Healthcare’s Digital Evolution: Redesigning Care Delivery & the Patient Experience

The New Era of Care

The face of your primary care doctor fills your desktop screen and the two of you discuss routine questions. You exit the session and pay your copay online. The actual exam wasn’t out of the ordinary; however, the experience was anything but. Phone and telehealth doctor visits and communication via the patient portal are just a part of our new normal.

If you do venture into a doctor’s office, to minimize the risk of exposure and comply with social distancing, you are asked to wait in your car instead of the waiting room. You are notified via cell phone when your doctor is ready and, upon entry, your body temperature is checked. You’re asked to use your own devices for check-in and copays are cashless and contactless.

Healthcare is delivered without being tethered to an exam room and a visit to the doctor will never be the same.

Flexibility + Preparedness = Resilience + Relevance

Before the pandemic, the healthcare industry had been slow to transform in the way that consumers had experienced with other industries such as banking, retail, hospitality and tourism. While many healthcare organizations had plans in place to implement transformative tools, COVID-19 green lighted adoption and implementation of digital solutions that automate administrative workflows, remote monitoring and growing IT support behind the expansion of telehealth. This would have taken years to implement under normal circumstances, but under unparalleled circumstances innovation is coming to fruition in a matter of weeks.

Telehealth has swiftly become a mainstay in the future of medicine with an estimated 1 billion telemedicine visits expected to be conducted in the U.S. by year’s end. Health organizations of all sizes have rapidly scaled telehealth offerings to fill the gap between demand and in-person care, making it a $250 billion revenue opportunity post-pandemic. Furthering this growth are recent revisions of regulations, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanding their coverage of telehealth services. As a result, the adoption of telehealth has skyrocketed, from 11% of U.S. consumers using telehealth in 2019 to 46%.

Thanks to Apply Pay, Venmo, online banking and other applications, the popularity of contactless payment has soared across all industries. There’s growing demand for advanced payment technology with 83% of consumers preferring electronic payment methods for medical bills; however, healthcare systems have long been dependent on paper for collections. Payers and providers can expect payment experience to play a large role in loyalty, with 66% of consumers willing to consider switching providers for a better payment experience. Electronic payment methods are critical to not only streamlining collections but also reducing costs. Digital transformation completed to connect with payers in this way has saved the industry $102 billion. By investing in technology that streamlines collections, payers can yield positive ROI on payment assurance, net savings and overall consumer experience.

Redesigning Quality Care

The challenge before us is to drive continuity of care through digital solutions and reframe what it means to provide quality care to patients. By coupling the value-based care models that exist in the Medicare world with digital transformation, providers can refocus on treating patients holistically. By shifting care to become patient-focused with more agile, flexible means of delivery, positive patient experience will follow closely behind. The latest Black Book Research Survey of Healthcare CFOs found that not only 90% of providers have embraced virtual care solutions, but almost 75% have initiated “highly patient positive experiences” through this new method of care delivery.

Digital Evolution Post-Pandemic

Our calling now is to evolve digital transformation initiatives to meet the post-pandemic future. We must continue to invest in technology and processes that set a resilient foundation for potential disruptions and align with changing consumer expectations. How?

  • Build virtual health into plan designs
  • Reduce administrative burden by creating efficient, integrated systems
  • Adopt new policies to accommodate a remote workforce
  • Integrate technologies that promote interoperability and operational efficiency
  • Collect and analyze big data

The truth is the digital transformation we commit to now has the potential to change the future of healthcare forever. Maintaining momentum for digital transformation initiatives even after the COVID-19 pandemic is subdued will help payers not only survive, but prosper in a new normal as an essential part of business longevity.

emids has witnessed the convergence of payers and providers firsthand with a unique perspective of what the future may hold in a post-COVID world. Download the COVID-19 Resource Kit to see how we can support you to ensure your organization is armed with technology to combat this crisis and beyond.

As Healthcare Technology Solutions (HTS) president at emids, Kumar Kolin focuses on strategic initiatives, growth and research and development. Kolin leads the Innovation Team by serving as executive leader of Cloud Engineering. With over 25 years of success managing and leading high-performance technology teams, he served as Technology Partner, Deputy CIO and Digital Innovation Leader at industry giant Deloitte. Kolin is also founder and CEO of cloudx, a company designed to create an integrated partnership of domain, design and engineering constructed to reboot how technology services are delivered. Be sure to connect with Kumar on LinkedIn.

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