How Connected Health Technology Can Improve Patient Trust and Satisfaction
One of the most profound transformations we are seeing in healthcare today is the transformation of the traditional patient into an empowered consumer. Healthcare is no longer just a piece of your employee benefit package – it is a realm where patients have increasing influence. As patient visibility into their healthcare increases, so do their expectations and ability to identify gaps in their care.
The Future Health Index (FHI), commissioned by Philips, analyzed data from across 16 countries that are home to nearly half of the world’s population, in order to define a model for measuring value as it relates to healthcare. A significant finding in this year’s U.S. FHI was a relative lack of trust and satisfaction in our nation’s healthcare system. The index reports that while nearly two thirds of healthcare professionals have trust in the U.S. healthcare system, only 40 percent of the general population feels the same way. In addition, less than half of U.S. patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) are actually satisfied with the healthcare system (46 percent and 44 percent respectively). This relative lack of trust and satisfaction in healthcare persists despite the highest per capita spending on healthcare of any country in the world. The gap between cost and consumer trust and satisfaction underscore the need for improvement.
There are many reasons to believe that in this age of consumerization in healthcare, connected health technology could provide an answer. Connected health solutions might not only empower patients to be active participants in their own care, but may also promote a healthy provider-patient relationship. As U.S. healthcare moves away from acute care environments to ambulatory and home settings, connected health solutions could help maintain efficient and open lines of communications between patients and HCPs that would otherwise be hindered by increasing distance between patient and caregiver. Better and more simplified means of communication between HCPs and their patients will provide a jump-start to improving trust and satisfaction in our healthcare system.
Patients as consumers
With the increased adoption of personal medical devices, one’s daily health decisions can now be tracked and analyzed. The movement of large percentages of our population toward quantification and analysis of personal health activities is in part fueling the demand for greater control and increased connectivity with providers. When empowered healthcare consumers do not have the tools to provide the requisite insight into their own healthcare, trust and satisfaction in our healthcare system suffers. Connected health solutions that provide the necessary connectivity and insight will not only help improve trust and satisfaction, but will drive patient engagement, which is such a vital element of success in the delivery of truly value-based healthcare.
According to Philips’ FHI report, nearly all of the patients who use connected care technologies reported feeling the devices helped them take better control of their life. Among Americans who do not currently use connected care technologies, the majority (77 percent) reported being open to using these solutions. The FHI also found a generational gap among U.S. healthcare consumers with regard to connected care technologies, as millennials and generation Z consumers are more likely to use these technologies to maintain their wellbeing than their elders.
Healthcare providers will play a major role in the adoption of connected care solutions as U.S. healthcare consumers seem to be more likely to use these technologies if they are recommended by one. As U.S. providers’ confidence in the benefits of wearables and mobile healthcare applications advance, it is expected that their adoption and the resultant benefits will be increasingly realized by U.S. healthcare consumers as well.
Closing the patient trust and satisfaction gap
As healthcare organizations transform the way they think about, manage, and deliver care, they are moving beyond care delivery toward health delivery. Successful health delivery engages patients at every step along their care journey. Connected health technologies may be key tools to enable this transition. According to the FHI, adoption of and investment in health delivery tools such as remote patient monitoring and artificial intelligence in the U.S. is above the global average, while our spend on telemedicine is lower than the global average. Overall, our investment in connected health technologies is growing.
Even with this growing expenditure, more work remains to be done to turn our connected care investments into solutions that provide meaningful patient-provider interactions that foster trust and improve patient satisfaction. It will take an ecosystem of integrated solutions that leverage data analytics, care management services, telehealth programs and home monitoring systems to successfully support our increasingly empowered consumers. Tomorrow’s solutions will require telehealth that goes beyond video conferences between patients and providers. These technologies will need to gather large amounts of patient data from multiple sources and turn it seamlessly into insights that can be used by healthcare providers and patients to improve and maintain their health. By simplifying the collection and analysis of ever more ubiquitous patient data and improving communications between patients and their health care providers, we can revolutionize care delivery and guide patients to better health, while boosting their confidence in their healthcare delivery systems.
Healthcare organizations and their industry partners that can successfully leverage connected health technologies to address the needs of empowered healthcare consumers will improve patient trust and satisfaction by provide ongoing, cost-effective interventions for patients, while driving a healthier bottom line.