IMPROVING PATIENT ENGAGEMENT WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGY
Virtual health technology such as video, mobile apps, text-based messaging, sensors and social platforms can deliver health services that are independent of time or location. This allows people to choose care on their own terms. People between ages 18 and 34 are the most likely to be interested in telehealth.
For in-person visits, digital technologies can streamline the exam by getting patients’ information, collecting symptom data and identifying potential treatment options prior to the visit. Virtual medical assistants often guide patients through standard intake questions, such as symptoms and family medical history, and analyze the combined information with a diagnostic engine so physicians can consider clinical options before the exam. Other technologies take notes for physicians during exams so they can focus on patients. All of this can help attract millennials.
“Technology is changing the healthcare industry and can have a very positive impact,” Grittner says.
Common consumer devices, such as wearable sensors and biometric devices, let healthcare providers gather patient information. While members of each demographic group may have their own preferences for the type of devices they wear, facilities that can harness the data better serve patients.
“Technology is making it easy for patients to access their data, and also for physicians,” Cavanagh says. “Physicians have never had this much access to patient data for a total approach to care.”
PREPPING FOR A NEW ERA OF HEALTHCARE
Millennials expect online resources and advanced healthcare technologies. To keep up, physicians must wear a business hat in additional to their stethoscopes.
“You have to run a business in addition to providing care,” Grittner says. “You have to keep up on social media and marketing, and other aspects of a business now more than ever.”
Cavanagh, who is a millennial, agrees. “Just like doctors keep up with continuing education and accreditation, they need to keep up with how businesses are changing,” he says. “Make sure you have someone in the office who’s staying up to date on technology and be open to implementing it. If you want to know how millennials consume information, hire one who has grown up using these technologies.”
Facilities can also stay current on trends by working with a qualified group purchasing organization (GPO). Provista, for example, works with leading suppliers who understand and offer innovative technologies that help meet each demographic group’s needs.
“GPOs have subject matter experts who understand technology,” Cavanagh says. “The same questions that you’re asking your staff are the same questions GPOs are asking their suppliers.”