Over the next five years, physician offices are expected to see significant changes as more doctors use existing technologies and adopt emerging ones. Physicians and patients will benefit through more intelligent, up-to-date conversations and diagnosis.
PROVIDING MORE CONVENIENT PATIENT VISITS
With the help of technologies, including EHRs and virtual assistants, visits can be more streamlined and efficient for both patients and physicians. This can optimize everyone’s time.
A survey found 97% of patients are frustrated by long wait times—with 55% spending 15 minutes or more in the waiting room. Physician offices can provide solutions to reduce the time spent in a waiting room or eliminate that wait altogether.
- Mobile check-ins that direct the patient to an exam room without stopping in a waiting room.
- Filling out forms and providing information before arrival.
- Physicians digitally accessing patient information before the appointment.
UTILIZING WEARBLE DEVICE DATA
Wearable technology such as fitness trackers, smart watches, and FDA-approved medical and implantable devices are gaining popularity among consumers. These devices are the No. 1 fitness trend for 2019.
The wearables market is expected to reach 240.1 million units in 2021, which is twice the amount in 2016, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). These devices are now extending beyond watches and wrist bands to include earwear, clothing and other wearable technologies.
Wearables are more than just a popular trend. Data collected from these devices can help patients and doctors gain accurate data and real-time insights into patient actions, diets, sleep patterns, heart rates and more. The technologies can help patients stick to wellness goals and a plan, while providing physicians information to monitor patient activities.
Some wearables can alert a patient or physician if the wearer’s vital signs fall below a certain threshold that may require treatment or intervention, or if the person is developing a certain condition. For example, a “smart sock” can alert diabetics if they are at risk of developing foot ulcers.
Wearable technology also allows physicians to stay connected to coworkers and have immediate access to data, replacing a pager or phone system.
TECH-ENABLED VIRTUAL HEALTH CARE
Virtual health care visits, where the patient and physician are in different locations and communicate via mobile devices or computers, are already available through many insurance plans and health systems. A survey of patients treated through a telehealth clinic found that one-third of respondents preferred telehealth over an in-office visit. By 2022, this industry could reach $3.5 billion in revenues.
A tech-enabled office will reduce the need for in-patient visits, which reduces the frustrations associated with long wait times. It also eliminates the travel, which can be a challenge for the elderly or people in rural areas.
Telehealth can occur through a remote video conversation or where patients submit information, such as health data, symptoms or readings from wearable devices, to a healthcare professional and receive a diagnosis without physically visiting the physician office.
Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2000, are one of the drivers of this trend. This generation doesn’t value face time with doctors as much as previous generations and wants to leverage technology for their healthcare. Millenials are most likely to be interested in telehealth, with 60% of them supporting the use of it. To attract this group, which now comprises the nation’s largest demographic population, physician offices must adapt to current and future patient demands.