In recent years, the expanding technology marketplace has driven dramatic changes in health care and patient expectations. The process of calling into a physician’s office repeatedly, hoping for a ring instead of a busy signal, has all but disappeared. The days of sitting in a crowded waiting room filling out papers are becoming rarer all the time. The average appointment time, whether for a routine visit or specialty evaluation, has fallen from hours to just minutes. Almost daily, media outlets report on another group of “non-health care” companies diving head first into the provider world. This focus has produced a new generation of health care that is exciting and promising for patients and providers alike, but it comes with necessary changes.
The Patient Experience
Today, we live in a starkly different health care world than we did just five years ago. Providers of all sizes are achieving milestones that were once considered impossible. Telemedicine is no longer a far-away concept discussed at conference meetings, but a viable tool for health care amidst a pandemic. Artificial intelligence is being used to attract new patients, scan patients as they enter a facility, and even help with diagnosis. Truly, medicine is being practiced like never before.
The need for technological advancement and investment for medical practices is no longer an option; it’s vital for the survival of the provider’s business. From higher caliber internet to faster operating systems, interconnected cloud phone systems, interdepartmental collaboration, and more streamlined approaches to filing claims, there is a complex and prudent need to invest in technology. Where is this investment most realized? Similar to five years ago, the surprising answer could be patient experience.
Patient experience and the concept of a patient-centric approach has taken on a new, increasingly valuable meaning. Through technological advances comes the ability of health care providers to better market to new patients, expedite appointment scheduling, remotely monitor patient compliance and provide a continuum of care like never before.
Out with the Old, in with the New
So, what’s next? The capital investments being made by some of Arkansas’ most reputable practices are setting up the state’s potential for more patient-focused, remote care. The increased need for office staff to work remotely and demand for virtual appointments can be seen in the ongoing investments in dedicated fiber, cybersecurity, managed IT services, and the refined management around patient experience in call centers.
Although medicine may never be completely virtual, many Arkansans have experienced going to their doctor virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reviews are positive. Unlike the tedious process of scheduling and waiting for an in-person appointment, virtual appointments are efficient and can be done from almost anywhere. The competition in the health care sector to adopt new technologies to better serve patients is increasing at an exponential rate. Several practices around the state are investing like never before for the strategic position to be the first, and best, virtual practice.