Series Authors: Tom Kiesau, Dr. Sam Bhatia, Paul Griffiths
This series explores the uncomfortable reality that this adaptation will likely span a longer period of time than the authors believe has been widely expected. Three leading organizations — Salesforce, Perficient, and The Chartis Group — have come together to share bright spots within the healthcare community that can point the way to building the necessary capacity to adapt.
We identified Six Key Commitments, and here are the first and second articles.
Today, we turn our attention to:
The THIRD COMMITMENT
Develop clinical operating protocols that clearly segment COVID and non-COVID patients to distinct sites of care.
As a clinician, I have been trained to rely on the EHR as the single source of truth for patient care. But the workflows aren’t designed to create a highly customized experience that captures and retains patients. This health crisis has shown us that now more than ever, it’s critical to have a virtual patient engagement strategy.
Shift in Mindset
COVID requires a more comprehensive plan. We need to get rid of the old mindset and embrace change and the idea of re-engineering. “The result of this re-engineering is often a more streamlined, less personal patient experience — think “contactless care” — that has its own pluses and minuses.“ (source).
Are we ready for Contactless Care?
The idea of contactless care has been around since the idea of telehealth was adopted. One example of a completely contactless use case was on oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The patient was guided to operate an ophthalmoscope in order to determine an eye injury. Given the remoteness of the location, it was the only option.
We have established in the past decade that the technology and infrastructure work. Lower cost peripheral devices have pushed large scale deployments like the VA’s “Anywhere to Anywhere” program (source) – further enhancing adoption. COVID keeps forcing new contactless workflows. We will soon require children to check their temperature, everyday, before they enter schools. The landscape will continue to shift dynamically.
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Can the lower cost innovations plus a highly dynamic environment act as a catalyst for a completely contactless care model?
New Clinical Operating Model
We have seen how clinical staff around the world have overcome major milestones through creative and heroic efforts. Many ER’s look like war zones, with practitioners isolating themselves from loved ones, sleeping in RV’s in hospital parking lots. This is our new operating model. The same creativity has been applied to HHS loosening restrictions on telehealth services (source), proving an iPhone or Android device is more than ideal in collaborating and solving problems with our patient populations.
Deploy Virtual Triaging
We need is a virtual triage process similarly applied in other industries. Virtual triaging is already a viable model — look at the proliferation of chatbots or IVR phone systems.
This health crisis can accelerate a model where the patient can upload their medical history, the health system confirms insurance coverage and copay – while simultaneously sending back real-time links and education with a scheduled follow-up. This further drives an ecosystem of patient (consumer) engagement and retention, similar to the hyper personalized communication model that is used in other sectors of the market, like AirBnB and Lyft.
Why is the user experience so disconnected in healthcare?
Employ Virtual Waiting Room
The bigger vision incorporates a virtual waiting room and check-in process, from the best-in -class hospitality brands (Marriott). The experience is streamlined and personalized with enhanced wayfinding capabilities. This same model can be replicated when it comes to hospital staff engagement. A virtualized experience that connects the hospital staff, in a highly personalized way, to accelerate the C-level messaging. We need to connect the hospital staff and clinicians to organizations in a more meaningful way (Red Cross).
Establish Contact Tracing
This digital engagement platform also has the ability to contact trace an entire floor – so in the case of a COVID + clinician, the technology enhances staff safety with the ability to prioritize and contribute to the health system during quarantine at their highest competency level. Simple, yet impactful in a health crisis situation.
I think we should all be asking the question – Why is it easier to order conveniences in our life, yet still so difficult to have an effective virtualized healthcare experience?
We now have the opportunity to ask: why can’t the experience be better?
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In next week’s post, we’ll discuss the fourth commitment:
Expand access to all clinical specialties virtually, deploying a clinical operating model that seamlessly provides both virtual and physical care as needed/demanded.