The new normal never really arrived for the healthcare industry. Caught up in a race to adapt and accelerate digital transformations, the post-pandemic recovery hasn’t been especially smooth. From staffing shortages to economic downturns, the industry has been fraught with incessant challenges. While the pandemic may be nearing its end, the same cannot be said of its consequences. As data comes to the fore of changing healthcare landscape, increased access to data and newer regulations would define customer expectations in the coming years.
With a new wave of innovation, modern technologies and solutions like wearables, telemedicine, and digital health solutions powered by AI intelligence are all set to transform the healthcare landscape, not only in 2023 but beyond that too.
Top 7 healthcare trends in the coming year
1. Remote patient monitoring (RPM)
To offer continuous care for patients throughout COVID, RPM was thrust into the spotlight. It’s not technically a new concept but has expanded and morphed into a useful service today finding greater acceptance among practitioners and patients. Apart from the data received through RPM devices being more accurate than self-reported data, it empowers medical practitioners in clinical contact centers to improve the patient experience.
The alleviation of clinical workflows enables nurses to view the data sent to them rather than contacting each patient individually for data. This allows nurses to spend more time with patients who require their expertise. By freeing staff from collecting tedious data, they are given more space and time to innovate methods for elevating the patient experience. Customized scripting’s and virtual lobbies can further enable healthcare professionals to seamlessly guide patients from the initial contact itself.
2. Personified patient engagement
The pandemic was responsible for the shutdown of large economic sectors and healthcare was no exception to it. With patients cancelling their appointments for the fear of catching the virus in waiting rooms, telemedicine volunteered a way out.
|A study by Medical Economics 2020, reported that 93% of patients would be using telemedicine to manage their prescriptions in the future.|
Telehealth: the unique blend of technology and healthcare allows virtual healthcare to become a reality by providing patients access to portals, video and phone appointments, and remote collaboration between clinicians. Telemedicine asks patients to stick to appointments, manage prescriptions and refills, and enable them to follow regimen recommendations, thus bringing in an element of personalization.
The trend for telehealth continues to be relevant even after the pandemic, owing to reduced operational costs in the clinical contact centers and lesser dependency on staff for manual work. The healthcare unified agent desktop can serve the purpose of offering a 360-degree view of the patient journey and keeping healthcare agents informed of upcoming visits, thus saving delays and preventing patient frustration. Healthcare staff can easily book patient appointments right from the unified desktops, which when configured with advanced integrations, help automate tasks such as triggering an automatic notification to healthcare professionals.
In the near future, ease of communication with providers, availability of virtual visit options, coordination among care teams, and ‘just-in-time’ reminders are going to drive personalization ahead.
3. Cloud computing for outsourced services
Cloud computing is bound to have a huge impact on outsourced healthcare services primarily because it changes the organization’s ability to consume IT. The healthcare industry has forever been suffering from staff shortages which have impacted patient experience adversely. In the backdrop of the great resignation taking concrete shape, it becomes imperative to make productive use of the staff onboard.
By outsourcing services to the cloud, clinical call center executives can enhance patient and member experience by bringing in agility, enhanced security, and reduced costs. It makes medical record-sharing easier and safer, automates backend operations, and facilitates the maintenance of telehealth apps. By making use of the data-center environment and specialized knowledge of third parties, health tech departments can be further freed to focus on innovation and core business rather than maintenance.
4. Rapid advancement of AI & ML
The use of agile technologies like AI and ML in healthcare can make predicting, diagnosing, monitoring, and treatment of diseases much more effortless and manageable. Enabling clinicians to monitor what their patients eat, when they sleep etc, allows for personalized patient care. The role of AI and ML in healthcare is only going to increase in the future:
|According to PwC, 73% of healthcare executives are confident that deep learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics will significantly improve their companies’ ability to treat patients onsite and remotely.|
The utilization of ML tools, such as NLP and text mining, can reveal valuable insights hidden in unstructured clinical data. This can be of special significance for the healthcare sector in breaking down data silos, organizing lab data, and communicating data as actionable information for patients, providers, and organizations alike.
A conversational chatbot in this context can provide continuous collaboration with patients, from answering questions on time to booking appointments easily all round the clock. AI bots can be especially useful in cognitive behavior therapy, thus assisting patients with mental health concerns. Further, making this data accessible across the organization can improve patient engagement and ensure value-based care.
5. Connectivity via the internet of medical things (IoMT)
IoT in healthcare contact centers has immense potential to transform patient engagement. A network of devices (including wearables) and objects that connect patients and clinicians, help automate tasks, and empower professionals with real-time data on patients. This enables tracking of patient behavior including seamless access to medical records, dispatching of medical information to healthcare providers, etc.
Remote monitoring is going to be central in delivering smart healthcare services in clinical contact centers. While the adoption has accelerated significantly due to the pandemic, the trend is likely to continue well into the future as patients access their physicians through body sensor devices, smart videos, teleconsultation, etc.
|A study by Juniper Research claims that IoMT in smart hospitals would exceed 7bn by 2016.|
This remote monitoring aided by connected devices presents a huge opportunity for patients and members to collect and analyze the large amount of data generated in smart hospitals, thus enabling informed decision-making.
6. Self-service patient portals
Expanding self-service capabilities is key to enhancing the patient experience. By using these portals, it becomes easier to provide patients with convenient and secure access to personal health information, 24X7. Equipped with self-service portals, it becomes easier to optimize communication with a healthcare provider and enhance patient engagement.
An intuitive self-service portal can also enable patients to schedule visits, access billing, and insurance information apart from securely accessing health information.
|According to an ONC report, 77% of health executives are investing in self-service patient portals, and close to 92% of patients rate access to medical records as important.|
Self-service IVR applications allow patients to connect with requested assistance within shorter timeframes. With sophisticated IVR technology, healthcare agents can route patients to the requested destination, thus deflecting calls from live agents. The use of NLP and speech recognition can further help decode patient intent and address their concerns proactively.
Visual IVR assistance can enrich the self-service experience even further with interactive visual overlays for an even better experience.
Further, integrating a patient portal with a CRM can enable providers to get access to the holistic history of the patient and eliminate the need to make repetitive data entries in different systems. Such integration can also help healthcare providers reduce data management costs and prevent the storage of duplicated information.
7. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)
Intelligent automation technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), mobile robots, and process automation software can enable streamlining of supply delivery and grant more space to providers to focus on patient engagement. From customizing patient monitoring to intelligent therapeutics, and social engagement with elderly patients, automation intelligence can do it all.
In addition, autonomous robots can simplify routine tasks, reduce the manual burden of healthcare staff and ensure more streamlined clinical flows. Nurses and caregivers can dedicate more time to human interaction and extend empathy to patients as robots alleviate their workload.
Also, by keeping track of the inventory and placing timely orders to ensure supplies, equipment and medication are in stock, automation software can overcome supply chain constraints that ravage the world today. This allows workers to be more focused on patient-centric and value-driven work.
As we move into the next phase of healthcare evolution, changes that offer both challenges and opportunities are bound to occur. To ensure that catering to the ever-growing demands of the healthcare industry does not become a challenge, it is critical to equip members with the right tools and technologies.
With healthcare-specific solutions from NovelVox, you can fulfill patients’ need for personalization while empowering healthcare providers with streamlined workflows and efficient healthcare practices.