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The New Healthcare In 2021

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Jessica Shaw

With the many lessons learned over the course of this past year, 2021 presents us with its fair share of both residual challenges and promising opportunities. As advancing technology continues to push through communication barriers and fundamentally revive the healthcare industry, software companies, like Raintree, are expanding their capabilities beyond just practice management. Here are three healthcare trends that we predict will continuously drive patient behavior patterns as well as affect how providers embrace the new “normal”.

Heightened Patient Experiences and Satisfaction 

While engagement has become the sole focus for providers and patients alike, 2020 has taught us that not all valuable communication comes from face to face interactions but that technologies like telehealth offer us an alternative method of not only delivering care but also connecting with one another. In fact, with a projected spike in virtual visits by the end of this year, telehealth has probably been one of the best products of 2020 and will continue to make an impact on how providers engage with their patients going forward. 

In addition to telehealth, the adoption of patient portals, self check-in kiosks and QR codes have greatly reduced the risks of exposure as well as increased scheduling flexibility and clinical availability. Remote patient monitoring or RPM has also paved the way for organizational resilience in the sense of optimizing team based care as well as stabilizing patient outcomes with safer alternatives to in person visits. Read more about RPM and the intuitive benefits of virtual care technology. 

The patient revenue cycle has also evolved to accommodate the progressive wants and needs of a new generation of patients. Did you know that 28% of millennials are more likely to switch providers for a better payment experience and that 86% of patients prefer to make their payments all in one place? That’s why electronic statements or E-Statements have become not just popular but preferred by patients who want more flexible functionality and financial transparency. Click here to learn more about innovative RCM trends and how to make your billing processes more engaging as well as more efficient

Intuitive Reporting and Immersive Analytics

As COVID continues to disrupt our sense of normalcy, healthcare providers are becoming experts at adapting to unprecedented challenges such as losing business, not earning enough revenue or even facing too much demand due to an influx of patients. With the assurance of reliable technology, high level automation has allowed businesses to pursue both operational and financial continuity by facilitating on demand engagement campaigns, streamlining workflows through the use of productivity metrics as well as leveraging efficiency tools that simplify a majority of business processes -- all of which are becoming automatic and seamless.

With the proper analytic reporting features, it's easy to empower businesses to not only inspect data but to interact with it by utilizing important information to develop tactical plans, make informed decisions and gain a 360° view into how your business operates daily. So much so, that to say “data is power” would be an understatement, considering business intelligence has proven extremely helpful for providers now and during the initial spread of COVID back in March of 2020, when patients began to panic, care facilities were overwhelmed and businesses were unprepared to overcome crippling, restrictive legal mandates. That’s why successfully compiling, tracking as well as monitoring statistical trends, KPIs and financial insights is what has led the healthcare industry to effectively improve clinical performance by measuring intake metrics like lengths of stay, drop out rates and visit cancellations. 

Healthcare Reform and Awareness

In the year of worldwide awareness for healthcare heroes, 2020 was also packed with social and political activism. Especially in the therapy industry, we saw a rising movement from organizations such as APTQI, APTA and others against cuts to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that would negatively affect physical, occupational and speech therapists. As #FighttheCut began circulating, it was made clear that the collective voices of supporters would not go unheard, so we suspect and sincerely hope that changes will continue to be made in light of encouraging positive CMS reform.

Additionally, stigmas surrounding behavioral and mental health have finally begun to dissipate as more people are recognizing the serious effects of anxiety and depression due to staying home for extended periods of time. In fact, digital apps like Better Help, MindShift, IMood Journal and Talkspace are becoming increasingly prominent for patients who are seeking an online counseling alternative to in person psychiatric care. However, as quarantining continues, it's important that we all keep having conversations about the importance of total body wellness and that we don’t lose focus on advocating for mental health awareness in 2021.