Patient-Provider Relationships Advance w/ Health IT Technologies

Pre-COVID Era Versus COVID Era

COVID-19 continues to have long-term effects on the economy and can lead to increased healthcare costs [1]. Inflation & labor shortage will cause the health expenditure to be $370 billion higher by 2027 than the projected costs pre-pandemic [1]. This is definitely alarming and technology needs to catch up before healthcare becomes even more inaccessible. One of the biggest contributing factors to increased healthcare costs is the labor shortage due to increased demand for outpatient services such as home and nursing care [1]. Reasons such as the lack of support, safety, and flexibility have been factors to push nurses away from patient care services [1]. This can worsen health equity concerns and must be addressed by providing nurses and clinical staff with the resources & tools they need to succeed. 

Inflation is still a concerning factor that may lead patients to think twice before they seek out healthcare services. In January this year, inflation reached a 40-year high with the consumer price index increasing by almost 8% in just a year [2]. Although the healthcare sector hasn’t faced similar inflation rates as the food and energy sectors have, the average household will be looking for ways to cut down on their spending. For instance, 23 million Americans have unpaid medical debt, and most will want to avoid increasing their debt when they already have to pay more for other costs [3]. Furthermore, the increasing costs of labor and drugs will lead to increased operating costs [3].  Patients who are unable to keep up with inflation may have to cut back on health-related costs such as visiting their doctors, filling their prescriptions, or even eating healthy. 

Advocating for Patients Improves Trust

Providers can promote healthier outcomes even during times of high inflation rates by providing resources to patients. A study showed that medical care only accounted for 20% of health while social and economic factors accounted for 40% [4]. Therefore, it is important for doctors to ask questions related to a patient’s household income, access to healthy food options, and even if they are able to have regular eating patterns [4]. Doctors can build trust by offering support with community-related resources that increase access to healthier food options and security [4]. This can be even more crucial to those with chronic conditions and helps to improve overall population health. Therefore, it is important for providers to advocate for better resources for their patients so they can have the support they need to make healthy choices. 

Doctors can also build trust with patients by actively advocating for them. This can be done by educating patients on their conditions & the different levels of care they need to manage them [5]. This can also be done with messaging tools that allow patients to keep in contact with their doctor’s in-between visits. Furthermore, doctors can advocate for their patients by updating the entire medical team with any updates on the patient’s care such as new treatment plans or worsening symptoms [5]. This leads to improved patient safety since adverse health effects can be prevented with continuous and collaborative care [6]. Additionally, providers can build trust by letting patients know they are available to answer questions or concerns outside of normal care options. Doctors should also encourage their patients to learn more about their conditions and obtain self-advocacy tools by showing them how to speak up for themselves when needed. 

Health IT Technologies Improve Care

Health IT technologies offer doctors tools to strengthen their relationships with patients through increased trust and advocacy. One important technology is the use of AI and remote care services to provide preventive care. This can be done by providing personalized screening based on genetics & risk factors [7]. These screenings help to detect diseases and worsening symptoms before they become hard to manage [7]. Telemedicine services can also provide direct services such as follow-ups and consultations based on when patients need them [8]. This can improve provider and patient relationships by allowing patients to reach out when needed. Furthermore, providers can communicate virtually which helps patients feel cared for & more likely to follow up with their treatments. 

Another important technology is the use of clinical decision support systems (CDSS). CDSS offers effective ways to store, manage, and use patient data. Importantly, these interfaces are created with human-centered design in mind so that patients & providers can communicate with one another. Doctors can send patients alerts and offer resources to their families for better health outcomes [9]. CDSS can also promote patient safety by determining effective treatment plans and monitoring for worsening symptoms. Overall, CDSS helps keep doctors up to date with a patient’s medical record and keeps them in touch with patients. Furthermore, telehealth can be integrated with CDSS to provide disease management and keep patients included in the decision-making process [10]. 

Importance of Patient-Provider relationships in Healthcare

Overall, patients are more likely to reach out to their doctors when there are different methods of reaching them. However, patients must first trust that their doctors will advocate for them and be present when contacted. Providers can use health IT technologies to take healthcare services outside of the traditional clinical setting. A lack of trust can lead to patients not following treatment plans and withholding important information about their conditions [11]. This is especially concerning for patients with chronic conditions because it can lead to a decline in their quality of life [11]. However, when doctors go out of their way to educate, engage, and support patients, their relationships with patients improve. This leads to patients being more likely to follow up, reach out with questions, and be engaged in their health. 

HITS

HITS provides healthcare management services & works with providers to develop health informatics tools that promote safe and secure care. We take pride in our services and settle for nothing other than 100% quality solutions for our clients. Having the right team assist with data sharing is crucial to encouraging collaborative and secure care. If you’re looking for the right team, HITS is it! You can reach out to us directly at info@healthitsol.com. Check out this link if you’re interested in having a 15-minute consultation with us: https://bit.ly/3RLsRXR.

References

  1. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/the-gathering-storm-the-transformative-impact-of-inflation-on-the-healthcare-sector 
  2. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/03/inflation-pandemic-covid-united-states 
  3. https://www.hfma.org/topics/hfm/2022/may/paul-keckley–inflation-s-impact-on-healthcare–5-takeaways.html 
  4. https://trustees.aha.org/articles/1299-hospitals-and-food-insecurity 
  5. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/advocating-for-patients#:~:text=Patient%20advocacy%20is%20an%20element,decisions%20about%20their%20own%20health 
  6. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/patient-safety-advances-with-health-it/ 
  7. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/precision-health-advanced-with-health-it-solutions-%ef%bf%bc/ 
  8. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/back-to-the-basics-of-telemedicine/ 
  9. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/getting-back-to-the-basics-of-human-centered-design/ 
  10. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/back-to-the-basics-of-clinical-decision-support-systems-cdss/ 
  11. https://amazingcharts.com/2021/10/27/building-patient-trust-in-and-out-of-the-office/