By Rick Halton, VP Product & Marketing, Lumeon
The “old school” approach to healthcare delivery – relying on committees, staff augmentation, prior EHR documentation systems – is not working.
There is no question that a true healthcare delivery transformation needs to take place. Healthcare providers currently rely on outdated approaches – from committees and written initiatives to staff augmentation and old EHR documentation systems – to improve the care delivery process. And yet, lower costs and improved efficiencies are still not materializing.
While there have been numerous well-intentioned process improvement initiatives, they tend to fall short. What’s clear is that a new approach is needed, and it should be centered around people, process, and technology.
Hospitals and health systems need a way to connect, coordinate, and automate care journeys, which will also enable them to operate with increased predictability and efficiency. This is where an automation platform comes into play. Automation allows providers to have better control and predictability over their end-to-end care delivery models. It’s a way to seamlessly connect disparate care teams and settings, where care engagement and coordination can be synchronized together.
A recent Lumeon survey of senior-level clinicians highlighted the steps that healthcare providers are taking to improve healthcare delivery and the new opportunities that automation can present for them.
Prioritizing technology investments for a brighter future
Improving efficiency and reducing costs are top strategic initiatives for healthcare executives, according to the survey. Opting for process improvement initiatives, such as forming operational excellence committees, are the primary mechanisms to address that push, the survey found. Additionally, healthcare executives said that they will also leverage existing capabilities in their current EHR systems to achieve these goals.
These initiatives are a good start, but they are not enough. Achieving significant efficiency improvements and reductions in cost will require healthcare providers to look beyond how they optimize current systems and consider the impact that new technologies can have on increasing revenue and streamlining workflows, all while ensuring a positive care experience.
Unfortunately, only 10% of those surveyed said they are looking to invest in new technology – a major missed opportunity for providers to make strides toward their strategic initiatives who today rely too heavily on costly staff augmentation and training.
Among the top technologies planned for purchase over the next 12 months were care coordination, population health analytics, and patient engagement tools. Looking even further ahead, video chat or telehealth capabilities, care coordination technologies and chatbots or other AI solutions were top-of-mind technology purchases for the next 36 months.
While the future may involve more innovative telehealth and AI-driven solutions, today’s purchases are all about the basics: better managing the patient population through the care process. Care coordination, it is clear, must consistently remain a top priority – and investing in technology that can support it will be a key opportunity to drive future transformations in care delivery.
Improving care coordination through automation technology
Automation technology has been designed to consistently coordinate routine and repetitive tasks. Having an automation platform that can be used as an ‘auto-pilot’ for healthcare delivery will assist in handling these care tasks while communicating with patients and providers along the way. Additionally, high acuity or ‘at–risk’ patients are automatically escalated to care teams, ensuring they focus their time on those most in need.
While 64% of survey respondents are not currently using an automation solution to handle administrative or clinical processes, they are beginning to recognize its potential. Respondents noted that improving patient outcomes, standardizing care delivery, and fostering consistency in clinical decision making were the greatest value directly related to automation.
The default way of thinking about healthcare is to view it as a clinician-centric industry. However, in reality, we need to start thinking of it as a patient-centric industry. There is huge potential for automation to help with this transformation, without adding undue burden onto the providers themselves. Automating care pathways helps ensure control and the standardization of care delivery for providers, but also markedly improves the overall experience for patients.
Lumeon has already seen this approach find success with leading healthcare innovators, such as with NYC Health + Hospitals who have effectively reduced patient missed appointments. Implementing a digitized care delivery process allowed NYC Health + Hospitals to take a proactive and personalized approach with patients, reducing the total number of patient no-shows by 25% (six percentage points) in a six-month period.
Healthcare must work toward integrating the end-to-end patient journey to realize true care delivery transformation. Opting for an automation platform with a configurable pathway engine – enabling new use cases to be rapidly deployed as additional requirements surface – is an important step forward to achieving that goal.
Learn more about how Lumeon’s Care Pathway Management platform can help transform the way your organization delivers quality care here.