Even without Covid-19, the healthcare industry has been on track for significant changes for years now. Phrases like “data-implementation” had little meaning several decades ago. Now they are integral in providing the highest possible level of patient care.
Modern healthcare leadership is expected to provide patients with a secure, tech-driven experience that is user-friendly and effective. In this article, we take a look at several modern trends in the world of healthcare leadership.
Data implementation is at the very core of the modern healthcare industry. Currently, data is a long way from reaching its full potential. However, there are promising developments that are already taking place, all with the potential to impact patients and hospitals.
For example, data is already being used to help narrow diagnosis potential. Thanks to wearable health technology, patient data is also more robust and varied than it ever has been. Information that would have previously required special tests and appointments can now be collected remotely as patients go about their routines.
Modern leaders in healthcare are now tasked with cultivating a system that not only collects this information but uses it to deliver the highest level of possible care.
Healthcare systems are more beholden to the “customer experience” quotas that impact other businesses. For one thing, there are more options than there used to be. There is also a higher degree of accountability. Thanks to the internet it is very easy for patients to share their bad experiences with strangers.
Personalized care is one of the many ways hospital leadership can move toward a more patient-centric system of operations. While good patient outcomes have always been the primary goal, leadership now spends more time than they have in the past thinking about the experience patients have from the moment they enter the system.
With proper use of personalization, we are also able to better accommodate the needs of demographics that have historically faced mistreatment in the world of healthcare. Dr. Kenneth Campbell, Program Director of Tulane University’s online Master of Health Administration says “I learned that we have much to do in this area as we have seen the devastating impact of COVID-19 in poor and minority communities. From maternal health to vaccinations, people of color experience worse health outcomes than others, and we need to engage these communities in solutions to address inequity.”
Healthcare information is now primarily digital. Broadly speaking, this has been a good thing. Records can be transferred in a blink. Patients can access their healthcare information with a few clicks of a button. But while convenient, digital record keeping is also uniquely vulnerable.
Security breaches are common in all industries that rely heavily on digitalization. In healthcare, they can be particularly nefarious. Hackers can get into an entire system with something as simple as a phishing email. Once in, they can remain undetected for years, doing untold damage in the process.
Healthcare leadership must put cybersecurity at the forefront. While any developed hospital system will have some degree of cybersecurity infrastructure in place, focusing on maintaining it is key. This means establishing a security-centric culture that extends from the top down. It also means regular updates, and possibly a designated staff that works on keeping systems secure.
Finally, modern hospital leadership should have a good grasp of digitalization. On the administrative end, this means securing a tech stack that automates processes and simplifies things for employees. On the patient care end, it will mean providing options.
Many people expect to be able to access records, set appointments, and ask simple questions online, usually from their phones. Healthcare systems that cannot provide these functions will frustrate modern patients.
As Professor Craig Laser of Arizona State University puts it, “NPs, PAs, physicians – have also realized that they can leverage technology for routine care. Telehealth is not designed to replace providers, it enhances the care delivery process to allow providers to help make decisions on patient care. Do they need a specialist, prescription, or referral for diagnostics? Certainly better than no care.”
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that technology for technology’s sake can do more harm than good. True digitalization from healthcare leadership should focus on utility. Does this technology make things simpler for patients or hospital staff? Will it isolate people who are not tech-savvy?
Balance is key. A good tech will simplify life for everyone it touches.