In my travels across healthcare companies throughout the country, it’s evident that strategists, planners, and product owners are aggressively looking to break through the ice and begin thinking about how to leverage new digital technologies. But we should think further outside the box to envision new operational models, interactions, and services.
The majority of healthcare services companies are focusing on making current processes and touchpoints available on a mobile device, without tapping into the transformative powers that these devices can have on their businesses.
To understand what transformative changes are possible, we have to understand the wave of digital technologies coming at us. While my newly released eBook on Digital Healthcare goes into more specific details, we can breakdown the wave of digital technologies impacting healthcare to
- Clinical Devices/Monitors
- Genetic Technologies
- Digital Remote Diagnostics
- Integrated Electronic Health Records
- Mobile Computing
While there are more than just these technologies, you can start to see how the way care is delivered and the administrative processes used to reimburse for care, are poised for considerable change.
Imagine: A World Without ID Cards
Let’s focus on a specific patient (and health plan member) experience and its potential for change.
John Doe enrolls in Health Plan A and is mailed an insurance identification card. When John Doe shows up for his doctor appointment, he has to remember his identification card, hand it over to the medical office staff, who then needs to photo copy (front and back) the card, and manage either paper or PDF files of the card information for billing purposes.
The whole process is a bit cumbersome given the technology we have at our fingertips today. Many health plans are attempting to leverage technology and make their ID cards available to members on mobile applications. Some plans even give members the option to e-mail or fax the ID card right to their providers from the mobile application. But the manual process, for providers, is still in place. Why stop the technological advances there?
To truly transform insurance ID cards, we should eliminate them entirely—even the mobile application versions. With digital technologies available today, we can re-envision the interface with the patients, care-givers, and health plans. Mobile applications can allow patients/members to locate in-network care professionals and facilities using their phone’s native GPS. Profiles of the providers could include location, services, quality ratings, cost information, maps, and other details—even appointment scheduling options and arrival time requests.
At the patient’s appointment, imagine skipping lines at the infamous sliding glass window to fill out paperwork and sign releases. Instead, the patient is greeted with a mobile alert welcoming him/her to the facility using a Bluetooth beacon. The alert could provide a request to release their insurance information and healthcare history to the office.
One touch of the “Okay” button, the mobile application pulls information from the health plan on benefits, eligibility, and billing, and sends it to the medical office’s scheduling and patient check-in systems. Medical history is either pulled from multiple electronic health records across multiple doctors or from a patient medical history summary identified by the patient.
Taking Digital Health Even Further
Let’s not stop at just displaying an ID card on a phone, to be photo-copied or faxed. Let’s put patients in the driver seat, and give them access to mobile computing capabilities that can direct and share their information throughout their travels in the healthcare system.
In my work with executives and leaders in the industry, I’m often asked what Digital Healthcare will truly mean, and what steps can be taken to prepare your business and your organization for the upcoming wave of technologies and the changes they will bring. Answering those questions, and identifying some simple yet important steps are the basis for my e-book: Preparing for Digital Healthcare,, now available for download on the HighPoint Solutions website.
How will you (and your organization) use digital technologies to think outside the box and transform the way you do business?