The Healthcare industry is constantly evolving. Sure, a recent phase in that evolution has been tied to the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. But beyond those sweeping changes that redefined how we think about quality of care, coverage, and access in the United States, there’s also the wave of change (and huge potential) in the technology side of things, too. In today’s healthcare environment, we’re able to capture large volumes of data faster than ever before—whether it’s patient information, treatment and dosage data, or even hospital staff behaviors. The current data challenge is less about how we get it—and more about how we manage it, analyze it, and extract actionable insights from it to create high-reliability cultures.
Here are a few technology-focused trends to help healthcare players find a clearer path forward.
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Industry Trend #1
There’s a growing need for efficiencies that both increase quality of care and also reduce cost. The answer some of the industry’s biggest names are turning to: mergers & acquisitions. In fact, we saw 115 healthcare mergers & acquisitions in 2017 alone. From the Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) national merger to the local Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health deal, these hospitals and health systems are combining their individual strengths to create economies of scale.
But what happens once these M&A deals take place? The proper transfer of medical data is essential—that’s a given. But there’s also a need to establish a cohesive vision for this new, combined entity, and then clearly communicate it to internal teams. Why? Because dissatisfaction and confusion are two things you don’t want in a healthcare setting. At best, it can affect productivity. At worst, it can cost lives. When you manage your M&A story properly, healthcare workers understand their role and how they fit into the changing business.
Are you in the midst of a merger & acquisition—or simply evolving your business to meet patient needs more efficiently and effectively? As companies combine their resources, it’s important to look at the way this change affects your internal and external communications. Softway can help.
Industry Trend #2
It’s no secret: the nature of employment is changing throughout the U.S.—and healthcare is no exception. Now more than ever, the healthcare workplace represents a wide variety of experience, skill, and education levels, as well as differing
employee outlooks and generational mindsets. These variables are something employers must keep in mind, especially when considering technological understanding and preferred communication styles.
But that shouldn’t mean holding onto outdated technologies. A majority of healthcare communications happen over email, for example, even as the world becomes more dependent on real-time communication. As a result, healthcare environments are still struggling to catch up. Teams are also still dependent on older training models. One example is training videos, which offer consistency in their content, but a passive learning experience for audiences. Another, traditional teacher-student classes, offer more opportunities for direct engagement, but can vary in content and quality based on the teacher. Today, there are effective options like augmented reality (AR) to simulate real-world scenarios that can teach skills for everything from surgical scenarios to reinforcing proper bedside manner.
The best way to navigate these changes? Own them. Challenge and revisit your existing processes—then share new and improved ones. Are you looking to implement new programs that help your employees stay up-to-speed? We can help. Here’s one place to start.
Industry Trend #3
From the invention of medical x-rays to the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR), technological breakthroughs have continuously changed what’s possible when it comes to patient outcomes. Today, many of healthcare’s biggest advances are centered on helping patients and providers quickly connect with critical medical information.
One way is through the advancement of wearable devices. While these devices were first introduced to the mass market in 2006, the trend didn’t really explode until 2014. Since then, healthcare innovators have been seeking new ways to harness the potential of wearable devices into their patient care programs. Insurance companies are paying attention, too. In fact, at least one provider is offering discounts to diabetic patients who track their blood sugar with a wearable device.
Right now, the question isn’t how can you gather personalized, real-time patient data, but rather—how do we focus those data needs and extract insights? This is where clear care goals, creativity, technical expertise, and data science comes into play. You may need a partner to help build software that can integrate this data to help drive better patient care and decision making. We can help you take the leap.
We’re here with expert strategists who can help you get to the heart of your business needs—and seasoned UX, creative, and development teams to create the solutions. If you want to get together, look at some past work samples, and talk through some possible approaches, we’re ready when you are.