In the current setting of the world, with the pandemic demanding less physical contact and more social distancing, the healthcare industry, like so many others, has suffered major setbacks in providing patient care.
Healthcare is an industry dependent on physical contact. So, it is far more hard-pressed to bring about inventive solutions to continue diagnosing, examining, and treating patients without a one-on-one session. And while telehealth is a major leap, it is not without its limitations.
Here are some of the major challenges healthcare is going to face in the coming year.
Healthcare Industry Transition to Telehealth
When the need to put up barriers between doctors and patients arose, the healthcare industry turned to telehealth. A virtual solution to combat this lack of physical contact seemed an obvious choice.
In only one year, the adoption of telehealth grew from 11% to 46% in 2020. Witnessing this giant shift, virtual healthcare became the paramount savior of patient-care. Healthcare professionals were to care for patients without contact until further notice.
Unfortunately, the switch of a whole industry from live examinations to online consultations was not easy. The transition is still very much in progress. Many healthcare providers struggle to set up a telehealth system. Integrating technology with patient diagnosing, maintaining records, and sending sensitive information back to patients came with many difficulties.
People began giving telehealth new attention as a lucrative market for specialized software and technology. Companies began developing the newest software and applications.
Each time they would promise that their update is the only one a facility will ever need. So many different systems promising excellence are distracting healthcare providers from choosing a single system for long-term use.
The transition to telehealth has shown, unfortunately, how susceptible cybersecurity is to breaches.
Companies dishing out software after software with inept firewalls have led to increased ransomware attacks leaking confidential patient information.
In September 2020, a cloud software company, Blackbaud, suffered from such a system attack by hackers. More than a hundred thousand patient records of eighteen healthcare-providing facilities were exposed. This unfortunate accident effectively violated the industry’s compliance standards.
Currently, it seems there is no way to prevent integrating technology in healthcare. Patients and professionals alike understand how essential telehealth and digitized health records are in maintaining extensive and private information every day.
Consequently, healthcare facilities and security providers are going to have to strengthen system firewalls. Investing in measures to safeguard confidential information can help a lot.
Payment Transparency and Methods
Payment transparency is becoming a rising necessity. The advent of telehealth has opened many opportunities for patients as well. They can now seek appointments with professionals they would not otherwise consider due to geographic differences. The opportunity for virtual visits and treatment has expanded a single individuals’ options in healthcare. Therefore, the deciding factor when booking the final appointment comes down to quality and price.
Individuals have taken to comparing service prices any chance they get. That said, they tend to ignore care providers that are not transparent with their pricing list. Unfortunately, updating prices remains a difficult task as healthcare costs are directly affiliated with health insurance companies and government spending.
Furthermore, there is the matter of payment. The current pandemic led people to depend upon online transactions to pay for services. However, healthcare is a bit late to efficient online payments.
Facilities must set up a variety of patient-friendly methods of payment, including mobile transactions and eChecks.
Data Collection and Updation
The days of standing on one side of a counter table explaining to a receptionist that you have changed health insurance is a thing of the past. Even in the year leading up to the pandemic, the healthcare industry understood that relying on patients to self-report any medical plan changes will lose valuable data and create gaps.
Furthermore, bio-integrated devices to track micro-changes in a person’s vital signs and overall health are becoming a popular method to make the most of digitized healthcare. Consequently, tracking massive amounts of data to provide quality patient care is a huge challenge right now.
Data centralization is a key goal for the industry. Primarily collecting data on a person’s health and medical history and changes in their Medicare and health plans in an organized manner. By creating an easy-access system through a user-friendly forum, healthcare facilities can efficiently handle payment options, book appointments, and provide tests, treatments, and results.
The healthcare industry’s biggest challenge is integrating technology in all its processes, administrative and medical. Facilities worldwide have been devising game plans to keep up with technological trends since before the pandemic ever even hit the nation.
The infamous Electronic Health Records were already introduced, and healthcare organizations nationwide were busy trying to figure out the new system to the best of their ability. What the COVID-19 pandemic has done, however, is increase the demand for speedy electronic integration.
The state of healthcare at this very moment in 2021 seems at a standstill. There is a challenging road ahead with the issues we’ve highlighted at the forefront. However, should you consider them carefully and work to improve on them, the road ahead will be much easier.