From hospitals to private practices, healthcare organizations have been rapidly adopting digital care solutions to continue providing patients with high-quality care during the COVID-19 crisis, but their value extends far beyond a COVID-19 response measure. In fact, a 2019 survey reported that 53 percent of patients preferred the convenience of digital care pre-COVID-191 , and a recent survey showed 76 percent were interested in using telehealth going forward2—and there are many significant reasons why.
The right digital care solution can provide benefits such as:
- The ability to help patients get better faster at a lower cost
- Significantly improved patient satisfaction and adherence
- Fewer unnecessary in-person visits
- Improved staff competency
While “digital care” immediately conjures thoughts of telehealth, a good digital care suite should also include a full range of patient engagement, adherence tracking, and outcomes reporting tools. To take your program to the next level, you can leverage clinical care templates and targeted clinical education to provide standardized evidence-based care and empirically improve outcomes.
Drive Patient Activation and Engagement
Whether you’re using digital care to supplement or replace in-person visits, an effective patient engagement solution allows you to boost patient activation while remediating areas of low adherence, helping you to ensure that patients remain engaged throughout their entire care plan.
Home Exercise Programs
Patients are more likely to adhere to home exercise programs that are engaging, easily accessible, and customized to meet their needs. With interactive exercises prescribed in achievable daily doses, digital HEP options are often better suited to help boost patient adherence and satisfaction, while also saving the clinician time that would otherwise be spent customizing traditional printed materials.
A patient’s understanding of their condition and treatment plan is an important component of their overall adherence and satisfaction. In a digital environment, patients can be given access to educational videos that are customized to their unique condition and treatment plan, which they can watch or review at their convenience. Data shows that patients who have a higher degree of knowledge of their rehabilitation and condition are more prone to engage in rehabilitative behaviors.3
Having a telehealth solution in your toolbox is proving to be highly beneficial beyond its use in the current healthcare crisis. The right telehealth solution can:
- Allow you to treat patients who find it difficult to visit the clinic due to physical disability, scheduling difficulties, or living in a rural location
- Provide supplemental check-ins between visits to quickly answer patient questions and give advice or recommendations
- Deliver valuable information about a patient’s home environment, which can help inform treatment strategies
Using a telehealth solution that pairs with a home exercise program allows you to walk through exercises and education with your patients in real time to ensure they understand movements and concepts. Studies demonstrate that patients who are guided through their muskuloskeletal home exercises programs with their provider have a significantly faster improvement in rehabilitation and achieve higher outcome scores.4
Patients with low activation scores incur costs up to 21 percent higher than patients with high activation levels.5 When patients feel supported and informed, they’re more motivated, so providing additional context about how they are progressing through their treatment can help keep them engaged.
Monitor Reporting on Outcomes and Adherence
Monitoring program completion as well as patient feedback on pain and difficulty will help you adjust care plans to better suit your patient’s needs. When patients complete their care plans, they experience better results, greater satisfaction, and improved loyalty—which helps improve outcomes and drive profits. According to one study, increasing patient retention rates by even 5 percent increases profits by between 25 and 95 percent.6
Outcomes Tracking and Reporting
It’s also important to monitor overall trends across patient populations so that you can quickly pinpoint gaps in performance as they arise and identify patterns before they become a problem. Monitoring and tracking outcomes can help provide data-driven insights that will help you determine the appropriate clinical training for your staff and home exercise programs for your patients, boosting outcomes across your organization.
Take It to the Next Level with Standardized Care
Clinical Care Templates
Care delivery is more efficient and effective when organizations can standardize treatment approaches based on best practices. One key strategy for improving care standardization is employing digital care pathway templates for common conditions. With company-wide templates based on the latest clinical guidelines and evidence-based best practices, you can more easily scale high-quality care to your patient population across providers and locations.
Targeted Clinical Education
By pairing clinical education with your patient engagement solution, you can identify low performance areas from your outcomes data and assign targeted clinical education to help remediate gaps. If your digital care suite includes access to an extensive library of high-quality online continuing education, you can efficiently train staff on evidence-based best practices for treating a wide variety of common and uncommon conditions. The result? Increased staff competency, better care consistency, and improved outcomes.
Putting It All Together
With a digital care suite composed of the above elements, organizations can streamline clinician workflows through appropriate training templates, effectively engage patients through telehealth and digital HEP, and utilize specialized clinical training pathways to create a digitized and standardized care and training pathway for patients with specialized conditions, leading to substantial savings while improving the quality and efficiency of care.
Business recovery is top of mind for many healthcare leaders right now. For additional tips and strategies on strengthening your organization during the current crisis, visit our Business Recovery Solution page.
- Sawesi, S., Rashrash, M., Phalakornkule, K., Carpenter, J. S., & Jones, J. F. (2016). The impact of information technology on patient engagement and health behavior change: a systematic review of the literature. JMIR Medical Informatics, 4(1).
- Shebib, R., Bailey, J. F., Smittenaar, P., Perez, D. A., Mecklenburg, G., & Hunter, S. (2019). Randomized controlled trial of a 12-week digital care program in improving low back pain. npj Digital Medicine, 2(1). Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-018-0076-7
- Hibbard JH, Greene J, Overton V, Patients With Lower Activation Associated With Higher Costs; Delivery Systems Should Know Their Patients’ ‘Scores’. HealthAffairs. 2013;32(2):216-222
- Reicheld, F. F., & Sasser Jr, W. E. 2003. Zero defections. Operations management: critical perspectives on business and management, 105: 289.