More Americans than ever now own phones, tablets, and computers, and they expect these devices to play an important role in the delivery of their healthcare. That's just one reason telehealth services grew 643% between 2011 and 2016. It's also why fewer people retain a primary care doctor. In 2020, healthcare providers can expect these convenience care trends to continue, and this may be bad news for many of them. In order to retain and earn patient relationships, providers will need to find new ways to connect with people.
Many Traditional Providers are Vulnerable
Convenience care presents a significant challenge for many traditional healthcare providers. The old ways of doing things, like taking appointments only by landline phone and asking patients to wait weeks or months before they can see a professional, simply aren't going to work anymore. Patient satisfaction is continuing to be a paramount concern, and convenience care plays a major role in that. If patients can't get the convenient service they desire at their existing providers, they're likely to look elsewhere.
Modern patients are looking for the same convenience in their healthcare that they receive from streaming TV and movies, food delivery apps, or ride-sharing services - expecting the same kind of speed and accessibility from their healthcare providers is a growing trend. From their computer, smartphone, or tablet, many patients want to be able to:
- Pay their bills
- Schedule appointments
- Order prescription refills
- Monitor health metrics
- Receive important medical information
Patients no longer have the desire to leave the house or office to get care when they don't think it's no necessary. If a healthcare practice doesn't have ways for these patients to get in touch with a professional remotely, they're likely to lose their business altogether. Unfortunately, the use of digital tools that could provide this service is lower in healthcare than in most other industries.
Convenience Care Solutions
Despite the resistance of some professionals, patients have the right instinct when it comes to convenience care. The last place a person should be when exhibiting flu-like symptoms is a doctor's office spreading the disease around. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available to help clinicians give patients all the information they need to get better remotely. In 2020, healthcare providers will have access to a wide range of solutions, including:
- Patient portals where people can make appointments, review test results, request medication refills, and even speak with a doctor or nurse
- Remote monitoring devices that can measure and report information about blood pressure, blood glucose, lung function, posture, tremors and sleep patterns
- Electronic health records give doctors and nurses the ability to retrieve and input important information about patients so that they can receive quality care
- Personal health records are controlled by patients and can provide vital data during an emergency
Once digital solutions are in place that can provide convenience care, it's the duty of healthcare offices to educate their patients. By disseminating information through pamphlets, videos, personal phone calls and by other means, patients will know where to access solutions and how to get the most benefit. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, 74% of patients believed that telehealth services improved the relationships they had with their doctors. Patients who have a positive experience are more likely to pay their bills on time and return for service.
With individuals now being more responsible than ever for the costs of healthcare, satisfaction should be a top priority for providers. By providing patients with affordable and highly accessible healthcare services, doctors can generate more revenue and save money. As a result, convenience care will continue to trend throughout 2020 and beyond.