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Career Advice > Education

How To Save the Healthcare Industry

How To Save the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is in trouble. Costs are rising, patients are unhappy, and providers are struggling to make a profit. There seem to be no easy solutions to these problems, but there are definitely steps that can be taken to improve the situation. In this blog post, we will outline the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry and discuss different strategies that can be used to solve them.

 

The Biggest Challenges Facing the Industry

 

1. Digital Security

Digital security is perhaps the most pressing issue for healthcare organizations today. Studies show that the majority of healthcare data breaches were caused by malware or phishing attacks, while only a small number could be attributed to hacking attempts on corporate networks. Hospitals and doctors’ offices are prime targets for hackers because they keep large amounts of valuable personal information about patients and employees, including Social Security numbers and credit card details.

The largest attack impacted 78.8 million patients and the average cost of cyberattacks on healthcare organizations is a staggering $9.23 million. As the healthcare industry becomes more reliant on digital technology and cloud computing systems, etc., the threat of cyberattacks continues to grow and, unless these challenges are met with a strong response, it could cause some serious issues in the future.

 

2. Lack of Cohesive Data Systems

Big data presents a lot of opportunities for the healthcare industry. When collated and managed in the right way, the information gathered about patients and their care could save lives, improve the patient experience, and help providers find ways to cut costs and boost efficiency. However, the current fragmented state of healthcare data systems means that this potential has yet to be realized fully.

The lack of a cohesive data system is a major challenge for healthcare organizations today because it prevents them from using valuable patient information in order to improve outcomes and save costs on treatments by identifying patterns among different groups of people with similar conditions or risk factors. This also makes it harder for doctors to make informed decisions when treating patients because they don’t have access to all relevant records which might contain crucial details such as allergies or medication sensitivity issues that would impact how effective certain drugs are going to work based upon previous experience with other individuals who share those traits.

In order to save healthcare, we must develop cohesive data management processes that allow us to collate and take full advantage of all of the data we collect.

 

3. Invoice Collection and Price Transparency

Most industries have developed their invoice collection system over the last decade as digital technology streamlined things. However, the healthcare industry is lagging behind and it is causing serious problems with invoice collection.

Many providers are still heavily reliant on paper billing systems and invoices are not always patient-friendly. There are also problems with price transparency and patients often feel that they don't understand what they are paying for. Both of these problems lead to an increasing number of late payments, which creates cash-flow challenges for healthcare providers.

Unless invoicing systems can be updated and integrated with other digital tools, which are already being implemented in the healthcare industry, challenges around payments will only get worse in time.

 

4. Poor Patient Experience

Although the healthcare industry is currently facing a number of challenges, poor patient experience may be one of its biggest problems, and addressing it immediately is crucial in order to save healthcare. A survey of 1,800 patients showed that 22% of people felt that their visit was inefficient and 19% said that the advice they received was not helpful. Often, these problems with efficiency or poor advice can be put down to issues with digital systems. However, other results from the same study demonstrate a wider issue with the patient-doctor relationship.

55% of people said that a doctor that explains their diagnosis and treatment clearly is crucial for a positive experience. Additionally, 52% of people said that emotional support from healthcare professionals was important to them. These issues are directly related to the way that doctors engage their patients during appointments and cannot be solved by implementing new technology or changing processes.

 

5. Staff Shortages

A shortage of staff is a problem that the healthcare industry has been facing for decades, and it is getting worse. In a survey by Statista in 2021, 83% of healthcare facilities that responded said they expected nurse shortages, and 30% expected to be short of physicians. The increasingly difficult conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have amplified this shortage and the healthcare industry is at a breaking point.

The demand on hospitals is increasing due to an aging population, so there is a need to expand the workforce. Unless healthcare facilities can improve their hiring processes and increase retention rates, the industry is heading for a serious crisis.

 

6. The Ongoing Threat of COVID-19

 

Image Credit: Pexels CCO License

 

The healthcare industry is being pushed to the limit by COVID-19. Hospitals and clinics are constantly dealing with a rising number of cases, while also trying to provide care for other patients who need it. This is causing serious issues related to patient experience within hospitals as well as putting pressure on staff members.

It is not yet known how long the pandemic will continue to have an impact, but most experts agree that it will be a factor that must be considered for a long time to come. The healthcare industry must manage all of these other challenges while also dealing with the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

 

What Can Be Done to Save Healthcare?

 

The Integrated Practice Unit (IPU) Model

Changing the way that healthcare facilities structure their care has the potential to save healthcare. In an ordinary business, the company is usually structured around the customer, with their journey at the center of everything. However, medical facilities do not normally work that way. Currently, there is a fragmented model where the business is structured around separate departments and a patient may be seen by different ones, who then share information as necessary.

The IPU model aims to change that by building a team around the patient. That team is then responsible for managing all care that a patient needs. For example, a patient with diabetes is likely to experience issues with their vision, and potentially their kidney function. Instead of those symptoms being considered separate issues and being treated by different departments, they are all managed by a central team.

This shift benefits patients in a number of ways. Firstly, it makes things more efficient and ensures that they are getting the best care because the physicians that are treating them have the whole picture, instead of relying on fragmented data systems. Patients also deal with the same physicians on a routine basis, making the process much smoother for them.

Adopting this patient-centric model has the potential to improve the patient experience, and it can also help healthcare providers limit inefficiencies and save money at the same time.

 

Introducing Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is a distributed database that allows for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions. It has the potential to revolutionize how healthcare is delivered by providing a single reliable system for storing and sharing medical data.

Currently, patient data is scattered across different systems in different formats. This makes it difficult to track down and can lead to inaccuracies. In addition, patients are not always able to access their own data or control who has access to it. Blockchain solves these issues by creating a system where all data is stored in a secure, decentralized database and can only be accessed with the permission of the patient.

This would give patients more power over their own data while also ensuring its accuracy. The blockchain ledger is tamper-proof so any changes would be immediately apparent. In addition, it is incredibly secure and would be difficult for hackers to penetrate. Blockchain currently looks like the best way to manage the digital security challenges faced by the healthcare industry.

Healthcare providers could also use blockchain technology to streamline their operations by storing all data in a single system. This would make it easier to track patients’ medical history and ensure that everyone involved in their care has access to the most up-to-date information. It would also allow healthcare providers to share data securely with each other, which would improve collaboration and patient care.

The hiring process can also be improved by using blockchain technology, and this will help to address the mounting staff shortages in the industry. By storing information about candidates, such as their referees and licenses, healthcare providers can quickly and easily verify their identity and carry out necessary checks. By limiting the bureaucratic challenges of hiring new staff, the blockchain enables international hiring and an overall improvement in efficiency, so vacancies can be filled quickly.

Blockchain has the potential to save healthcare providers millions of dollars by reducing administrative costs and improving data accuracy. It is still in its early stages but there is no doubt that it will play a major role in the future of healthcare delivery.

 

Increase Focus on Patient Engagement

 

Image Credit: Pexels CCO License

 

The patient experience is one of the biggest challenges faced by the healthcare industry. In order to save the healthcare industry, it is important to focus on improving patient engagement.

There are a number of ways to improve patient engagement, but one of the most important is to make sure that patients feel like they are part of their own care. This can be done by giving them access to their medical records, providing them with education and support, and involving them in decisions about their treatment.

Patient engagement also includes ensuring that patients have a positive experience when interacting with the healthcare system. This means providing quality customer service and making appointments easy to schedule and attend, which can be achieved with new digital tools. It also means having a convenient location and being able to offer a range of options to patients.

Improving patient engagement is a long-term process but it can save healthcare providers millions of dollars in the long run. By making sure that patients feel like they are part of their own care, and by providing quality customer service, healthcare providers can ensure consistent patient rates.

 

Integrate Digital Tools

Digital tools can improve communication, make appointments easier, and provide patients with more information about their conditions. In addition, they can help healthcare providers to track patient data and ensure that everyone involved in their care has access to it.

Digital tools are already being used by many healthcare providers, but they need to be adopted more widely if the industry is going to survive. However, it is not a failure to embrace digital tools that poses the biggest problem, it is with integration.

As digital tools have developed and healthcare providers have started implementing them, they have ended up with fragmented systems for data collection and management, scheduling, and record management. By integrating these separate applications so they all work together seamlessly, healthcare companies can drastically improve their efficacy and root out any inefficiencies that are caused by incompatibility.

Healthcare IT specialists can assist companies that are having difficulty with their digital systems. Investing in a team to create a comprehensive, unified system will make a big difference.

 

Measure Outcomes for Each Patient

The biggest challenge for the healthcare industry is to measure outcomes for each patient. This is a difficult task, but it is necessary in order to ensure that patients are getting the best possible care.

One way of measuring outcomes is by using data analytics. By analyzing data from different sources, such as EHRs, insurance claims, and labs, healthcare providers can get a complete picture of how a patient is doing. Data analytics allows for comparisons between treatments and helps to identify any problems early on so they can be addressed quickly.

Another way of measuring outcomes is by using quality measures. These are standards that have been developed to assess how well a hospital or other healthcare provider performs. They cover all aspects of care, from the prevention of illness to the treatment of patients.

Quality measures are important because they allow healthcare providers to compare themselves to others and identify areas where they need to improve. They can also be used to assess the value of a particular treatment or intervention.

Both data analytics and quality measures can give healthcare providers a clear indication of how effective their strategies are and help them manage any changes moving forward.

The challenges faced by the healthcare industry are many and varied, but there are ways to save healthcare. Adopting blockchain technology, focusing on patient engagement, integrating digital tools, and measuring outcomes for each patient are all strategies that can help save the healthcare industry.

 

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