Technology brought so many of us together during the past year, but it’s not as accessible to some as it is to others. In certain underserved and remote communities, the digital divide is quite real — as are its implications. Many rural areas and locations heavily populated by disadvantaged groups have inconsistent internet access, and plenty of households lack the devices necessary to connect to the internet.
Households in rural areas were 11% less likely to have broadband access than those in more urban areas; those with incomes under $25,000 were also 45% less likely to have broadband access. Black and Hispanic patients with certain chronic conditions were respectively 51% and 42% less likely to have quality internet capabilities. A number of factors (e.g., age, sex, socioeconomic status, disability, and geographic location) play a role in decreasing the likelihood that some have better access to an increasingly digital world than others.
Without access to consistent, quality internet, patients can’t use video functionality to access telehealth. In some cases, they might even struggle to get an audio connection. There is a clear need to bridge the gap between hospitals and healthcare organizations looking to expand their digital front doors and enhance their telehealth options to the patients who would like to engage virtually but cannot.
Increasing access to healthcare is critically important — particularly digitally. Although the healthcare industry alone can’t address the problem, health systems can do their part now to ensure that their technology foundation is strong and capable of supporting a more accessible future.
Interoperability and the Digital Front Door in Healthcare
A major part of being ready to open the digital front door in healthcare is considering whether all of your integrations are digital. If a health system offers a fantastic digital registration process but still relies on paper documents once patients arrive for appointments, the lack of consistency hurts everyone involved.
However, implementing new digital healthcare solutions means nothing without a focus on interoperability. Any new technologies added should integrate with existing software for optimal data exchange and efficiency. For digital solutions to power health systems and expand their digital front doors, everyone involved must ensure seamless integration between existing and new technologies — also known as interoperability.
Here are three of the main benefits of interoperability:
1. Improved operational efficiency in healthcare.
Having digital healthcare solutions that communicate with one another in real time cuts down on repetitive tasks. The technology also improves data accessibility in healthcare, decreasing the administrative burden and streamlining clinical functions.
2. Increased efficiency — and quality of care.
With integrated, interoperable solutions, staff in healthcare organizations see improved and more efficient workflows. The automated nature of Interlace Health’s solutions frees up staff time, allowing them to focus on providing quality care.
3. Reduced burnout.
When digital healthcare solutions work together as intended, physicians and healthcare staff can minimize repetitive tasks and streamline manual processes. As a result, they can benefit from reduced burnout and improved workflows.
Interlace Health offers digital solutions that integrate seamlessly with other technologies health systems have in place. Contact us today to learn more about how your organization could benefit. We can help you prepare to open your own digital front door.