At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we experienced a major shift from in-person care to telehealth. Providers and enterprises across the healthcare industry quickly developed a telehealth solution that would meet the demand for delivering care at a distance. The need to provide a solution fast led to many organizations implementing a patchworked solution of third-party apps that they now have difficulty connecting. For example, their appointment scheduling, bill pay, and telehealth platforms may all be run on different, siloed systems/apps.
Now that patients are returning to their in-person appointments, there is a real need to consolidate digital health solutions and improve the user experience for both staff and patients. Necessary services include single sign-on and integrations so that staff and patients don’t need different logins and systems to do everything. What organizations need is a digital front door for a hybrid care model that gracefully combines telehealth with in-person care.
While the digital front door is a digital healthcare solution for patient autonomy, its purpose is not to exclusively deliver digital services, like telehealth. The digital front door should allow patients to manage their in-person care with ease, while also seamlessly managing telehealth options.
How Telehealth and Digital Health Expanded during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Before the pandemic, healthcare experts predicted that telehealth would mature in about five to ten years. During the pandemic, organizations quickly pivoted to create digital healthcare solutions in just six months.
In just two months, from February 2020 to April 2020, the number of Medicare primary care visits conducted through telehealth took a gigantic leap, from 0.1% to 43.5%. But, as more people get vaccinated, and the number of COVID-19 cases begins to decrease, more and more patients are opting to return to in-person appointments.
Although more patients are returning to in-person visits with their doctors, it’s clear that telehealth is an integral part of the healthcare journey and an important modality by which care is delivered.
|“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine was just another modality of care. But during the pandemic, it was the modality for delivering care. Now, it’s returned to being another tool in the toolbox.
“We knew telehealth was coming, but it came so fast that workflow technologies haven’t caught up to integrating it into physical care. Now that the number of telehealth visits is leveling out, we don’t want telehealth to be siloed off from physical care, but instead successfully integrated into in-person care.”
— Mordechai Raskas, Chief Medical Information Officer, Director of Telemedicine at PM Pediatrics
Create a Digital Front Door Strategy for a Seamless Hybrid Model of Care That Encourages Patient Engagement
The digital front door is the solution to providing a seamless and enjoyable digital health experience for users. It is the digital solution that patients have been demanding from their healthcare providers–a single point of entry to a suite of tools that allows them autonomy over their care. However, while the digital front door is a digital solution that encompasses telehealth, it is also an essential part of in-person care.
For example, virtual services such as patient intake and online scheduling are not exclusive to telehealth services. These are useful tools for in-person care that help encourage patient engagement and improve administrative efficiency. Patients are now demanding that healthcare function as seamlessly as the consumer-based apps (e.g. airline check-in, banking, and retail) that they’re accustomed to.
How can providers ensure they’re offering the best of both worlds, now that it’s clear that there is a need to provide a better experience for both in-person care and virtual care?
Workshop Your Digital Front Door to Ensure Workflow Efficiency
If you are a healthcare organization that has built an interim telehealth solution for the Covid-19 pandemic, and you’re wondering how to successfully carry it into the future, consider enlisting the help of an experienced team of healthcare software development experts to help you plan your digital health solution.
Discovery and project planning are extremely beneficial to healthcare organizations’ planning. The discovery process allows healthcare organizations to develop an integrated digital healthcare solution by defining four key components:
- Feature set. Do current systems offer sufficient features to cover everything that patients and administrative staff need to efficiently run their organization?
- Interfaces. How can disparate digital health solutions connect into a single system to create a seamless and enjoyable experience for patients and staff?
- User roles. Which users will use the system? How do they currently interact with one another and how would they interact in an ideal world?
- Benefits and goals. In addition to improving the patient experience, it’s important to explore what types of business goals and ROI the system can meet and produce.
The Future of Healthcare Is a Hybrid Model that Encompasses Telehealth and In-Person Care
If you’re interested in a custom digital health solution for your healthcare organization that seamlessly integrates telehealth and enhances the in-person care experience, get in touch with us online or call 1-866-932-9944.