Half of physicians and extenders said virtual visits could replace more than 10 percent of in-office patient visits, thus giving them more time during the workday, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 1,000 physicians, nurse practitioners, and PAs.
Still, only 15 percent of clinicians said they currently offer telehealth services to patients with chronic conditions and just 28 percent said they are considering adding these services. Seventy nine percent of physicians found that mobile devices could help them coordinate care more effectively. Around 42 percent of physicians said they feel comfortable relying on a patient’s at-home test results to prescribe medication, the survey found.
“Digitally-enabled care is no longer nice-to-have, it’s fundamental for delivering high quality care,” Daniel Garrett, health information technology practice leader for PwC US said in a statement. “Just as the banking and retail sectors today use data and technology to improve efficiency, raise quality, and expand services, healthcare must either do the same or lose patients to their competitors who do so.”
When PwC compared surveys from 2014 and 2010, the research firm found that while in 2010 12 percent of physicians said they accessed medical records on a mobile device, 45 percent do so now. Additionally, in 2010, 14 percent of physicians prescribed medications on a mobile device, while 41 percent do now. The number of physicians who use a mobile device to communicate with patients grew ten percent from 21 percent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2014.
Barriers for physician adoption of mobile technologies include concerns about privacy and security of patient health data, lack of reimbursement for using digital health devices, connectivity issues, and that digital health technologies are too expensive to adopt.
“The adoption and integration of digital technology with existing healthcare processes has not yet fulfilled its potential to transform care and value for patients,” Simon Samaha, a principal at PwC said in a statement. “The next five years will be critical, with leaders emerging from those who use digital technology to innovate and revamp the interactions between consumers, providers and payers.”
Sensor technology set to revolutionize #diabetes care, making blood sugar tests painless /via @globeandmail http://t.co/p1Y719grEj
Laureen Turner's insight:
The future is here. The impact of this technology is tremendous. Less pain for the patient, more accurate and more frequent monitoring, less invasive. For the health care professional - less time and better management of the diabetic patient.
Background: Mobile text messages are a widely recognized communication method in societies, as the global penetration of the technology approaches 100% worldwide. Systematic knowledge is still lacking on how the mobile telephone text messaging (short message service, SMS) has been used in health care services.
Objective: This study aims to review the literature on the use of mobile phone text message reminders in health care.
Conclusions: We can conclude that although SMS reminders are used with different patient groups in health care, SMS is less systematically studied with randomized controlled trial study design. Although the amount of evidence for SMS application recommendations is still limited, having 77% (46/60) of the studies showing improved outcomes may indicate its use in health care settings. However, more well-conducted SMS studies are still needed.
Remember when we thought mobile technology would never work in healthcare? Cell phones were even forbidden in most care settings. Today, there are over 100,000 healthcare apps available; we have mobile-enabled our patient portals; and, arguably one of the most influential mobile companies in history, has a ‘direct to consumer’ (let’s say patient) strategy combining mobile apps with mobile peripherals (glucose monitors, EKGs, SpO2s, etc.).
Social media in healthcare faces the same hype cycle challenge. Certainly the entrance of LinkedIn (founded in 2002), Facebook (founded in 2006), and Twitter (founded in 2008) are powerful technology triggers. There are more places and platforms for everyone to share their ungoverned opinions and experiences with a mass audience than ever before. Society has evolved, sharing what was once considered private experiences has become the norm – and we cross the line into health and healthcare.
The perfect storm analogy works here as well. Aligned well are:
The mainstream comfort of using social mediaThe ‘consumerization of healthcare’Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirement to engage patients via their electronic health records
Together, patients have emerging power, armed with more information as well as more choices (and responsibility) in their health.
How can you use social media safely to engage those powerful patients?
Fundamentally, social media is simply networking, opportunities to create online communities. Frost & Sullivan conducted a web-based survey in conjunction with the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2) to understand trends in the use of social media within U.S. provider institutions. The study reported that approximately 38% of physicians have recommended that a patient participate in an online community. The report also shared that two in three doctors would participate in an online community as a professional, anonymously to understand the site and what’s being discussed, and over one-half would provide advice or resources on a community.
The two most powerful platforms to engage your patients will be Twitter and Facebook.
Even if you are not using Twitter or Facebook, your patients probably are, they can still tweet the good, the bad and ugly. Patients tweeting a positive story or even ‘liking’ your practice on Facebook is the next generation of referrals. Smart management of social media will not only help to maintain your practice, it will help you grow. How active you want to be in social media should be based on your administrative resources, like everything in healthcare, there is no ‘one size fits all’.
5 Reasons you should use social media to engage your patients:
Social media is comfortable to a specific patient demographic – it can offer anonymity and peer to peer support. Sounds contraindicating – but it’s true.Social media can provide valid education and resources.It offers a means for doctors to listen to patient needs and concerns (and remove the white coat syndrome)It can enhance your patient’s experienceSocial media will differentiate your practice and your brand.
What about LinkedIn? LinkedIn is an important platform, but primarily used for professional networking, not physician to patient.
Consider the benefits of social media to your patients and your practice. Of course, plan well, use disclaimers, never share personal health information…all HIPAA rules and guidelines apply. But the biggest risk is not engaging in all that social media has to offer.
Social Media Use in U.S. Healthcare Provider Institutions: Insights from Frost & Sullivan and iHT2 Survey (PDF)Social Media in Healthcare—Recognizing Challenges and Providing Value – HIMSS Book2014 Social Media and Consumer Health IT Forecast – HIMSS Blog
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