In a dynamic world full of unforeseen problems that can strike at any moment, the healthcare sector faces many changes that pose a huge problem to hospitals. Whether it's technological innovations, the ever-changing government regulations, patient expectations, and even the Covid-19 Pandemic implications, running a medical institution doesn't stop at treating patients. There's so much more in play when it comes to healthcare management today. Let's dive right into it.
The Telemedicine Explosion
From the better part of 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed a challenge in the healthcare sector. Hospitals have shown a shift in physical to virtual visits in a bid to limit the spread of the infectious disease. In fact, statistics show that patient adoption of virtual care grew from 11 percent in 2019 to 46 percent in 2020. Many caregivers have had to dive into the telehealth system with little to no experience. As such, it may be tough to seamlessly care for a patient from the first appointment to follow-up.
Luckily, it's easy to create a working telehealth system that complements physician efforts. Carefully develop physician routines and automate the virtual check-in and check-out process. Additionally, it would be beneficial to stay ahead of the competition by using incentives like low-cost or free virtual consultations to attract people willing to travel for specialized procedures that cost a huge chunk of money.
The Technology Burden
Traditionally, technology in healthcare has focused more on improving patient care, for instance, alerting physicians to possible adverse reactions to a drug. While that's a good thing, technology can be a pain for the clinicians who treat patients.
Even before the pandemic hit, physicians had to deal with monotonous drop-down menus, regulatory reporting requirements, and countless alerts. Picture how hectic it can be now that most patient visits are virtual!
For medical providers to have a great experience and enhance their efficiency at work, optimising their digital experience and minimising administrative tasks is paramount. And since manual processes can be tedious and error-prone it is essential to reduce risk and improve efficiency across your healthcare organisation, and one of the best ways to do so is to streamline the contract review and negotiation process. That will come in handy in eliminating burnout, improving patient care, and ultimately increasing patient referrals. Also, employers should consider prioritising employees' mental health by extending benefits such as digital therapies and mental health treatment.
The Complex Insurance Claim Process
The only way a hospital will run smoothly is if patients pay their medical expenses. With most people relying on medical insurance coverage to settle bills, insurance claims play a major role in a medical centre’s operations. Hospitals generally have to deal with insurance providers directly rather than the patient as regards billing, and you may find your practice encountering a complex insurance claim.
There's a silver lining to the problem, though. You could outsource services from companies that have experience helping hospitals to tackle complex coverage reimbursement. Revenue cycle management services such as Kemberton Complex Coverage takes on claims that you'd consider too complex or time-consuming to undertake. When it comes to complex coverage reimbursement, a professional working exclusively on such claims can make the insurance claim process quick and easy.
The Cybersecurity Threat
Multiple medical practices, both big and small, integrate healthcare technology that generally involves internet connectivity. While technology may ease hospital operations, it may also attract computer hackers. That means hospitals whose medical devices connect to the internet are prone to malicious cyber-attacks. The hackers could, for instance, invade medical devices and deliver lethal medical doses that can harm patients. They could also intercept the physicians' medical information networks and steal clinical trial or research data.
The best way to deal with the cyber threat is to get ahead of the situation and protect your medical devices. First of all, limit equipment access to authorized and trusted persons only. It would help if you also separated external patient medical devices from the internal ones on your network. The cost may be higher, but it'll be worth it in the end as you'll limit intrusion. Another solution is to invest in security protocols like strong firewalls and multiple authentication factors.
The Uncertainty in Healthcare Forecasting
Like any other industry, the primary way to ensure your hospital thrives and stays ahead of the rest is by preparing for the future. That's especially critical today at a time when the pandemic continues to grapple the health care sector from all corners. You'll need a forecasting system to show you what's coming ahead in terms of the economy, consumer behaviour, and a change in the insurance market.
Your hospital is likely to benefit from predictive modelling for the healthcare industry. When you invest in this sector, you'll be able to plan your next steps by finding out what could hugely impact your business and how to handle that. Essentially, you'll receive early warning signs and mitigate the danger long before it happens! The time of using historical trends to predict future steps has gone with the winds—It's now time to embrace a prospective approach to things by leveraging real-time information.
The Big Data Challenge
As the days go by, patient data increases. Healthcare data generally cuts across multiple providers, patients, and payers like insurance companies. You'll find no single data source that a physician can use to optimise the patient experience. Another problem arises with change. Picture this, a patient may choose to change insurance or healthcare providers. Physicians might have to rely on the patient's reporting to generate or reconstruct their medical records. That restricts the flow of information and challenges the power to access data for efficient service delivery.
That's why hospital leadership ought to employ data-driven governance. One way is by implementing non-relational database technology to access and utilise data from multiple sources, even if it comes in contrasting formats. With such information, physicians can use the data to personalise care and develop solutions to patient problems.
Currently, many obstacles face the healthcare industry. While some issues may require time and extensive funding, others may need a simple change in your administrative strategy. Well, the future of your hospital will be bright if you only get ahead of these challenges!
That was enlightening and super apt, particularly with our current world circumstances! Be sure to check out the media below that shares why the economics of healthcare will never be the same: