidation of healthcare systems and physicians allows them to charge higher rates than their private counterparts, simply because of size and lack of general competition. In turn, this will allow insurers to consolidate and charge higher premiums.
Because consolidation is rapidly accelerating, the number of available partnerships is dropping because small practices are unable to financially stand up to larger ventures and do not want to get left behind.
Technological Advances in Healthcare
The digital transformation in healthcare systems can feel overwhelming. Adapting to a digital mindset for a practice can mean a lot of changes to daily operation and patient interaction. The goal is to streamline physicians’ work, improve patient care and outcomes, and lowering costs through digital services and experiences.
Artificial intelligence medical devices are just one way that digital technology is taking over the industry. Devices and machines are being developed that regenerate human allograft tissue, detect depression, diagnose cancer, Alzheimer’s, and degenerative diseases, as well as detecting epidemics and diagnostic prognoses.
Telemedicine is taking industry by storm because of the COVID-19 pandemic. More physicians than ever are relying on telemedicine and making a shift in the way they are treating patients. One of the many advantages of telehealth visits is that it can be done virtually. Gone are the days when patients have to make an appointment in the office to ask a physician urgent questions regarding their health. Physicians can diagnose patients quickly and efficiently. Patients who have limited mobility have more convenient means of seeing their physician, and patients are granted the highest level of privacy by having appointments from the comfort of their own homes.
Adaptability for Healthcare Providers
With the rise of “on demand” patient care, physicians are adapting and shifting their focus to patient-centered care, where patients have access to quality care the curve as the landscape of healthcare changes. at their own convenience.
Develop a strategy that changes with the future of the healthcare industry. This crucial for many practices to evolve and survive these challenging times. Physicians can stay above the curve by adopting a telemedicine system, incorporating digital technology, and increased patient care and satisfaction.