Thanks to technological advancements and streamlined solutions, the healthcare industry continues to improve. From follow-up appointments to making payments online, the world of healthcare has been ever changed thanks to advancements in technology—in addition to a willingness from providers and healthcare workers to make their lives and the lives of patients more manageable.
We are not 20 years into this century and this industry continues to move and shift, almost daily. Streamlined healthcare is at the frontline of these developments, especially in the current state of the world. With everyone staying at home, hospitals, clinics, and providers have been required to make innovative changes that will alter the healthcare industry forever.
These are a few critical areas of healthcare that have grown exponentially this year alone and will continue to in the coming decade.
Telehealth has become increasingly popular in the digital age, and especially in the last few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, when trips to the doctor are being limited to essential needs and emergencies. In March, the President signed into effect an expansion to telehealth benefits coverage with Medicare to help limit the need for in-person appointments.
Telehealth can take the place of many urgent care visits. It allows visits over video chat or phone call for many types of medical issues, such as common viruses or infections. It can also be used for mental health screenings and therapy appointments. Prescription refill appointments, diagnosing a rash, and ruling out the flu can all be made easily over video chat with a doctor. Depending on a patient’s insurance, Doctor on Demand and Virtuwell are two commonly used apps for large plan providers like UnitedHealthcare and Medica. Patients can call at any time of the day and be connected with a doctor virtually for quick, easy diagnosis.
From the provider side, there are many telehealth software that makes it easy for them to connect with their patients. Tech Radar listed the five best telemedicine software systems for 2020. Important features include low-cost per provider, secure integration with electronic health records, and ease-of-use.
Text and Video Chat Therapy
For those in therapy, meeting a therapist online or over video chat can provide several benefits, including time savings and relieving some of the anxieties of meeting face to face. . Apps like Talkspace and BetterHelp have helped millions of people treat their mental health in an easily accessible app.
In the current climate, with a stay-at-home order in place in the state, those critical face to face meetings in the therapist’s office cannot happen. Thankfully, providers have been using Google, Skype, Facetime, and over video conferencing platforms to provide teletherapy sessions. Providers are still able to adhere to HIPAA guidelines by providing their sessions from secure locations to ensure the safety and confidentiality of their patient.
Pharmacy Online Renewals/Ordering/Delivery
Being able to take care of all of your prescription refills and orders online is nothing new. But, more and more pharmacies are offering auto-refills, mailed prescriptions, and delivery options for those who cannot come to the pharmacy to pick up their medications.
The American Pharmacy Purchase Alliance recognized the top ten pharmacy trends to look out for in 2020. Mobile health care, artificial intelligence, and virtual healthcare are all on the rise and will surely help to streamline services.
IBM has developed a computer that uses AI to read through millions of pages of scientific research, data, articles, and other materials to help doctors and researchers develop new medications faster, easier, and more efficiently. The hope is that they can streamline the connection between new symptoms and develop the proper medication for it.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Technology is playing a significant role amongst patients with chronic conditions—who often see their primary care physicians multiple times throughout the year.f That equates to a lot of time visiting the doctor in person, but also very few appointments to get efficient checks on their chronic conditions.
People with diabetes and high blood pressure need to regularly track metrics like blood sugar levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. Health Tech talks about how wearable technologies can end up saving their lives thanks to real-time metric tracking. Accuhealth describes two specific examples of being able to reach out to two different patients who were showing dangerously high blood glucose levels and blood pressure. Thanks to wearable technology, they were able to reach out to the patients, prescribe medication immediately, and inevitably save their lives.
These readings not only help the individuals but tracking all that data regularly right from the source can help to fuel future treatments and care plans for future patients suffering from similar conditions.
Remote patient monitoring will show an uptick in 2020 with a push towards telehealth options. Plus, these options can sync up to smartphone apps for easy tracking by the patient themselves, without the presence of their physician.
The Use of 5G Data
With telehealth, virtual care, and more use of technology in the medical fields, a fast network is vital to ensuring these processes remain fast, efficient, and secure. The arrival of 5G is sure to streamline online services ten-fold. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks and is said to be as much as 100 times faster than the previous 4G networks.
5G will help with remote monitoring, which we talked about earlier, as well as telehealth services, artificial intelligence, and VR use in the field. Remote patient monitoring will only be successful if real-time data can be sent, monitored, and immediate care given—5G ensures that will happen.
The faster speeds of 5G not only help with patient care but will open more opportunities for hospitals and clinics to fully commit to more technology and less manual work. For example, they are using iPads and computers to replace all paperwork. A doctor giving a consult with a patient for a second opinion can immediately send their diagnosis to the primary doctor right away which skips the patient having to track down their records, and speeds up their diagnosis time.
HIPAA-Compliant Mobile Communications
Pagers are cumbersome, out-of-date, and lack two-way communication. Yet, many healthcare providers and surgeons still use these antiquated devices to receive alerts from colleagues for important information.
On-Page is one such application making communication between doctors, colleagues, healthcare workers, and patients as streamlined as possible. It offers two-way responses, urgent alerts, and a communication hub that office administrators can track.
On-Page also works well in crisis situations and emergencies, alerting all physicians with the app at once. It provides a seamless stream of communication that doesn’t involve bulky pagers or non-compliant text messaging on their personal devices.
Online Healthcare Portals
In 2020, you may see an uptick in online healthcare portals. This means patients, payers, and providers will utilize a secure portal to gain access to medical data quickly and easily. Patient portals, combined with EMR/EHR systems, allow patients the ability to create, view, attend appointments, fill out questionnaires prior to the visit, view and make payments to bills, and more. Smart Data Solutions offers separate provider and payer portals for our clients to utilize with ease. Smart Data Solutions provider portal gives submitters the tools required to submit claims to payers electronically, view 835 data, check for eligibility in real-time, and track the status of a claim Smart Data Solutions QuickClaim portal provides payer clients with the tools and transparency needed to manage their claim intake process efficiently and effectively.
Automatic Claims Matching
Smart Data Solutions streamlines workflows using automatic claims matching, which matches members and providers within a claim. Every inbound claim received from providers is run through our automated matching system.
Automatic claim matching helps alleviate errors; it quickly validates the data and ensures members are eligible for the services listed based on their insurance coverage. This can help avoid timely claim denials down the road.
This automated process can also help fill any gaps due to formatting changes or misreads between the provider and the payer. All of the above help to speed up the payment process and notify all parties of the claim status. We also take a payer’s eligibility, route the claims to their primary network, and automate any necessary repricing.
What Else Does Smart Data Solutions Have Coming in 2020 to Help Streamline Services in Healthcare?
Given the ongoing changes during the Coronavirus global pandemic, Smart Data Solutions will be opening up additional submission channels for both our payers and providers to help maintain the flow of their filed claims.
We will make fax lines available, direct file transfer solutions, and expand our current provider portal, which we previously mentioned. This will allow providers an interface to directly upload claim images into our system. There will be safe, secure email submission options opening up as well.
During this time, we will do our part to streamline any services by connecting the dots between providers, payers, and any involved parties to be able to safely and securely submit claims electronically. This workflow will be ever-changing, but it will be a way that everyone can best utilize the tools they have to continue these critical workflows.
For more information on how we continue to streamline healthcare workflows during this pandemic and for the coming year, please contact us by filling out this form, or give us a call at (651) 894-6400.