In my last post, I reminded readers that the struggle of changing and adapting healthcare is far from new to this time. New technology, changes in reimbursement policies, and a greater online-presence by patients and healthcare providers alike are just a few of the challenges facing the healthcare marketplace. But those challenges are not insurmountable, nor are they as great a burden as many clinics and hospitals seem to fear.
The trick, as always, is finding what works for your practice – for the good of your patients. For some, this may mean expanding what services are traditionally offered. Uncertainties in insurance coverage are requiring smaller clinics to begin searching for ways to generate cash-based income. For many others, finding strategic avenues of communication is key – both for marketing and patient care.
As our world turns ever more quickly online, patients are choosing physicians, clinics, and specialists based on reviews and ratings above word of mouth and recommendations. The power of having technology and information at the tip of one’s fingers has empowered patients to take a more active role in their healthcare. Ultimately, this is good news, but clinics and hospitals must be able to engage the population online in order to (in a sense) win their care.
Communication becomes essential not only in marketing efforts but also in protecting patient data. Just as patients are turning more to online sources to secure doctors and specialists, doctors themselves are finding it easier and easier to send patient data to one another via their smart phones. While this could be seen as helpful – allowing for more consensus and support in choosing the best treatment plans for patients – the danger is that many of these avenues of communication are not HIPPA compliant. Clinics and hospitals alike must provide the right technology (and it’s out there!) to allow patient data to stay secure while also securing a more connected healthcare team.
Change is here; it’s time to figure out what your healthcare system needs in order to provide the best care for your patients.