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Healthcare’s Tech Revolution: How Practices are Putting Patients First

January 18, 2024

Specialty healthcare practices are adopting technology just as quickly as other industries, and it’s no longer limited to practice management software. In fact, a report by PWC says that 9 out of 10 healthcare providers plan to increase their technology budgets in the next 12 months.  But what technologies are they investing in and why? 

From AI-powered diagnosis tools to sleek patient portals, let's explore some of the hottest technology trends transforming the way specialty care is delivered.

Diagnosis and Clinical Tech

  • AI Changes the Diagnosis Game: Artificial intelligence is making waves in medical imaging, with algorithms now capable of detecting subtle abnormalities in mammograms, X-rays, and MRIs with greater accuracy than the human eye. A study published in Nature Medicine found that AI outperformed radiologists in mammographic screenings. This translates to earlier diagnoses and potentially better treatment outcomes for patients. 
  • Remote Monitoring for Chronic Conditions: The rise of wearable devices and remote monitoring apps is transforming care for patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Patients can now track their vital signs, medication adherence, and other health metrics in real-time, allowing their doctors to proactively manage their conditions and intervene early in case of any concerning changes. 

Practice Experience Management

  • Patient Experience More In-Demand Than Ever - Patients are becoming far more selective when it comes to their providers. With out-of-pocket costs increasing, there’s no wonder why patients are seeking the best care they can get for their hard-earned money. Further, a 2023 study published in the National Library of Medicine notes that a patient care culture model (essentially a patient experience program) has shown to improve the patient experience across the patient journey. Practices that are looking to improve the patient experience are investing in tools like Swell, which allows them to gather patient feedback across the care journey. With better insights about patient satisfaction, it becomes easy to identify areas of concern and correct them. 

Employee Experience - An analysis by Definitive Healthcare shows that 145,000 healthcare workers left the field in 2022. Meanwhile, an aging population in the United States, a triple-threat of respiratory illnesses, and huge increases in healthcare costs are amounting to a massive shortage of healthcare workers nationwide. Many practices are adopting solutions that help them better listen to the staff they depend on, so they can adapt to their needs along with economic and industry-wide realities. Tools like Swell’s Employee Experience Management solution make it easy to keep a pulse on what staff are thinking so clinics can address issues quickly and ultimately boost retention rates. 

General Practice Management 

  • Cloud-Based Practice Management Systems: Gone are the days of clunky, on-premise software. Specialty practices are increasingly turning to cloud-based practice management systems (PMS) for scheduling appointments, managing billing and insurance claims, and storing patient data. The flexibility and scalability of cloud-based PMS offer significant advantages, allowing practices to access data from anywhere and easily adjust to changing regulations and workloads. PwC notes, however, that 81% of health service executives have already adopted the cloud, but nearly half realized value yet from their investment. Cloud adoption is becoming the norm, but may still carry risks depending on the individual roll-out. 

Patient Communication Software

  • Secure Telemedicine Platforms: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telemedicine, providing convenient and accessible care for patients who might otherwise struggle to make in-person appointments. A 2023 report by the American Medical Association notes that 74.4% of physicians are using telemedicine in their practices, triple what it was in 2018. Platforms that seamlessly integrate video conferencing, appointment scheduling, and patient data sharing are key to delivering a positive telemedicine experience.
  • Patient Portals: Empowering patients with information and control over their healthcare is increasingly seen as crucial for improving patient satisfaction and engagement. Patient portals give patients secure access to their medical records, lab results, medication lists, and appointment history, fostering a sense of transparency and collaboration with their healthcare providers. 

Patient Financing and Payment Tech

  • Flexible Financing Solutions: Recognizing the financial burden healthcare can place on patients, specialty practices are partnering with healthcare financing companies to offer patients flexible payment options, such as medical loans and payment plans. This can help patients access necessary care without the worry of upfront costs. According to National Health Expenditure data, out of pocket medical costs grew 6.6% in 2022, highlighting the growing need for alternative payment solutions. 

The technology revolution in specialty healthcare is here to stay, and the focus is firmly on improving the patient experience. As practices continue to embrace innovative solutions, we can expect a future of personalized, accessible, and efficient healthcare for all.

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