Improving Patient Care & Efficiency in Healthcare

Discussions about how computer technology could enhance medicine have existed since the 1960s. Since then, this technology has been the backbone for establishing accessible healthcare and dramatically improving how providers assist patients.

Unfortunately, many teams are held back by old technology. To say, “Digital transformation is a crucial strategy for the healthcare industry” is an understatement. That’s why many organizations are attempting to overhaul the broken systems and processes that keep their teams from their core initiatives.

In this post, we’ll examine approaches the healthcare industry can implement to be efficient, competitive, and provide the best patient care.

Table of Contents

Investing for Better Patient (and Business) Outcomes

Maximizing technologies in the healthcare industry is critical. Tom Pires, Teal Vice President of Service, shared his thoughts:

“It’s vital that you operate your healthcare organization from a position of knowledge. Taking care to understand [the technologies available] will help you improve your business’s operations and, more importantly, your patient’s outcomes.”

Of course, your organization must invest in the right technologies that solve your unique problems and maximize the technologies you already have to improve patient outcomes. For example, providers won’t waste precious time on mundane tasks by taking advantage of new technologies, like AI-generated text (i.e., appeal letters to insurers). This technology can streamline processes so they can get back to providing care.

Additionally, patient expectations are changing. More patients will demand digital health solutions outside of the office, accessible to them at any time of the day. Providers who successfully offer their patients virtual options will gain a competitive advantage. Already, patients want to:

  • Receive telehealth care
  • Track care progress
  • Schedule appointments
  • View medical records
  • Request prescriptions

Implementing technology solutions that fulfill these demands will improve patient satisfaction and enhance convenience.

Additionally, the right processes and solutions will help healthcare workers and their supporting teams mitigate burnout. Teams already stretched thin will face growing challenges when using improperly executed technology, especially when considering future trends.

Over the next decade, there will be a significant increase in patients aged 60-90 seeking care. To reimagine care delivery, new technologies, and better processes must be at the forefront.

Operating under a Tight Budget

The healthcare industry is currently grappling with financial challenges that show no signs of easing. An example of the struggles providers face is the decrease in reimbursements for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) physician fee schedule. Despite CMS’s efforts to facilitate higher reimbursements for inpatient services, they still fail to keep up with the rising costs of compensation and inflation, as the American Hospital Association reported.

This type of strain on the budget means healthcare CIOs must establish the correct priorities, and they need to start at the foundation. Training staff on technology is often overlooked despite its criticality.

CIOs must ensure tools are used correctly by providing ongoing training on their use and operation during employee onboarding and product launches. This training boosts your staff’s efficiency and accuracy, maximizes your tech investment, and enhances your patient’s experience.

Check out these cost-effective productivity tools small organizations leverage to enhance operations.

Streamline with AI Automation

Healthcare CIOs need to be at the forefront of digital initiatives that drive automation to improve patient and staff experiences. If not already, healthcare CIOs should invest in RPA to stay competitive.

Robotic process automations (RPAs) are a fantastic way to improve the lives of patients, healthcare professionals, and administrative staff. RPA software imitates the tasks of back-office workers. However, unlike human teams, it can operate around the clock and work error-free. Healthcare automation streamlines the process and helps your staff focus on more critical tasks that require a human touch.

According to Gartner, “50% of US healthcare providers will invest in RPA [by 2023].”

RPA is just one AI technology healthcare providers use to improve their operations. Other technologies include:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) 
  • Machine Learning (ML)
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Image Recognition
  • Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)

Examples of how patient and staff experiences can be bolstered by:

  • Utilizing chatbots to answer patient questions and schedule appointments.
  • Use AI to conduct patient surveys and analyze responses using NLP capabilities.
  • Improving claims, billing, and scheduling process with round-the-clock RPA.

Automation tools are essential for your supply chain, HR, and finance departments. For example, when you automate the supply chain, you will help reduce waste while increasing productivity and efficiency for your staff by streamlining processes (e.g., stocking, tracking, and replenishing internal goods).

Additional AI Automation Opportunities

  • Verifying insurance eligibility
  • Prescription management
  • Discharge instructions
  • Patient onboarding
  • Pre-authorization
  • Audit procedures
  • Report generation
  • Account settlement
  • Simple claim denials

You’ll be happy to hear that RPA translates to cost savings when it’s implemented. That will allow you to invest the extra money in the strategies you need the most.

Leveraging Healthcare Analytics

Data innovations in health care provide benefits like insight into a patient’s risk of future adverse health events and reduce costs by leveraging big data to detect fraud, abuse, waste, and errors in insurance claims.

Investing in data and analytics can bring about a significant transformation for healthcare organizations. It not only lowers expenses and advances the quality of patient care, but it also enhances effectiveness.

Currently, UK’s National Health Service (NHS), which provides services to approximately 65 million people, is taking a giant leap with a centralized healthcare data system. The NHS hopes this will enable it to “understand patterns, solve problems, and plan services for their local populations.”  

By leveraging analytics, healthcare providers can promptly identify trends and patterns that enable them to predict patient health outcomes and behaviors with greater accuracy. For example, IT specialists can clean data from electronic health records (EHRs) that are then used to train AI applications to understand the data, conduct patient research, and improve care.

To measure and improve operational efficiencies, leaders should use healthcare performance dashboards to provide an overview of key performance indicators (KPIs) and enable performance management. These dashboards help teams to:

  • Monitor processes 
  • Track revenue cycle performance 
  • Identify operational, workflow, and quality of care improvements 

Databox, a solution that helps businesses analyze data from multiple software tools in one location, discovered that the top KPIs included in a healthcare business performance dashboard are: 

  • Insurance claim processing cost  
  • Bed or room turnover rate 
  • Inpatient satisfaction rate 
  • Average treatment costs
  • Claims denial rate 

This beneficial tool provides an improved view of clinical data and tracking resource allocation, resulting in better care and increased profitability.

The healthcare industry is uniquely positioned for data innovation because it has an overwhelming amount of it. Like NHS trying a new centralized system, healthcare CIOs should collaborate with healthcare leaders and carefully consider how they can innovate solutions to help their teams provide better patient care.

Aside from internal innovation, outsourcing IT tasks to managed service providers continues to be a powerful strategic move for healthcare organizations. Hospitals and medical offices use this service to:  

  • Minimize internal tech leaders being overworked 
  • Resolve tech issues quickly and efficiently 
  • Maximize their tech investments
  • Boost internal tech innovation
  • Drive security and compliance
  • Improve efficiency

The Power of Strategic Outsourcing

Healthcare organizations benefit from outsourcing their IT to help improve operations and boost patient care. There are many factors to consider in the process. However, three core elements should be at the top of leaders’ minds when pursuing managed services.

When choosing a managed service provider (MSP), a client-centric approach is vital to your future success. Many MSPs, like Teal, provide 24/7 help desk services that streamline operations, increase customer satisfaction, improve ROI, and boost your organization’s reputation.

Just like healthcare professionals put their patient’s experience first; our client’s experience is the primary focus at every touchpoint. We strive to deliver the stellar experience often missing in the MSP industry. Our team is built around empathetic service representatives to minimize the impact of stressful technological issues that arise, giving healthcare teams the expert support they need so they can deliver unrivaled care.

Healthcare organizations operate in a highly regulated industry. A lack of adherence or compliance can have detrimental business impacts, including:

  • Disrupted revenues
  • Poor patient care
  • Erosion of trust
  • Contract issues
  • Lost business
  • Hefty fines  

By partnering with a security-focused MSP, healthcare organizations and their stakeholders can enjoy peace of mind through comprehensive data security and compliance. Teal has invested in training and shaping solutions built on expert discretion to cover our client’s heightened needs. Our deep knowledge of the healthcare industry allows us to expertly meet complex compliance requirements. 

Having an outcome driven approach is another vital element to a good MSP. Teal, unlike many of our competitors, uses a third-party quality assurance process to guarantee we meet our client’s expectations. This alignment with our goals showcases our dedication to our client’s experience.

"We measure our success by our client’s success," said Gar Whaley, Teal Cofounder.

Given the unique challenges of the healthcare industry, we recommend leaders choose an MSP partner that is outcome-driven, security-focused and provides client-focused service to get the most from your strategic investment. Sacrificing these critical elements for a reduced initial cost in investment does not guarantee ROI. Leaders should carefully review their organization’s unique needs and choose an MSP partner that can meet them and excels with these three elements.

Healthcare Technology Investments Drive a Strong Strategy

Making informed technology decisions will maximize healthcare IT investments. The right strategic moves will strengthen teams, alleviate workload burdens, improve patient experiences, and put organizations far ahead of their competition.

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