Article

Bring a Digital Transformation in Healthcare to Your Non-Acute Facility

June 13, 2022
blue to orange gradient of a front desk healthcare worker talking to a patient

Many non-acute healthcare organizations are looking at options for replacing time-consuming manual processes with digital workflows. Commonly known as a digital transformation in healthcare, this process aims to implement and integrate digital technologies into all areas of the business.

Evolving from paper forms and manual processes and moving toward digital can help non-acute healthcare facilities optimize workflows. This shift simplifies operations and provides several benefits, including:

  • Process efficiencies
  • Workflow automation
  • Internal and external communications
  • Data sharing
  • Patient experiences
As with organizations in many industries, the pandemic accelerated healthcare’s shift toward digital processes as an additional way to interact with patients. 

Facilities want to connect with patients digitally, offer mobile check-in and allow patients to fill out forms online instead of manually in order to minimize physical contact between patients and staff. Many facilities are also offering more services via telemedicine, which also takes advantage of modern digital capabilities.

Facilities are also improving patient experiences by leveraging modern transportation services like ride sharing. Providers are booking rides through services like Lyft to overcoming the challenge many patients face of not having transportation to get to and from appointments. 
 
Digital transformations are encouraging organizations to migrate to the cloud. The cloud offers immediate scalability for facilities to store their data, which is important because digital produces more data than manual processes. Operations like accounting can also be cheaper to operate and easier to modernize in cloud environments when compared to traditional on-premises systems.
 
“The cloud makes it easier to access data, particularly when it comes to patient records. Doctors would be able to see the patient’s case file more quickly, making appointments more convenient,” according to a 2022 medical trends article
 
ENABLING THE HEALTHCARE DIGITAL FRONT DOOR

Many patients want digital healthcare management tools, which can be part of a facility’s digital front door. According to PYMNTS.com, 76% of patients want digital tools to manage their healthcare services or provider interactions. Among millennials and younger patients, that number is 86%.
Digital tools can include anything from mobile apps for communicating with providers to video platforms for remote appointments to websites offering online reviews of clinics. 
 
The digital front door optimizes digital tools and technologies, such as apps and mobile devices, to allow patients to easily access healthcare information, manage appointments and make contactless payments—all online. Facilities that use digital technology can deliver new levels of patient convenience and connected experiences across the entire patient journey, which many organizations strive for. A survey from Deloitte found that 92% of healthcare systems want to achieve better patient experiences from their digital transformation.

Healthcare organizations were investing in technology to achieve their digital transformations. Deloitte found that a great percentage of organization invested in specific areas, such as:

  • 76% in insights and analytics technologies
  • 68% in virtual health services
  • 56% in the cloud
Digital technologies are the foundation of the internet of medical things (IoMT), which combines internet-connected medical devices and applications with other systems and networks to share information. The IoMT can be used to monitor patients remotely, manage electronic patient information and serve other use cases. 
APPLYING DIGITAL SOLUTIONS TO AUTOMATE PROCESSES

One benefit of digital transformations is the ability to enable new levels of automation. Healthcare facilities can realize this automation benefit for procurement and other tasks. For example, a modern materials management platform can enhance and support automation for ordering and inventory.
 
Envi is a software that does just that. Handheld devices connected digitally via Envi allow workers to simply scan barcodes for inventory and delivery, enabling significant time savings. Scanning reduces complexity and streamlines workflows for faster, more efficient processes. Envi also integrates with internal systems, such as clinical and financial systems, to make invoicing easier.

This type of software, in conjunction with modern workflow tools, drive new levels of automation across facilities. Automated processes include invoicing, ordering, assigning workloads, sending patient notification and performing other tasks. 

In addition, a modern digital transformation can automate medical coding and clinical documentation improvement processes. The automation helps prevent errors, which manual coding is prone to, and can eliminate human intervention to save staff time. Likewise, digitally connecting and automating departmental systems can drive appropriate reimbursements and assist with financial operations.

MODERNIZE END-TO-END PROCESSES

In an era of pervasive digital technology, some facilities are still using Excel spreadsheets for ordering and tracking inventory. This manual approach is not scalable or efficient. A digital transformation gives healthcare organizations the capabilities to move away from spreadsheets for inventory, manual booking for appointments and vulnerable data security for protection against breaches. They instead can modernize through digital processes.
 
Healthcare is ripe for a transformation. “The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have lagged behind when it comes to implementing digital strategies,” noted Digital Authority Partners.
 
If facilities take a strategic approach to digital and implement the right technologies for their needs, they can realize operational benefits while reducing the risk of cyberattacks. A digital strategy can improve a facility’s security against breaches. “Understand that cybersecurity digital and should be integrated at every stage of digital implementation for stronger risk management.” stated Deloitte.

Non-acute healthcare facilities can accelerate their move to digital and realize the benefits sooner by talking to their group purchasing organization (GPO) about which solutions to implement. GPOs work with IT experts and suppliers who understand the latest technologies and also know which solutions are best for a facility based on its needs and budget.
 
This allows organizations to achieve their digital transformation in healthcare in a timeframe and at a price point that meets their goals. 

“GPOs work with IT experts and suppliers who understand the latest technologies and also know which solutions are best for a facility based on its needs and budget.”

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