Patient-Centric Healthcare: Empowering Patients Through Technology

Dr. Christopher Walker, Founder, Hazel Walker Foundation
Dr. Christopher Walker, Founder, <a href='https://www.hazelwalkerfoundation.org/' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>Hazel Walker Foundation</a>

Dr. Christopher Walker, Founder, Hazel Walker Foundation

Dr. Christopher Walker is a urogynecologist and regenerative medicine specialist at UroGyn Specialists of Florida and the founder of Hazel Walker Foundation, a nonprofit offering no-cost healthcare services and resources to underserved women.

Everything we do as healthcare professionals is patient-centered. Interestingly, we are just catching up to the concept of empowering patients to make decisions about their health and course of treatment. Digital healthcare solutions that put patients at the center of their healthcare decision-making also helps us to provide better care in various settings. These technologies include telemedicine, electronic health records, and mobile health applications. In this article, we'll discuss some of these technologies and their role in patient-centric care.

Telemedicine

As the demand for virtual healthcare grows, providers need digital solutions to support the delivery of health services to patients outside of a health system. These include telemedicine consultations, remote health data monitoring, online treatment, and prescription adjustments. Some platforms are also sufficient for minor illnesses or complement a traditional care experience to ensure consistent and personalized care.

As healthcare providers and consumers demand more digital options, it's crucial to assess the value they can provide. While more digital solutions will not necessarily mean better outcomes, better care, or greater value, they can improve workflows and patient care. Research shows that patients want to manage their care, and Accenture's 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey reveals that more than 50 percent of patients expect healthcare providers to offer digital capabilities.

Telemedicine companies like Teladoc and MDLive are ideal for nonurgent medical care, therapy, or prescription refills. These solutions are designed to enable proactive intervention and early detection to improve outcomes and quality of life. The goal is to make patient care more convenient and efficient, while boosting clinical outcomes.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) provide clinicians with information that is invaluable to patient care and focus on the total health of the individual. For example, they can be used to print out care plans and share office notes with other doctors. Moreover, EHRs are used to file insurance claims quickly and easily. They also enable clinicians to access patient files remotely and submit prescriptions electronically.

 As the demand for virtual healthcare grows, providers need digital solutions to support the delivery of health services to patients outside of a health system 

Our medical practice utilizes EHR software from Athenahealth to view charts, and document more efficiently and accurately. By streamlining our processes, we can spend more time with each patient and improve health outcomes. These platforms empower patients by giving them access to their health data through patient portals which stores medical history, lab results, diagnoses, immunization records, and more.

However, many practitioners believe that EHRs do not capture the true nature of a patient's condition. This is because EHRs typically require practitioners to fit symptoms into pre-defined boxes that may not accurately reflect the patient's current clinical state. As such, it may be difficult to ensure that personalized care is delivered.

Mobile Health Applications

With the help of mHealth applications, patients can make healthy lifestyle adjustments and improve their overall health. These solutions are available on mobile devices and used by patients and doctors. Many applications on the market help consumers monitor their health and develop beneficial habits. The MHealth business is worth over $100 billion and includes various types of applications such as symptom checking apps, healthy living apps, remote monitoring apps, and clinical and diagnostic apps.

To create a patient-centric app, healthcare providers should consider integrating cloud-based medical information systems. Moreover, health organizations should invest in a secure framework for developing proprietary mobile applications. This ensures the latest security updates. Developers should also consider cloud storage leaders like Amazon Web Services for their apps. Lastly, healthcare apps must also include user-friendly and intuitive interfaces that cater to all types of users.

The Future Of Healthcare Technology

Digital healthcare solutions can help organizations gain instant access to vast data leading to earlier disease detection, improved treatments, and personalized care. Using technology, providers can collaborate on patient care, improve access to records, and reduce medical errors. These factors can also increase profitability and business growth.

In the next decade, connectivity between machines, people, and data will become more robust. Next-generation semiconductors, genetic engineering, and machine learning will make the connections between people and data stronger. This will speed up the clinical development process and improve the supply chain by reducing costs and allowing medicines to reach patients faster.