Customer rankings have changed many things relating to healthcare. Satisfied patients lead to better coverage options, rankings and, in some cases, funding.
As a provider, this is likely frustrating. You do what you do to take care of your patients and their health; you want what’s best for them and are willing to do everything you can – within the law and under current insurance guidelines – to treat the conditions they present with.
But, how much of it depends on you…and how much relates to what they do with the information and instructions you give them after they’ve left your office or facility?
A recent Forbes article, “How Healthcare Will Keep Pace with the Big Data Revolution,” shares many ways in which technology has increased the average person’s access to health data and information. Patients have more information available to them than ever before, before they even step foot inside a doctor’s office or medical facility. Additionally, remote health monitoring tools put more control in their hands than ever before.
Once again, this may be helpful at certain points, but at others, it might lead to frustration. Patients self-diagnosing major issues can be more of a cause for concern than for action.
What if it could be helpful instead? What if the information and technology available to your patients could lead to higher patient satisfaction levels and higher levels of health in general? What if accurate data was the starting point for all of it?
An All-Too-Common Scenario
While you cannot ensure the happiness of every patient following every office visit, you’ve probably faced a fairly common scenario:
A patient presents with a health issue or condition. After a thorough workup, you’re able to determine the cause. You provide a course of treatment, along with specific follow-up instructions, all designed to get that patient back to health as quickly as possible. They leave the office. You hear nothing.
A week or two later, the same patient presents him or herself. He or she is frustrated; his or her condition has worsened or has failed to improve. The original diagnosis is questioned and you are asked for additional treatment options.
You ask questions. You find out that the medication wasn’t taken properly or for the prescribed amount of time. Perhaps lifestyle change advice wasn’t heeded. Maybe another instruction wasn’t followed accurately.
You give the same advice you gave the first time, along with an emphasis on the importance of following directions.
The patient leaves the office frustrated. Perhaps this time he or she follows the instructions you gave. Maybe not. You might only find out how frustrated the patient is when a record transfer request is received from another office. Maybe the patient doubts your future diagnoses. What happens at this point varies from one situation to another.
The bottom line is this: your patient is frustrated, and so are you. You know what has to be done, but, you have a hard time enforcing that action from the sidelines.
How Data Could Change the Storyline
One potential solution to this all-too-common story involves a little bit of data, combined with technology that’s already available.
We’ve discussed the way out-of-office monitoring and wearables could alter patient-physician relationships, but what about technology-based follow-up? If your office was able to use the wearable devices your patients likely already use, to view behaviors that take place after office visits in concordance with standard follow-up procedures, real change might start to take place.
If patients could submit data relating to lifestyle factors on an ongoing basis, and if that data could be tracked and analyzed seamlessly, proactive suggestions may be able to prevent common healthcare issues from arising in the first place. Most importantly, if otherwise latent data, or “dark data” could be used, instead of ignored or sent to the back-drop to track trends, health, on a wide scale, might improve.
Healthier patients are more satisfied patients. Satisfied patients are a goal for all healthcare providers and clinics. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Some of the technology is still in the works. But others – especially technology relating to mobile workflows that analyze healthcare data to its fullest extent – are already available.
Ready to learn more? Request a live demo today. The future of healthcare lies in the power of data; we’d love to share what that looks like for your practice.