Craige Coren, Senior Director, EMEA
In 2016, health IT is already helping the industry meet and beat several challenges. Let’s take a look at a few of those challenges and solutions below.
The U.S. faces huge challenges in delivering efficient and high-quality health services, as patient demand continues to outpace provider supply. Additionally, according to the latest data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. healthcare spending reached $3.0 trillion, or $9,523 per person.
To help cut costs and boost delivery, patients are starting to take care in their own hands, with the following health IT resources:
- Provider platforms and portals that offer secured information to patients such as upcoming appointments, test results, wellness advice and billing.
- Telemedicine platforms, such as Healthiest You, which allow patients with minor ailments (such as a cold or flu) to obtain diagnoses over the phone from registered nurses and qualified MDs. These healthcare providers can then contact the patient’s pharmacy of choice with the correct antibiotic, cough medicine or ear drops.
- Wellness websites, including mayoclinic.com, that offer a complete breakdown of symptoms, treatments and when to call a doctor. Armed with this information, patients can determine if their condition is serious enough to warrant a visit to their healthcare providers.
When patients better understand their own symptoms and issues, they aren’t taking up space in waiting areas for minor ailments. This also could lead to smaller provider offices, and boost provider mobility to satellite locations.
Vulnerable populations are defined as groups most at-risk for experiencing negative health outcomes due to age, race/ethnicity, income, geography or chronic medical/ behavioral conditions. Many times, they’re unable to find the right entry points to get into the system. Sometimes, they simply don’t have a way to visit a healthcare provider. And, because many are uninsured or underinsured, they often don’t seek medical help until their conditions worsen to the point at which they end up in emergency rooms. The good news for this population is that some managed Medicaid plans already rely on nurse call centers to help better manage and coordinate care of their populations.
Additionally, Dan Gebremedhin, in writing for MobiHealth News, points out that health tech start-ups are working hard to tackle the issue. These companies include:
- Lyra Health and Quartet Health, which are developing employer/payer screening to pinpoint behavioral health conditions.
- AbilTo, a company that is overseeing telehealth treatments for patients’ medical and behavioral issues.
- Valera Health, which is personalizing behavioral health solutions for at-risk patients.
The idea with these technologies is to funnel vulnerable patients into the healthcare system for treatment and/or prevention before they end up in emergency rooms for simple diagnoses such as earaches or the flu – or more serious ailments that could have been preventable. This could help reduce ER waiting times and possibly allow for reconfiguration of space to make it more useful for triage and treatment.
Healthcare Staff Productivity
Medical care represents an increasing proportion of society’s time and resources. Improving productivity in healthcare means improving outcomes. At this point, healthcare is moving from addressing point-in-time issues to collaborative and continuous health management. The idea here is that continuous management means fewer surprises. Other ways in which technology is and/or can be used to help boost productivity include:
Remote monitoring, in which information is gathered from the patient by way of a remote device. For example, sensor technology, used in the case of heart-attack patients, continuously collects physiological data and real-time status reports. It also alerts healthcare providers of impending patient problems. Telemedicine platforms, mentioned above, also improves productivity by keeping patients out of medical offices for simple ailments.
Online access to providers that can help decrease the time taken for administrative tasks. For example, if patients fill out medical forms online, nurses, physicians and physician assistants can access the information, before the patient ever steps into the office.
Centralized clearing houses that share information will eventually replace the current paper-process of accreditation and medical education, according to the Harvard Business Review. This could lead to smaller staffs, as less time is spent on non-patientoriented tasks.
Companies such as Athenahealth and Castlight Health are offering Software-As-Service (SaaS) solutions. One such solution offers healthcare providers easier access to data ranging from physician quality, to specialization, to adherence to evidence-based care. This can better match patients with the proper providers, meaning less guesswork and more efficiencies.
A reduction in administrative work means smaller staffs and more collaboration. This, in turn, could lead to better space efficiency when it comes to treating patients.
The above is an excerpt from Craige’s larger editorial – The Prognosis of Healthcare Technology. To learn more about the challenges and solutions healthcare technologies are tackling, along with the industry’s need for flexible real estate, download the Spring 2016 edition of the Occupier Edge.
Craige Coren is a Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield in the EMEA region. Working with a wide variety of North American, UK & European companies, Craige brings more than 30 years of real estate experience to clients. Craige specialises in providing strategic advice, management of a wide of variety of services provided to clients including “hands on” oversight on any transactional services, lease restructures, renewals and renegotiations.