Caitlin Clement|11/10/2022|4 min read

Is Your Health System Operating Efficiently?

Five digital transformation strategies to meet patient expectations

Graphic image with statistic copy "73 percent of provider groups are not reaching their implementation goals"

According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), 76% of U.S. hospitals, as of 2017, connected with patients and consulting practitioners at a distance through the use of video and other technology. Since then, a 2022 Health System Survey by The Chartis Group indicates most provider groups (73%) are not reaching the implementation milestones at the pace patients expect.

These sets of data show that health systems and hospitals were quick to adopt telehealth and other personalized patient care technology but have yet to fully integrate it into their service lines. As a result, they are falling short where their virtual counterparts are meeting patient demands.

In this blog, we’ll cover five digital health strategies health systems and hospitals can use to meet the demands of their patients and succeed in the new competitive landscape. 

Compile and apply consumer insights

Any leader in any industry would tell you data is everything. This of course, is no exception to that long standing rule. Since most health systems are still in the planning portion, these insights are only in the beginning stages of where they need to be for many. It’s important to have a full picture of what your patients and providers want and will use before fully implementing a new technology.

That being said, many organizations are not putting the necessary resources in place to collect the data and using the lack thereof as an excuse to delay implementation. It’s important to put organized and efficient processes in place that get you the data you need in a reasonable amount of time. Make it a priority at the enterprise level and set expectations with your team on collecting that data.

Expand beyond clinical interactions

While it can be easy to do, don’t only focus on the patient-provider interaction. It’s certainly central to understanding patient needs and developing personalized patient care, but it can be one dimensional. Additionally, it's important to know how patients access care as much as why they do. 

Here are a couple of touch points you should consider tracking:

  • Portal usage

  • Phone calls

  • Web traffic

  • Mobile vs. Desktop

  • Synchronous vs. Asynchronous visits

Supplementing these can help give you a better, overall understanding of consumer behavior and give your providers insights into what their patient needs. It also helps health systems understand at an enterprise level what digital offerings are worth investing in to improve patient outcomes across service lines. 

Partner with digital health companies

Yes, they’re your competitors, but they can be even better partners. Investing in partnerships with digital health companies can help reach your digital health implementation goals much faster. 

For instance, building an intuitive technology platform that services virtual care visits can take a lot of internal organization and funding. With hospitals and health systems already experiencing staffing shortages, it can take even more time to round up the resources needed. Partnering with a digital health company that already has a pre-vetted platform with interoperable API integrations can save you time, money and stress. 

It doesn’t stop there either. Health systems can partner with pharmacies and retailers to lighten the load put on their in-house pharmacists while still meeting patient medication requirements. 

Diagnostic labs are another great partnership to think about. When set up correctly with all goals and expectations communicated thoroughly, patients and providers can see lab results returned within days instead of weeks. This allows providers to make diagnosis faster, start treatments sooner and work towards better patient outcomes. 

Okay, so you’ve attracted all of these new patients with faster lab results and better technology, but you're still understaffed. Investing in a provider staffing network can allow health systems to contract out and gain access to providers and specialists that meet patient demand nationwide, whether in-person or virtually. Thus, re-allocating the necessary internal recruiting resources that would have been needed to more important patient care areas. 

Align patient and health system value drivers

Being able to accurately predict consumer behavior through the data collected above will help you understand the key value drivers that make the end investment worth it. At the end of the day, health systems are businesses that need to see returns. By understanding what your patients believe are value drivers, you can align your own value and create a sustainable business model and leave room to scale down the road.

Invest in an enterprise approach

Implementing a digital transformation is going to take collaboration—starting from the top. Healthcare leaders need to accept that the healthcare landscape has changed and the only way to stay competitive is adapt and adopt. Adapt to the new ideas surrounding meaningful patient care and adopt the technology needed to meet demands. 

Long standing health systems run the risk of losing their ability to attract new patients, retain existing ones, build strong provider networks and expand into new markets. Ensuring that all leadership and expertise from technology infrastructure to clinical staff are aligned in their strategic goal is paramount to success. 

In the same report by The Chartis Group, they provided questions for health systems to consider if they want to succeed in the new landscape. We felt these were a great way to start the high-level discussions that are needed to successfully implement a digital transformation.

  • When does your health system expect to implement its digital transformation vision?

  • Will your health system risk losing a critical mass of patients if it doesn’t make that transition soon?

  • How does your health system personalize care for its patients? What informs those personalization efforts?

  • What is your health system’s strategy to compete or partner with disruptors in digital transformation?

  • What can health systems learn from disruptors? What are they doing well? What are consumers finding value in?

OpenLoop supports the future of health systems

Health systems and hospitals are behind in adopting the next in healthcare technology, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to implement them. We partner with health systems and provide them with a suite of telehealth and digital health services that put them back into the competitive landscape. OpenLoop matches their patients with our network of expert clinicians and revolutionizes the way they offer virtual care.

Interested in what our services can offer your organization? Get in touch here!

Our full suite of Telehealth Support Services include:

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