4 obstacles on the road to hybrid healthcare

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4 Obstacles on the Road to Hybrid Healthcare - Digital Transformation
Larry English, president and co-founder of Centric Consulting

COVID-19 forced healthcare organizations to make a big leap forward in their digital transformation roadmaps. Although many companies had plans to advance in telemedicine, the crisis revealed it virtual attention not only is it possible but in many cases it is as well preferred by patients. Virtual care also offers an opportunity to enhance the patient experience, improve population health, reduce costs and improve the working lives of healthcare providers, the fourfold goal of healthcare.

“To improve patient outcomes, we need to involve a patient’s family and other important people in their care, because it has to extend beyond the four walls of the hospital,” says Dr. Reetu Singh, senior medical director, integrity of AdventHealth clinical documentation. “With virtual care, you are providing this continuous care and therefore providing better results. And this is the future: this is what patients want. Our future is technology. We must be at the forefront and give attention where our patients are; we have to go to the patients instead of the patients coming to us. ”

Many healthcare organizations are working to advance virtual care options. That said, the road to digital healthcare transformation is bumpy, more so than for other sectors. Healthcare was already lagging behind in the adoption of virtual models, and the realities of patient care, reimbursement, and privacy concerns add significant complexity.

The case of permanent hybrid healthcare

The future of healthcare is likely to be a hybrid model, where patients receive a combination of virtual and face-to-face care. This shift toward hybrid care could improve some of the major problems in the U.S. health care system. For example, the United States has a shortage of primary care physicians, which means it can be difficult to get an appointment. Scarcity is especially acute in impoverished rural and urban communities. Many patients end up resorting to emergency or emergency services, much more expensive than a standard office visit.

The good news is that many signs indicate that the future of healthcare is hybrid, with patients receiving a combination of virtual and face-to-face care:

Telesalut use was initially skyrocketed almost 40 times from before Covid and has stabilized at a high level.

– Downloads of medical applications increased by 65% last year.

– Investment in the digital health space has been achieved during the first half of 2021 nearly $ 15 billion, exceeding 2020 and doubling the amount in 2019.

– Finally, estimates say that U.S. health care spending could change up to $ 250 billion to virtual care in the coming years.

The insurance part is also being incorporated. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved dozens of new telehealth services last year, and payers are beginning to offer virtual health plans, where patients first see a virtual provider before making a face-to-face appointment.

Big challenges on the road to hybrid healthcare

While hybrid healthcare offers many promises, organizations face major hurdles to overcome to complete a true digital transformation.

1. Hybrid healthcare must deliver a seamless patient experience.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is to make the virtual patient experience seamless and fully integrated with face-to-face health services. Suppose you have a virtual check-up and your doctor asks for a blood test. Unlike when you’re in the office, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to complete this test, a potentially important point of friction. Virtual care providers need to figure out how to integrate with testing organizations to facilitate the experience, similar to the big push to make Covid detection possible at home.

The development of increasingly sophisticated remote patient diagnosis and monitoring tools will help improve the experience. There are already many tools on the market to facilitate the virtual healthcare experience. For example, Kencor Health has a digital assistant that reminds patients to take their vital data and automatically shares this information with their doctors.

Virtual, artificial and augmented reality will also play an important role in connecting the virtual and face-to-face experience; the augmented and virtual reality health market is expected to arrive. more than $ 16 billion for 2027. To share just one example, Healthymize is an app that uses artificial intelligence to control patients ’voices to detect respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and asthma.

2. Hybrid healthcare must take into account the digital divide.

The digital divide is another problem facing healthcare in the transition to hybrid models. While virtual health care can improve access for neglected populations, what happens when these patients do not have access to the Internet or cannot afford the cell phones or other remote control tools needed to make virtual health work? What about patients who may not be comfortable navigating technology? Care and insurance providers need to find a way to design a hybrid healthcare experience that leaves no segments of the population behind.

3. Hybrid healthcare requires a smart organizational strategy.

Finally, like any other industry in 2021, healthcare needs to figure out how to design a hybrid strategy in the workplace or risking an exodus of talent. While healthcare is among the industries where some workers have to be in person (especially doctors), administrative, IT, and other backend groups can work effectively remotely. Therefore, some hospitals are evaluating a reduction in administrative space to reduce costs. It all comes down to figuring out how each group can be most effective in benefiting the organization.

These are big, thorny issues that healthcare needs to address before hybrid or virtual healthcare becomes ubiquitous. That said, if the pandemic has proven anything, it is that health care can solve big challenges quickly. The return is well worth the effort, as virtual healthcare offers an opportunity to reduce costs, improve the health of the population and introduce a new wave of innovation in the industry.


About Larry English

Larry English is president and co – founder of Central Consulting, a management consulting company that guides you in finding answers to complex digital, business and technology problems.




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