We are quickly approaching two years since COVID-19 changed our world, and the global pandemic has cemented the reality that telehealth is here to stay. But, what other trends and shifts are shaping the future of pediatric care?
In this piece, we’ll take a look at some of the top healthcare topics for those of you who care for children from birth through adolescence. Here are four things that are top of mind for other pediatricians in 2022.
Just as your patients’ well-being is important, so is your practice’s financial health. After all, you can’t continue to operate if your pediatric practice isn’t making a profit. And one of the best ways to financially thrive in the current healthcare landscape is through virtual care solutions, like telehealth appointments and after-hours nurse triage.
How does telemedicine affect financial outcomes? It increases your revenue and lessens the number of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and readmissions — thereby decreasing costs for everyone, including families and the healthcare system. Additional cost savings include a reduction in patient travel expenses and medical transportation.
It’s clear that telehealth is an efficient, cost-effective way to see patients, improving access and driving better outcomes. Since experts agree that telemedicine is here to stay, it’s important to know what technology complements virtual visits and how these platforms will continue to support telehealth in the future.
Chatbots. A chatbot is a software application that allows businesses to have an online conversation with a customer through text or text-to-speech, rather than offering direct contact with a live person. This option can make more time for providers to see patients because it promotes self-service pre-screenings, automates the sharing of health information, and assists with diagnostics.
Remote patient monitoring. For pediatric practices, a basic kit that includes a thermometer, pulse oximeter, and camera, can take virtual visits to the next level. When families use this equipment at home, you’re able to see inside a child’s ears and prescribe antibiotics if there’s an infection. If you’re treating a patient who’s having breathing problems, you can check oxygen levels from the pulse ox and suggest parents try a home remedy like steam, instead of going to the ER.
Nurse triage. During the evenings and on weekends and holidays, you want your patients to have the care they need, right? But, you also don’t want you or your staff to be on call every day and miss precious time with your families. How do you handle this dilemma? After-hours nurse triage! With an experienced RN who’s available to answer after-hours calls, you can be confident that your patients are in good hands. The nurse can connect patients with you if it’s truly necessary, refer to another practitioner, schedule follow-up appointments, or advise an emergency department visit.
Data and Analytics
Security and privacy are high-priority items in healthcare, especially when it comes to telehealth. As you provide virtual visits, it’s crucial that you’re using technology that’s HIPAA compliant. Cloud services are growing in popularity, and they offer various opportunities to improve security and privacy — particularly through data encryption at rest and in transit.
If your practice decides to add technology for remote patient monitoring, there will be even more clinical data to house. Security is a major plus for emerging cloud technology, but it also can improve the quality of patient care by allowing easier, quicker access to dashboards. In addition, more providers and payers are depending on cloud services to scale data storage and analytics.
Patient Experience and Communication
One of the possibilities for 2022 and beyond is creating a climate where patients feel empowered to take control of their healthcare journey. Teaching children and their families how to make healthy choices gives them autonomy and sets them up for success in the future. None of this can happen without communication, and there are some exciting tools that have the potential to improve the patient experience in 2022 and beyond.
Speech recognition. Voice-based technology is a promising clinical tool for older patients; in fact, studies confirm it can help in identifying Parkinson’s disease at an early stage. But, the benefits of speech recognition are relevant to the entire healthcare sector, including pediatrics, because it provides instant feedback and prompt communication. Busy families with young children value hands-free applications, so giving them access to health-related data through voice activation stands to have a considerable impact on patient-doctor interaction efficiency.
Translation services. Families who do not speak English experience frustration when trying to communicate with their provider. They also often encounter delays, whether they’re attempting to fill out an online form, ask a question over the phone, or have a conversation during an appointment. By offering translation services, you are allowing your patients’ families to overcome inequity and access barriers, while also improving outcomes.
Personalization services. If you send reminders to patients about upcoming appointments or time-sensitive vaccines, consider personalization services. They enable your pediatric practice to customize messages to patients and their parents via email or text. This is especially effective for families who prefer electronic communication instead of paper mail.
Pre-visit planning. This strategy involves scheduling patients for future appointments at the end of their current visit, setting up pre-visit lab testing, gathering the necessary information for upcoming visits, and huddling as a care team before handing off patients. When you implement pre-visit planning, you will work toward having a pediatric practice that runs efficiently and is ready to handle any unexpected issues that arise. This creates a streamlined environment where patients feel valued and respected.
Anytime Pediatrics offers virtual care solutions that will help you achieve your goals in 2022. To learn more about our services, request a consultation today!