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Digital Technologies and Services for Hospitals and Health Systems

Mark Bernstein
July 23, 2018

In our previous post in the Opportunities for Digital Transformation of the Healthcare Ecosystem in 2018 and Beyond series, we shared some information and ideas on the technologies and services that health plans and payers might consider as they progress into the second half of 2018 and beyond. In this post, we present a deeper dive into digital technologies and services for hospitals and health systems to consider as they transform their healthcare organizations in the remainder of 2018 and into the next year.

Hospitals & Health Systems Services and Technologies in 2018

With the ability to generate revenue growth from inpatient services declining year over year, hospitals and health systems are under tremendous pressure to reduce costs. Moreover, government and private payers are demanding cost decreases and shifting reimbursement to value-based programs.

As healthcare continues to evolve in the rapidly advancing and uncertain United States healthcare system, we believe the following are key areas of opportunity for hospitals & health systems:

  • Achieving Cost Efficiencies and Supply Chain Management
  • Extending Electronic Health Records (EHR) with Complimentary Technologies
  • Engaging Patients and Management via Customer Relationship Management Tools
  • Core Services & Technologies for Engaging Today’s Healthcare Consumer
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Amplify Physician Intelligence
  • Enhanced Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)
  • Smartphones and Secure Mobile Communications
  • The Internet of (Medical) Things (IoT)
  • Blockchain Technologies

Moreover, the shift to value-based programs is adding new patient engagement, data collection, and quality measurement demands on hospital organizations that have heretofore not previously had to deal with. And the growth of Medicaid and Medicare programs – a major historical source of hospital inpatient revenue – is shifting focus to other settings including outpatient and the home.  And recent regulatory programs like the 21st Century Cures Act and the Chronic Care Act are opening new opportunities for all healthcare stakeholders.

RELATED: Hospital execs say inpatient volume growth isn’t rebounding

 

Digital Technologies and Services for Hospitals and Health Systems. Supply Chain. Blockchain Technology. Value-based Care. Electronic Health Records EHR. Customer Relationship Management CRM. Artificial Intelligence. Enhanced Revenue Cycle Management RCM. Blockchain Technology. patient experience. Data Analytics. Business Intelligence Solutions.

Achieving Cost Efficiencies and Supply Chain Management – Key to Value-based Care

Within five years, most all healthcare services will be based on managing some level of risk. As value-based care models have pressured hospitals to decrease their inpatient volumes, meet outcomes goals and provide care that’s cost-effective, hospitals are implementing systems and technologies such as:

  • Performance analytics will be needed to help earn outcome-based bonus payments
  • Applications to identify, understand and document patient and population risk
  • Tools to support resource allocation and utilization reporting at the point of care
  • AI-backed services that support decision making at the point of care

These new payment arrangements and performance measurement programs are forcing hospital administrators and health system executives to implement technologies and services for managing the total cost of care. Often not only for their own organization but also for providers outside of their organization with who they do business.

Extending Electronic Health Records with Complimentary TechnologiesDigital Technologies and Services for Hospitals and Health Systems. Supply Chain. Blockchain Technology. Value-based Care. Electronic Health Records EHR. Customer Relationship Management CRM. Artificial Intelligence. Enhanced Revenue Cycle Management RCM. Blockchain Technology. patient experience. Data Analytics. Business Intelligence Solutions.

Over the past decade, EHRs have been widely adopted by hospitals and health systems. They have become the central repository for collecting patient data. Now, these healthcare organizations are looking for ways to optimize their use and help EHR users become more productive. A primary way to enhance the significant investment hospitals have made in the EHR platforms is to integrate with analytics and artificial intelligence-based tools to amplify the intelligence of the physicians, clinical staff and others who use the platform on a daily basis.

See Artificial Intelligence Can Amplify Physician Intelligence below

Some ways that hospitals and health systems are enhancing their EHR’s include incorporating emergency alerts, patient risk scoring to provide early warning of potential issues and other predictive analytics to aid patient diagnosis and care. Regardless of the functionality that hospitals choose to enhance their EHR platforms, they’ll need to consider and address interoperability, security, and usability challenges.

Engaging Patients Using Customer Relationship Management Tools

Healthcare consumers and patients are demanding that hospitals make patient experience a top priority and provide convenience and efficiency through innovative technologies. A recent report by Black Book Research lists the following digital technologies and services for hospitals and health systems to engage today’s healthcare consumer:

  • Digital provider tools (93%)
  • Virtual access points (85%)
  • Online scheduling (97%)
  • Online payment options (92%)
  • Price transparency (94%)

But only 9% of total providers reported the ability to offer these consumer demands successfully in the Black Book survey of hospitals and physicians.

Core Services & Technologies for Engaging Today’s Healthcare Consumer

Digital Services to Support Patient Experience 
Prescription Drug-Related Laboratory Services
Online prescription pricing Personal laboratory analyses
Prescription refilling and delivery Online lab testing
Personalized medication management Patient-Provider Communication
Telemedicine/Telehealth Engagement and education platform
Virtual health clinic Patient/caregiver communications
Virtual health visits Provider Search & Scheduling
App-based telemedicine Patient/doctor matching
Chat/Text-based telemedicine Provider locator and matching
Online behavioral health support Urgent care visit scheduling
Financial Privacy & Security
Payment planning and processing Patient data protection

 

RELATED: Consumer demand for a better patient experience fueling tech startups

Artificial Intelligence Can Amplify Physician Intelligence

Huge amounts of healthcare data is created every day: structured, semi-structured, unstructured, binary and text. A lot of this data is stored in EHR’s and a lot is not. Most of this data provides immediate value to the physician and others responsible for providing patient care. And other data may provide value for other purposes including some currently not even understood.

Artificial intelligence processes built on a blockchain can amplify the intelligence of physicians and other providers of care – both human and machine – by sorting through these huge data stores and gathering the most valuable information. A few innovative companies are adding ‘Intelligence Amplification’ to their healthcare applications.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Capabilities

According to the American Hospital Association, 60% of US hospitals use CRMs; but these CRM’s are not typically integrated with the core hospital EHR and other clinical and administrative systems. CRM capabilities are particularly important to be able to track, nurture and improve patient relationships and to gather the healthcare-specific clinical, operational and administrative data needed to report customer satisfaction metrics critical to measuring value-based relationships.

CRM’s are also a core technology needed to be able to track the non-medical, social determinants of health increasingly viewed as the key to improving overall health outcomes and reducing costs.

Enhanced Revenue Cycle Management

Revenue cycle management (RCM) has always been an important consideration for hospitals and health systems. And declining reimbursement rates, the growth in value-based care, and growing hospital participation in Accountable Care Organizations have only increased the importance of RCM solutions to hospitals and health systems. Areas of functionality to consider include:

  • Data Analytics
  • Denial Management
  • Dashboards
  • Enhanced Patient Payment Options
  • Business Intelligence Solutions
  • Tools for Managing Payer Contracts

    Digital Technologies and Services for Hospitals and Health Systems. Supply Chain. Blockchain Technology. Value-based Care. Electronic Health Records EHR. Customer Relationship Management CRM. Artificial Intelligence. Enhanced Revenue Cycle Management RCM. Blockchain Technology. patient experience. Data Analytics. Business Intelligence Solutions.

RELATED: Revenue Cycle Management, Upgrades Jump to Top Hospital Priority

Smartphones and Secure Mobile Communications

Hospitals & Health Systems. Consumer-Facing Service Lines. Customized Care Plans, Upgrading Legacy Systems. Patient Experience. Price Transparency. Simplifying Billing & Payment

As hospitals begin to provide more virtual care via telemedicine and use more remote monitoring of patients discharged to the home, the demand for devices, tools and services to monitor, collect and distribute a patient’s health status and activities of daily living is growing. Smart phones, machine-to-machine interfaces and other cloud-based technologies can provide bi-directional communications on a real-time basis.

The Internet of (Medical) Things

As value-based care drives hospitals to move from reactive patient care to proactive patient care, leveraging interlinked medical devices and applications in the Internet of Things becomes more important. This is especially important as hospitals increase their focus on providing more outpatient and home-based services.

Furthermore, IoT sensors and other measurement devices provide value to hospital patients, staff, and physicians at the point of care in ways previously unimaginable – whether that point of care is in the hospital or in patient’s homes. It can assist with monitoring vital signs, determining dosing decisions and sending alerts on a real-time basis – both to the care providers and the patient’s medical record for documentation purposes. The ability for patients to recover in their homes promises more cost-effective and efficient healthcare services.

Only recently have companies been able to address patient information security and privacy concerns, the dearth of IoT technology skills, and immature clinical-grade mobile applications that have heretofore restrained adoption of IoT technologies at hospitals and health systems. Finally, when combined with artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and blockchain technologies, the IoT can provide competitive safety and security advantages to patients as well as the physicians and hospital staff.

RELATED: 45 Hospital and Healthcare Executives Outline the Hospital of the Future

Blockchain Technology at Hospitals and Health Systems

Hospitals generate terabytes of data on important clinical and financial patient matters on a daily basis. And recording, validating, and complying with common sense business needs, HIPAA security and other government regulations can involve a lot of manual effort and expense.

Blockchain technologies support new opportunities for ensuring the accuracy, security and reliability of the huge amounts of data that hospitals and health systems create and use. Some of the hospital-based functions and services that blockchain promises to improve include:

Digital Technologies and Services for Hospitals and Health Systems. Blockchain Technology. Value-based Care. Electronic Health Records EHR. Customer Relationship Management CRM. Artificial Intelligence. Enhanced Revenue Cycle Management RCM. Blockchain Technology. patient experience. Data Analytics. Business Intelligence Solutions.

  • Securing patient medical records
  • Risk adjustment tracking and coding
  • Maintaining master patient indexes
  • Payer contract Management
  • Revenue cycle management
  • Facilitating medical compliance audits
  • Proving integrity of clinical decisions and test results
  • Reducing audit expenses and ensure data security

RELATED: How Hospitals Can Become Tech Companies

Next in the Series: Services and Technologies for Physicians & Medical Practices in 2018 and Beyond

Like hospitals and health systems, physicians and medical practices are under intense market, regulatory and cost pressures. And they face similar challenges – and opportunities – as do hospitals and health systems. In the next post in our series, we’ll take a more detailed look into the services and technologies that physicians and medical practices have in the remainder of 2018 and beyond.

Reach out to AAJ Technologies for insight and assistance on the digital technologies and services for hospitals and health systems listed in this post.


Additional reading for Executives Regarding Digital Technologies and Services for Hospitals and Health Systems

 

Mark Bernstein

ABOUT Mark Bernstein

Director of Marketing, Mark is a professional with over 20 years of experience and an outstanding track record of achievement in B2B and B2C marketing. At AAJ, Mark wears many hats and oversees the marketing department with a focus on digital marketing including events, email, websites, social media, and lead generation.

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