As the industry continues to shift in the wake of COVID, it is critical to understand the innovations that not only got us through the pandemic but will continue to enhance care delivery. As we enter 2022, keep your eye on these trends from healthcare tech CEO, Hadi Chaudhry:
Telehealth will Strengthen Relationships.
Telehealth once accounted for one out of every thousand encounters, but in mid-2020, it was responsible for four in ten. Telehealth helps providers gauge what’s going on with their patient base, especially in chronic care circumstances. It tears down barriers, puts patients at ease, and provides opportunities for early intervention – ultimately reducing emergency care visits.
Telehealth and virtual care also improve the patient experience including RPM for chronic care management. Medicare recipients also benefit from the increase in telehealth. Currently, 66 percent of all non-dual-eligible Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic care conditions—and as of June 2020, about 55 percent of U.S. adults living with multiple chronic conditions reported delays or disruptions in obtaining care due to the pandemic. In many cases, primary care practices don’t have the resources to ensure treatment compliance—something that telehealth tools can help solve.
Automation Will Fill Staffing Gaps
According to a McKinsey & Company study, 75 percent of businesses will be meeting at least part of their HR needs by automating one or more business processes. Today, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is more broadly understood by decision makers across the organizational spectrum. A 2020 Gartner report stated that sales of RPA solutions would reach an estimated $2 billion in 2021.
Healthcare leaders see automation as a way to both improve efficiency and lessen employee burnout. The use of RPA in 2022 will expand to eliminate human errors and increase revenue. Automation will also reduce administrative costs, and ensure quality and consistency.
Primary care practices are increasingly using automation to identify and manage chronic care conditions. Here’s the bottom line; practices that automate can easily increase revenues 10 to 15 percent while delivering better care.
Workforces Will Be Virtual
While the prevailing attitude has always been to hire, train and work on site, many organizations are struggling to fill positions.
Every time a department loses a qualified worker, it becomes 10 to 20 percent more expensive to fill that position. The availability of workforce alternatives, along with technology supporting virtual and remote workers, will expand in 2022 to help hospitals, clinics, and private practices to adequately meet their human resource requirements.
From a technology perspective, these changes point to the need for secure, cloud-based IT solutions. Human resources and interactions will continue to be dispersed, virtual and global in nature. Interoperability will become a priority. A lack of interoperability has plagued the industry since the beginning of modern care. It took a pandemic to bring the challenges of standard, disjointed systems into the light.
In 2022, small practices will continue to consolidate with larger medical groups; this consolidation trend will bring increasing pressure on healthcare organizations and vendors to find solutions that encourage a freer flow of data. CMS, through its Interoperability and Patient Access final rule, has helped speed adoption. But a lot more needs to be done, including the increased availability and use of integration engines that link data across disparate systems, partners, and platforms.
Entities have learned the hard way how siloed systems and operations can cause major setbacks in the continuum of care. Unlocking systems and establishing tools that grant free communication of data is the only way forward.
The industry continues to adapt with new policies, systems, and practices; with a bit of luck and the right tools in place, hopes are high for 2022.
Hadi Chaudhry is Chief Executive Officer of CareCloud, a provider of a comprehensive suite of cloud-based healthcare management solutions.