Healthcare has truly been tested by the pandemic. The frontlines are delivering heroically, but the new normal for healthcare will look nothing like the normal we leave behind.
The pandemic is likely to result in a series of transformations that will fundamentally reshape healthcare as we know it. While there are an extensive set of issues for healthcare leaders to consider across each Trust, community and local authority, below are some critical items and hospital goals to aim for.
- Minimise Health Inequalities
- Leverage Data and Analytics
- Offer Blended Work Opportunities
- Maintain the Speed and Scale of Decision-Making
- Embed Seamless Communication
- Enhance Patient-Centered Care
1. Minimise Health Inequalities
From routine checkups to pregnancy, the restrictions of coronavirus have been felt far and wide. Helping patients holistically manage their health and well-being with reasonable adjustments to address physical, behavioural and social health should be prioritised right now.
The impact of COVID-19 will not be evenly felt across individuals of different socioeconomic status. Those who typically need access to the innovation are the ones furthest from it. To ensure inclusivity and equity, there needs to be time set aside to understand the multitude of patients and their evolving requirements.
2. Leverage Data and Analytics
There remains a tremendous untapped opportunity in healthcare to deploy digital technology and advanced analytic capabilities to improve operations and effectively orchestrate care delivery.
For example, healthcare providers that deploy sophisticated solutions powered by advanced analytics may be better able to retain customers during a downturn and grow new business coming out of a downturn.
There’s a crucial need for real-time data on patients with symptoms of coronavirus and hospital admissions. The use of critical care will become indispensable when monitoring the spread of the virus and demands for healthcare services. This means the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) will become imperative as we move toward remote monitoring solutions.
This will continue to be essential as isolation measures are lifted to identify emerging resurgences as well as to highlight which regular care outside of coronavirus can be safely provided.
3. Offer Blended Work Opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely lead to lasting changes for how care is delivered. Individuals may be more receptive to remote or technology-enabled models, including digital therapies and telehealth - but to deploy them successfully needs buy-in and education.
As doctors, patients and home care providers turn to telemedicine to reduce exposure to COVID-19, they’re quickly discovering these virtual consultations are effective for triaging care, sharing critical guidance and providing support.
There’s an undeniable link between levels of engagement and wellbeing among NHS staff and the quality of care those staff can deliver. Activating staff with innovative patient engagement platforms that help them better deliver patient-centric care not only makes their job easier, but can also give them time back to spend on those who need it most.
Going forward, to keep staff and patients safe, a balance between remote and on-site working will be vital.
4. Maintain the Speed and Scale of Decision-Making
While there have definitely been some challenges during these times, there’s also been undeniable opportunities. With digital transformation a priority rather than a plan, the traditional governance and bureaucracy that originally slowed these solutions down have been eased to allow for faster implementation.
Innovation is not a buzzword, but something the NHS has bolstered in their care. The main hospital goals should be to better streamline work, optimise systems, improve patient outcomes, reduce human error, lower costs, minimise miscommunication and ensure smoother handoffs. Which can all be facilitated by transformational solutions being pushed through.
Although the pandemic has been a stressful time for all, it’s enabled NHS leaders and their staff to introduce innovations at speed and scale, often achieving in weeks what might have taken years. An aspiration for anybody would be for this to continue.
5. Embed Seamless Communication
An investment needs to be made so that technology can replace the amounts of tedious paperwork healthcare staff often have to deal, allowing for more time to be spent with patients - and less time spent at a desk. A system like this requires fast and stable WiFi to function, so ensure you have this in place before purchasing any electronic file management systems.
Using technology, staff can access digital care plans and records more easily. These systems are a huge improvement on legacy systems and when introduced, they significantly boost patient, visitor and staff satisfaction as a result.
They can record information in real-time which can be quickly and accurately shared to help keep people safe, vital in today’s climate. It can also be used to highlight key information, such as up-to-date medical and allergy information.
It enables providers to be more proactive and responsive to changing needs by helping to identify developing risks quicker. The data can be anonymised, collected, shared, compared and analysed to highlight risks and themes, providing a bigger picture for the whole of care and beyond.
6. Enhance Patient-Centred Care
Enabling patients with modern solutions in healthcare is essential. Giving them an active role and access to self-care has the potential to shape their entire hospital experience. When patients can obtain, process and understand information about their health on their own terms, it empowers them.
Personalised care means people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered. NHSX’s Chief Digital Officer, Tara Donnelly, recently stressed the opportunity for digital tools and the advantages that come with such an implementation are boundless. From better patient experiences to regular feedback prompts, they provide the key to efficiency improvements and overall satisfaction.
Market-leading systems for hospitals allow patients to take control of their own healthcare. Rather than relying on staff to provide time, education and attention - patients can have everything they need on their device in front of them. This is especially important when trying to reduce the spread of infection during a pandemic.
You can personalise your patient’s experience by simply giving them the means to communicate however they like. This includes having the digital services, platforms, infrastructure and standards in place that will be ready for the significant increase in people who will need personalised care over the next 10 years.
It’s crucial to move with technological innovations that can help personalise the patient experience and support these frameworks to make digital patient-centric approaches ‘business as usual’. Better use of data has the power to transform the quality of health and care services while reducing costs. So how can we personalise a safe and positive experience for patients in the hospital?
More than 75% of all patients would like to use digital healthcare services. Today’s patients are well-equipped with technology, regardless of their age or background. It’s easy to leverage this familiarity with tech to avoid frustration and possible isolation for those admitted, utilising intelligent patient-centred care systems to adapt to their evolving needs. Used on both bedside and personal devices, these systems improve both efficiencies on the ward and overall patient satisfaction when paired with reliable WiFi.
Many of the changes in healthcare delivery adopted during the coronavirus crisis will also result in more productive healthcare services - something much needed in many healthcare systems globally.
Reimagining healthcare systems and services will require the buy-in of many. The innovation and resourcefulness of healthcare organisations in the immediate response to the pandemic is inspiring. This crisis has revealed not just vulnerabilities in our systems, but also transformative opportunities to improve healthcare. What can we expect in the next 12 months as the coronavirus aftermath unfolds?
Achieve Your Improving Patient Engagement Goals in 2021
There’s no doubt COVID-19 will continue to shape the next normal in healthcare. From care homes to clinics, technology will help to maintain positive patient experience going forward. Innovation is here to stay.
That’s why in our latest downloadable content offering, we’ve delved into the increasing pressure felt among patients, staff, residents and the industry as a whole. We’ve also taken a closer look at how technology alleviates it, saves costs and presents better health outcomes. Are you ready for more patient-centric technology solutions? Get your copy below.