Winter season magnifies challenges that healthcare businesses experience during the rest of the year. During this season there is unprecedented demand for both primary and secondary healthcare services. With slippery surfaces, we see more falls, road accidents and winter sports injuries so efficient access to healthcare services becomes paramount.
Activity is not driven by musculoskeletal injuries alone, coughs and colds, winter viruses and even mental health conditions, all see greater prevalence. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other mental health problems such as depressive symptoms are often exacerbated through shorter days and extended isolation. All of this additional activity puts strain on healthcare services.
However, there are steps that you can take to prepare your healthcare business to better cope with patient demands. Utilise technology to deliver intuitive patient encounters, and use data to direct patients to the appropriate service at the appropriate time. Make data your friend and use it to derive actionable insights. It’s not just patients who get sick during winter, staff sickness can present huge challenges too. Harness data to retrospectively analyse sickness absence and plan staffing levels or re-organise your rota. Use sickness impact data to encourage your patients to take part in immunisation programmes.
We believe that there are certain industry-specific technology solutions that will get your practice ready for the winter season. Here are three technology-powered capabilities that will assist you in meeting rising patient demand:
Whether you are a GP, counsellor or physiotherapist, you can benefit from offering remote care to your patients.
Telehealth is a great add-on to your services and implementation is simple. Telehealth brings financial benefits such as reducing your admin costs and other general expenses such as the need for front-desk staff and the amount of space for medical examinations. It provides value to your healthcare professionals too; it enables them to work remotely from another location leading to more outsourced and flexible staff as a result.
You can deliver teleconsultations to avoid busy waiting rooms during the infection season. Offering your services remotely also saves patients time and makes your care accessible and convenient to more people. This means that patients are less likely to skip or delay appointments and ignore symptoms which could have significant health effects and lead to serious conditions if untreated. Additionally, it can also help you expand your patient base.
MyPulse can help you provide video consultations to your patients quickly and securely. Contact us now!
Care signposting and navigation
With the help of questionnaires or symptom checkers, based on clinically validated algorithms, you can triage your patients and direct them to the best course of action for their condition. An accurate triage will help accelerate the time-to-care for patients needing urgent treatment.
Support the triage process with photographs and documents such as blood pressure readings and add these to your patients’ health records seamlessly. This has the potential to speed up referrals especially in dermatology. Comprehensive triage can benefit patients during a season where access to services is even more challenging.
Care navigation is specifically important in healthcare businesses with multiple tiers of professionals. By directing the patient to the right specialist at the right time, it aids in the efficient use of resources. A patient could be referred to a community pharmacist or a nurse practitioner rather than a GP. A well-designed triage capability might be advantageous when you need to refer a patient to a specialist other than a doctor – consider the number of times a direct to physio referral could have avoided pressed trauma or orthopaedics services.
MyPulse can help you triage and route patients to the next best action. Contact us now!
Promote your expertise by digitally serving content to support patients and help them self-manage minor ailments.
A content library can contain general advice and information in the form of videos or blogs, which can be accessed by patients at their convenience through an app or a patient portal. You could use the content library to further educate patients about their symptoms and the levels of urgency with which they need to seek additional help.
Information can be provided based on the specific symptoms and help patients understand if they need to be seen within an hour, 4 hours, 24 hours or a week. This improves patient engagement in the healthcare process and aids the evaluation of the patient’s condition when a review is due. For example if a patient is taking antibiotics or doing an exercise to alleviate back pain and is not feeling any better, your content library could provide them with information that tells patients when is it appropriate to seek further medical help if their condition has not improved.
You can expand your services by developing a mood diary and progress trackers for your patients that can sit as a resource in your content library.
MyPulse can help you curate, produce and publish health and wellbeing content. Contact us now!