digital integration has become a must have for healthcare organisations. Generally, this is understood as integrating internal organizational functions and externally with patients, suppliers, and partners with the objective of providing patient-centric care. It is postulated that digital integration will deliver a superior patient experience due to the collective power of a digitally responsive healthcare organization.
digital integration is a very complex capability to realize because it involves internal and external organization functions, the supply chain network, the patients, technology, people, and processes. It also involves the complexity of integrating various process-supporting multi-generational technologies, such as, legacy back-end high-speed transaction systems, middleware, systems and application interfaces, and cloud applications. An example is Healthcare claims processing, with electronic medical records and a patient portal.
how then, is it possible to architect and achieve digital integration in healthcare organisations? The following are the critical steps -
start with the patient: one needs to architect patient-centric omni-channel engagement and interaction. Embrace all interaction channels – web, social media, messaging, voice direct, integrated voice response (IVR- and devices (mobile, desktop, IoT) and develop a robust patient experience platform. This platform should be used for interacting with patients for their needs and communicating with them for necessary events. For example, to update them on the status of their medical claims. The main challenge for technology integrators is to provide a patient-centric experience while reducing his or her anxiety and ultimately delivering an excellent overall healthcare service. The output of omni-channel customer interaction information should be digitally ready input to the healthcare delivery system.
proceed to operations: in this stage, the healthcare service requirement and associated information is digitally transmitted to healthcare service providers and for operations. For example, if the patient requests a physician appointment, automatic scheduling and confirmation of the appointment is a must; additional physician office workflows, such as, medical records and insurance eligibility should also be complete.
in healthcare service delivery, an integrated approach is possible where all partners are integrated with a common information system. an example is in Home Healthcare delivery, where mobile care givers are equipped with necessary information on patient needs and care environment.
digital integration by leveraging automation can drive efficiencies in healthcare operations management including back-office work such as claims processing, accounts payable and revenue cycle management.
delight the patient: This is the last stage of digital integration. Beyond service centres, and call centres with necessary capabilities, this is also the time to revisit and review the interaction. What worked, what improvements are needed, and how was the patient’s experience, are some of the questions that need to be asked. For example, is the patient’s bill statement current and correct? Do they need and are they alerted for upcoming medical visits? Do their care givers, if any, have the medical information they need to administer the needed care? The digital capabilities required include intelligent incident management, large-scale analytics for response or experience management and 360 feedback loop integrating front-end patient management.
while full digital integration is complex and time consuming, it is also very rewarding from a superior patient experience perspective and business growth. Actually, with the dramatic growth in digital technologies, not only is it possible, there is really no choice.
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