The way technology has transformed businesses and organizations is impressive. Stores had to sell online, taxis gave way to ride apps, video rental companies were now extinct by streaming services, etc. Like any other organization, hospitals and medical clinics have to change with the times too.
Not all major changes are noticed by patients, but clinic owners or managers are certainly used to them. They will soon have to adapt to these changes, so as not to become outdated and even excluded from new processes and regulations.
These are several main changes hospitals and medical clinics are facing right now. How many of them are you prepared for?
1. A Shift Towards Telemedicine
New technologies improved remote care through telemedicine, which is a live video call with a doctor on a computer or mobile phone. Although this service has been offered for some time, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that pushed the shift. In January 2020, less than 1 percent of medical appointments performed in the U.S. occurred virtually; in April of the same year, almost half were made remotely.
Although some users are still biased towards telemedicine, a remote medical appointment has more advantages than disadvantages. For example:
- Support for Chronic Patients– Home monitoring tools and even mobile apps transmit data online to healthcare professionals, who can track symptoms and chronic cases.
- Access to Specialists– In the real world, you often need to travel to another city to be seen by an expert in a certain area. Remotely, online medical networks provide these experts 24 hours a day.
- Lower Cost– Telemedicine is cheaper than traditional, face-to-face healthcare (especially for those without insurance). And, of course, you also save on the cost of going to the clinic.
- Less Exposure to Diseases– The waiting room of a hospital can expose you to viruses and rapidly transmitting diseases such as the flu. Remote appointments prevent it and also ensure the safety of the doctors themselves.
2. Mental Health is Less Stigmatized
People with mental disorders used to suffer discrimination. Today people openly talk about mental health issues, which is healthy for everyone. There are several remote mental health resources available.
Now a patient can receive psychiatric support online and even maintain treatment for anxiety or depression while away from the specialist’s office. Also very important are the emergency psychiatric services, available 24 hours a day by phone or internet, to connect patients to therapists or psychiatrists.
3. Patient Data is Going Digital
One of the biggest benefits of technology is that all patient information and medical records are becoming digital, allowing them to be stored, organized, and studied more productively.
Previously, access to digital information was difficult, even for sharing between different health professionals and clinics. Thanks to the benefits of the 21st Century Cures Act, more information can be accessed digitally. Information blocking is now a finable violation. It’s an essential change to make healthcare better and more efficient.
4. Mobile Care
Daily life is increasingly fast, and healthcare has adapted to it. Today, ambulances, mobile clinics, and UrgiCares are used more than ever. After all, technology has advanced enough to allow treating patients outside of the hospital building, decentralizing healthcare.
Mobile clinics and other similar tools allow you to bring primary care and diagnostics closer to communities that don’t have a hospital nearby. They have become even more popular thanks to the vaccination campaigns for COVID-19. In the recent past, patients living in rural areas or poor neighborhoods were forced to make a long journey to a physical clinic. Now it is the clinic itself that goes to them.
5. Travel Nursing is Growing in Popularity
Travel nurses are a great solution for hospitals that need temporary staff increases. They are nurses registered with an independent agency, who take on short-term roles in hospitals and clinics around the world. All traveling nurses are expected to hold a certification in BLS in order to be prepared for emergency situations that might occur. Whenever demand is greater in another area, they are invited to move there and fill the gap.
Many travel nurses are in it for the possibility of helping others while traveling to new places, rather than staying in the same city forever. The fact that they don’t spend much time in the same hospital also allows these nomadic professionals to have different experiences with new professionals and new practices. The disadvantage is that less popular locations generally receive fewer travel nurses than necessary.
Modern Healthcare is Even More Human
One of the biggest fears about modernizing or updating old processes is that technology can dehumanize them, making customer service colder and more mechanical—forcing patients to deal with a machine or app instead of a flesh-and-blood person.
In real life, it couldn’t be different: modern healthcare also means more humane healthcare. Processes and services are being updated and modified to ensure an even better and more dynamic experience for users.
Digitally processed data ensures more organization, mobile clinics take healthcare to underserved communities, online medicine allows you to talk to a specialist without having to travel miles to a clinic, etc. More and more patients will enjoy the benefits of these changes.