Times have changed
How are you? A lot has happened in the past year, and often we barrel through life without taking a moment to stop and reflect.
Operating a healthcare business during a health crisis is no easy feat. Depending on the nature of your work, you either had more than you could handle or experienced near closure—perhaps having to pivot services simply to stay afloat.
In talking to healthcare organizations in 2020, we found the shift that occurred for many during the year was nothing short of remarkable. Although digital adoption was comparatively slow before COVID, and the transition to new ways of working (such as telehealth) put initial strain on some providers, the advancement of digital strategies is set to deliver widespread ongoing benefits.
For example, consumer demand for telehealth services means we’re likely to see it grow to $250 billion of current US healthcare spend. Digital healthcare ecosystems are also being embraced by progressive companies seeking to drive efficiencies, cost reductions, and a better customer experience.
A critical point in time
COVID-19 aside, transformation was always going to be essential for healthcare providers as they gear up to manage the growing medical needs of an ageing baby boomer generation.
Baby boomers are typically far more savvy, health-conscious and engaged in their medical care than previous generations. They’re also more technologically advanced than some might give them credit for; equipped with their smartphones and an expectation of digital services that would rival even younger generations.
Also in constant flux are changes to legislation that affect healthcare providers, such as HIPAA in America, the GDPR in the UK, and the NDIS in Australia. Each of these have required businesses to shift some aspect of their practice—and in the case of the NDIS scheme, may have required a complete pivot in service delivery to ensure funding.
An industry experiencing so much organic change is welcoming new technologies to help ease the burden. Particularly those that allow businesses to do more with less while exceeding customer expectations.
Clients are no longer patient
We’re stepping into a new era of healthcare—driven by consumers who proactively seek a state of wellness rather than reactively responding to ailments.
Known as the “consumerization of healthcare”, organizations must be able to meet the needs of these new age customers by providing:
- easy access to their personal health data
- the ability to self-serve with appointment bookings
- personalized experiences with every interaction
While meeting customer needs is essential to sustainability, this shift offers excellent prospects for providers too. In addition to attracting a broader cohort of paying customers, forward thinking healthcare organizations well equipped with leading edge digital systems can revolutionize their operations.
Consider the benefits of everything from AI-driven automation to self-serve data analytics for business groups such as accounts payable, marketing and leadership. What opportunities could this unlock in your business?
mHealth makes a move
Mobile health (mHealth) represents a huge rise in healthcare services that are being delivered in client and customer homes rather than in the clinic.
Advancing technology has enabled an increase in these types of field services over the past decade, with everyone from general practitioners to allied health professionals including podiatrists, physiotherapists and speech pathologists jumping aboard the mHealth train.
This trend is backed by impressive data on the benefits of home healthcare—such as fewer subsequent hospital readmissions and shorter hospital stays for patients who utilize a home healthcare provider.
Organizations that leverage this trend and seek to plug holes in the consumer market will set themselves apart from the competition as awareness and spending increases in this area.
We want to transform, but…
Overhauling legacy practices is never easy—especially for established businesses with highly ingrained ways of working. However, sometimes the greatest challenges also offer the greatest rewards.
Here are 3 key challenges we know healthcare organizations struggle with when it comes to digital transformation:
- Replacing ineffective and outdated systems is too costly—some organizations view the cost of new technology as a significant barrier to adoption.
- Using digital cloud-based systems is too risky—client data is highly confidential and governed by strong laws so some health organizations perceive a move to cloud-based systems as a high risk.
- Change management and growth is too difficult—change is often seen as upsetting the status quo, especially when it requires hiring and retaining more staff.
Addressing the cost barrier
The cost to implement new technologies is typically seen as a major barrier to adoption. However, this is not always the case. In addition, the same technologies that are needed to remain sustainable in a hyper-competitive market also offer huge opportunities for the organizations that invest in them.
For example, healthcare agencies that adopt mobile workforce management solutions have increased the number of clients seen per day by more than 33%.
The goal of cloud-based platforms is to drive unprecedented efficiencies in the business where a return on investment is quickly achieved through benefits such as:
- reduced wastage, such as unnecessary travel time
- data analytics to reveal opportunities
- freeing up staff to see more patients
- eliminating the need for additional scheduling staff as the business scales
Addressing the risk barrier
Securing patient data is a serious issue for healthcare organizations. According to a recent report, healthcare hacking incidents rose by almost 50% in 2020 alone—impacting approximately 31 million patients.
Cyberattacks continue to get more sophisticated, and the onus is on healthcare organizations to deploy security solutions that can match this level of sophistication.
When you manage all your patient data in-house, the cost to implement the latest security capabilities can be enormous. This is why many organizations are benefiting from the inbuilt security features that cloud-based platforms such as Skedulo have gone to great lengths (and investment) to offer as standard.
This includes features such as:
- 2-factor authentication
- strict access protocols
- advanced data encryption
- role-based access control
- real time backups
- compliance with global privacy regulations
- plus much more
Addressing the change barrier
Change is never easy, but as Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, it’s the only constant. Healthcare organizations must evolve if they wish to compete—especially against newer entrants who are walking into the sector with a digital-first strategy.
The key to managing change associated with new technology adoption is:
- excellent training and support
- continual improvement to ensure products align with business needs
- nurturing and empowering product champions
Once people see how newer technologies can help them to do their work faster and more efficiently, uptake naturally increases.
Our research shows that new technology adoption also helps employees feel more secure in their jobs. During COVID, we surveyed over 1,300 employees and found that investment in technology not only helped employees perform better—it also made them more optimistic about the future of their job at the company.
This is vital in terms of attracting and retaining high performers who see technology adoption as a precursor to selecting the companies they wish to work for. For healthcare organizations, this helps to stand out in a crowded marketplace that struggles with a 50% annual caregiver turnover rate yet is set to see an addition of more than one million jobs by 2026.
Start with technology designed for healthcare professionals
At Skedulo, we have been working with healthcare organizations for the better part of a decade to understand their unique needs.
During 2020, we offered free services to help our customers scale at no extra cost because we knew demand had increased dramatically. We also introduced high capacity scheduling to address scheduling for large scale events that needed to comply with social distancing measures.
In early 2021, we were chosen by several states in numerous countries to assist with scheduling the COVID vaccine.
In addition, we have worked closely with healthcare customers to configure features within Skedulo that address the specific operational challenges they face every day.
What if you could implement 1 platform to address your greatest operational challenges—from mHealth to consumer and staff expectations, scheduling, oversight, data analytics and compliance?
Skedulo is a cloud-based deskless productivity platform designed to make managing a modern, mobile workforce simple and seamless.
Here are 8 features of Skedulo that our healthcare customers say they love:
1. 100% secure and HIPAA-compliant
In a highly regulated industry, you need total assurance of security. Skedulo helps you ensure compliance with regional privacy regulations, and includes a suite of security features as standard.
2. Match customers with the right professional
Skedulo allows you to tag workers based on their skills, qualities, certifications, location, and more. This makes it easier to schedule right-fit matches between customers and professionals.
3. Manage a blended workforce
Manage full time and part time employees, plus independent contractors from the same system and gain complete oversight.
4. Real time communication
Update workers with pertinent information in real time while they’re in the field. If they have questions, workers can message office-based staff via their Skedulo mobile app which keeps all communication centralized.
5. Self-service for patients
Let patients select a time that suits them via a self-service appointment calendar, with automated confirmation of appointments plus reminders, access to bills, and more.
6. Sync and centralize data
Improve speed and security by syncing patient notes, photos and other data immediately. You can also eliminate manual entry with digital forms and signatures. When used in “offline mode”, the system will automatically sync when workers are back online.
7. Keep private data confidential
Choose who sees what with role-based access control, and keep data safe regardless of whether workers are in the office or on the move.
8. Single source of truth
- View your schedule weeks in advance
- Keep track of worker certifications and expiry dates
- See when workers check into appointments, what services were provided and when the appointment was completed
- Forecast demand and use data to make informed decisions
What healthcare providers need to succeed in a post-COVID world
What frontline healthcare workers say about using Skedulo
“Skedulo is very efficient. I know the patient’s name, address, phone number, minor details about symptoms if they have shared them, and any other patient notes. It’s all there on my phone, so I don’t have to disturb anyone to ask for more information—I just go to the appointment. If I need to refresh my memory, it’s all in the one place and I can look back whenever I need to.”
“Skedulo is so simple to use. I accept the job and can literally get in the car, hit go, and it will connect me to the navigation system and take me straight to the patient’s location. I really like that GPDQ staff know when I arrive at a job and when I finish, and if there is unusual activity they will check in to make sure everything is OK. Skedulo is like added security in your pocket and I really like that.”
“Skedulo has improved our scheduling in ways we didn’t see possible before. As a clinician, I can count on referrals coming in based on whether they are the most appropriate match for me. Skedulo allows me to focus on my patients because I’m not worried about getting back to my computer to check emails.”
“I can now schedule 2 to 3 times as many appointments as before. I had always thought ‘I want this system to do what my brain wants to do!’ And that’s what Skedulo does. I get so excited when I schedule, because I know Skedulo is there for me.”