Why fear change? Change is good and has developed the world into what it is today. Change partners with adaptation, to promote a new way of doing things. However, is change in the healthcare industry putting independent physicians at risk?
With the increased usage of digital healthcare technology, will the independent physician still be able to maintain the walk-in base of customers? Obviously, the answer is yes, because people will always need to see a doctor with crucial needs of care or diagnosis of ailments. But, as generations begin to rely more and more on digital and mobile healthcare, will the need for regular in-person visits become a thing of the past.
This blog will explore a few trends implying that digital healthcare technology could be the future of care.
Medical Technology High Cost
Did you know that hospitals staff emergency rooms 24 hours a day, even if there is no activity? This staffing situation prompts higher salaries and therefore higher costs.
Currently, the healthcare industry accounts for $3.2 trillion of the country’s total GDP. This equals to be about 13%.
Over the past nine years, employee out-of-pocket spending for a family of four increased 69% in the form of higher co-pays and higher deductibles, along with 105% employee premium contribution growth.
Major drivers in the U.S. for healthcare costs are physician and hospital services, diagnostic tests, and pharmaceuticals. A big chunk of money is also spent at the administrative level. Essentially, prices are up for treatments, doctor visits, and prescription drugs, while customer usage and visits have plateaued or have decreased in most areas.
Electronic Health Records/Machine Learning
Wearables and smart devices control our daily lives. From Fitbits to Apple watches, we constantly monitor ourselves and optimize our well-being and health data. The younger generations have known nothing but a connected world, and prompt accessibility to data.
This generation will continue to require a high level of contact, improved processes, and secure interfaces to access their data. All of which are great things for the healthcare field.
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As health and fitness apps get familiarized into the world of IoT, the industry observed a dramatic progression in the population’s health awareness. This increase in mindfulness stimulates a more educated population that not only enables the user to monitor their health closer; but also gives first-hand data gatherings to primary physicians when connected properly.
Telemedicine and E-Visits
Telemedicine and E-visits continue to grow in popularity due to the high level of independence and convenience. These incredible digital features have no geographical limitations, which ensures that patients in the most remote locations can still receive a high level of care.
Telemedicine is the perfect definition of convenience. With proper application of telemedicine, the patients no longer have to mold their schedule around the doctors; which promotes a more positive relationship.
60% of millennials support the use of telehealth. Currently, a growing population of 83 million, millennials now comprise the largest segment of today’s workforce. Millennials place a very high value on convenience and appreciate the limiting of time it takes to seek treatment. In the event of a non-emergency, a millennial is more likely to seek a convenient option of an E-visit, instead of a time-consuming office visit.
This leads us into another primary feature of telehealth; ease of access to the doctor themselves for the individual. In the case of a person needing non-life threating treatment, emotional support or therapy, the individual can simply video call or E-visit via telehealth, with the doctor and receive the care they need quickly and promptly.
For example, a nurse at Mercy Virtual Hospital in St. Louis can use a camera in a hospital room in North Carolina to see that an IV bag is almost empty. She can then call and instruct a nurse on the floor to refill it. The telemedicine cameras are powerful enough to detect a patient’s skin color. Microphones can pick up patient coughs, gasps, and groans.
“As health systems are realizing that telehealth can help them achieve a wide range of objectives, from care coordination to readmission avoidance and market share expansion, we are seeing a significant increase in telehealth adoption and utilization.”
– Alan Roga, MD, president of the provider division for Teladoc.
Digital healthcare technology is here to stay. In many industries, digital is the frontrunner for adaptation and disruption. Will the independent physician still be able to remain relevant and increase the walk-in base of customers? Hopefully so, be partnering with these new advancements.
Remember, change is good. New technologies encourage us to grow both mentally and professionally. Change can be a motivational factor to improve your business in order to stay relevant.
How will these changes affect you?