The Healthcare Innovation That Turned Parking Lots Into Waiting Rooms
Technology has transformed healthcare — and will only continue to do so. Here’s a look at the impact of technology in healthcare.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed how people receive healthcare. From the start, people who needed care were scared of exposure to the virus and often too afraid to seek in-person treatment. As a result, physician practices saw a 60% average decrease in volume during the first surge of cases.
Healthcare providers, as a result, quickly came to rely on healthcare innovations they had previously been hesitant to adopt, such as telehealth solutions and virtual waiting rooms. These options offered a safe and convenient way for patients to receive health services when they needed them the most — and in many cases sped up innovations that were already in the works. AdventHealth, for example, had been planning to use curbside check-in and virtual registration before the pandemic, but COVID-19 created the need to implement these services immediately.
Ultimately, one thing made all of this possible: technology.
The Role of Technology in Healthcare
One of the most integral technology tools of the pandemic was telehealth. It expanded access to care and transformed the way care was provided. Many healthcare leaders now report that physicians prefer to provide care this way because it reduces exposure to disease, makes it easier to manage their workloads, and curbs burnout. It can be overwhelming for physicians to think of making operational changes that dramatically differ from the way things have always been done, but the shift to telehealth has proven to be a worthwhile change.
Telehealth solutions are by no means the only significant changes we’ve seen. “Drive-thru” healthcare has been a defining innovation of the pandemic. Hospitals have always been perceived as safe, sterile environments, but the risk of exposure to the virus made them suddenly less safe. This gave drive-thru healthcare a moment to shine when it otherwise might have struggled. Keeping people safe and in their cars versus packed in a waiting room reduced exposure for patients and staff. Parking lot waiting rooms also offered a safer, more efficient way to administer and receive COVID tests and vaccines.
Virtual waiting room technology further enabled healthcare providers to capitalize on technological innovations. Health systems used them to send pre-registration links to patients to complete on their phones, ultimately generating bar codes that can be scanned by staff members using a tablet through a car window. This tool eliminated any need to complete pre-appointment documentation in person. Each part of the check-in process became digital — and safer for everyone.
The Digital Front Door and Patient Intake
Here are a few ways to capitalize on the impact of technology in healthcare moving forward:
1. Take a digital front door approach to patient care.
A digital front door strategy puts patients first by engaging them in the most convenient ways throughout their healthcare journey. This decentralized approach extends healthcare access to where patients live and brings them a level of control over their experience that they haven’t had before. An open digital front door offers patients:
- Online scheduling.
- Telehealth appointments.
- Digital communication.
- Virtual check-ins from patients’ vehicles.
- Digital health campaigns.
- Surveys that generate online reviews.
2. Adopt a patient intake solution.
As part of opening the digital front door, providers should implement a patient intake solution that enables users to complete their registration process on their own time, pay using their digital devices, and even fill out forms on their phones.
For instance, Interlace Health’s Patient Intake Solution is designed to make the care process easier for patients and providers alike. Patients can receive several reminders before appointments to ensure they register for the appointment and receive care. Providers also benefit because patients are much more likely to pay their medical bills when given digital solutions. This can provide a significant boost to provider revenue.
In 2020, we all witnessed the impact of technology in healthcare. The pandemic won’t last forever, but some of the ways it transformed healthcare certainly will. How we continue to let healthcare innovation drive the quality of care and patient experience we deliver moving forward is up to healthcare providers everywhere.
To learn more about Interlace Health’s Patient Intake Solution and the role of technology in healthcare, click here.
About the Author:
Dessiree Paoli is a senior solution manager at Interlace Health, a company that transforms workflows by providing clinicians and patients with digital healthcare solutions. She has more than 18 years of experience in driving strategic marketing initiatives, leading teams, and developing integrated campaigns, and she has worked in healthcare for more than 12 years.