Survey: Health systems see technology as key to improving patient visits

A new survey by the Center for Connected Medicine and KLAS Research finds that patient access remains a top concern for most health system leaders, with telemedicine, artificial intelligence and scheduling tools being the most popular tools in the toolkit.

Health system leaders will focus on using digital health technologies to improve patient visits in the coming year, according to a new survey from the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) and KLAS Research. They are most interested in using telehealth and artificial intelligence to improve engagement and help patients find what they need.

While “patient access” is a broad term, it underscores the health system’s emphasis on patient-centred care and creating new and better connections between patients and their care teams, especially in times of intense competition for care when.

Published this week by UPMC’s innovation arm, CCM, and KLAS Research, the Top Healthcare Systems What Matters 2023 report represents the thinking of 61 leaders from 59 healthcare organizations and marks the second year in a row that patient visits have become a top priority in the waiting list. Top of the to-do list. Some 28 percent of those surveyed for this year’s report rated it as the issue most likely to be improved through digital health, and one that has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“It’s no secret that health systems have faced significant challenges since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, having to meet consumer demands for greater convenience and accessibility to their healthcare providers,” said UPMC Executive Vice President said Joon Lee, MD, President and President. “This report reflects the emphasis we and others place on patient access, including more virtual care options, greater self-scheduling capabilities, and greater engagement with patient portals,” UPMC Physician Services said in a release. “

At the same time, the greatest challenge to improving patient access is not the technology, but the people behind it. This could be patients who don’t care much about their health care or health care providers, and employees who are less interested in changing the status quo.

“Respondents specifically cited the difficulty of engaging patients in their own healthcare,” the survey report said. “Many also spoke of organizational change management—in other words, guiding people in a healthcare organization to embrace and make change. This is especially important for implementing patient access tools.”

With this in mind, according to the survey, the top priority for improving patient access is changing processes.

“One chief executive explained why the focus on process is so important: ‘Process varies by practice and by hospital,'” the survey noted. “Trying to standardize these processes is maddening. Our organization used to be one hospital, but now we have over 15 hospitals. We just can’t get all of these people to use the same process so we can really achieve efficiencies of scale.” ‘ Healthcare organizations often turn to vendors to help guide effective processes around new or existing technologies. “

As for which technologies are considered important to improving patient visits, telemedicine tops the list, with 56% of survey respondents placing a high value on virtual care. This was followed by patient portals (55%), patient appointment reminders (55%), online bill payment (52%), online registration (49%), online provider directory (47%) and patient appointment reminders (46%) %) ).

[See also: Planning and Preparation Are Crucial in Adopting a Patient Self-Scheduling Platform].

These top technologies also have their drawbacks. Patient portals are considered the baseline technology for interacting with patients, yet patient adoption has been low. Patient self-arrangement technology is considered critical to meeting the needs of today’s consumers, yet health systems report problems obtaining vendor support and finding the right technology that can handle such complex tasks. While telehealth technology is recognized as effective and can improve patient visits, there are issues ensuring access, ranging from broadband issues to a lack of resources in underserved communities.

The survey also found that:

  • 65% of health system executives see price transparency and cost estimation as important aspects of patient visits, but nearly all say they are mandated by federal regulations rather than improving the patient experience. Most of those surveyed said the biggest challenge to providing price transparency is the complexity of determining patient billing.
  • Slightly more than half of health managers are using AI for patient visits, and close to 70 say it is important in improving visits in the future.
  • Since the pandemic, the use of telehealth has decreased, with most organizations reporting less than 20% of appointments are made using it. Patient convenience is the most commonly cited benefit of telehealth, and many want to use it more often, but the uncertain reimbursement situation is the biggest barrier to growth.
  • A majority of health system leaders surveyed said telehealth adequately meets the workflow and care delivery needs of physicians, although about a third said the technology was not effective, primarily because it was not integrated with EHRs or was not available in the market. Too many solutions. The majority of those surveyed do feel that telehealth adequately expresses the needs of the patient experience.

Eric Wicklund is Innovation and Technology Editor at HealthLeaders.

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