The Traditional MD Office Visit is Changing – Three Emerging Technology Trends to Watch
In the past ten years, technology has changed the entire healthcare experience for patients and doctors. Electronic medical records information can be shared more easily among providers and patient engagement has improved with the use of patient portals. Is technology changing the traditional delivery of medicine? The answer is YES! and here are three trends to begin considering:
- Incorporating Wearable Technology
Wearable devices are measuring a variety of data including heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, sleep patterns and activity levels. Technological breakthroughs continue to push the boundaries. For example, wearable medical devices can now be skin-attachable devices, or sensors can be embedded into the environment, such as chairs, car seats and mattresses.
Wearable medical devices will continue to be a large and diversified market in which medical device manufacturers and big tech companies will influence. Companies such as Google, Fitbit, Apple, and Nike are working toward launching new innovative products, which are anticipated to boost the wearable medical devices market growth over the next decade. Having the ability to import this health data into the electronic medical record provides physicians with real-time patient information. In a recent survey, most patients using medical trackers wanted to share and discuss this information with their physicians.
- New Players are Disrupting the Traditional Office Experience
Patients agree that availability of appointment times, long waiting room times and not enough time spent with the doctor are the top reasons they don’t like visiting the doctor. These are all contributing reasons for loss of the patient practice base. Some large employers are now choosing to implement an onsite clinic model into their benefit strategy. This provides employees unlimited access to care, including primary care and health coaching, at little to no cost. Because they get the care they need, when they need it, the use of costly urgent care and emergency room services decline. This model has shown to significantly reduce insurance costs for employers and employees.
A chain of doctor’s offices touted as the “doctor’s office of the future” are opening in 2020 with eight locations across the U.S. For a fee of $149 per month, members have unlimited access to physicians specializing in preventative care. The visits are very interactive and typically last one hour. Members check themselves in on tablets and use touchscreen monitors for collaborative consultations, there are on-site blood draws with results promised in minutes and a high-tech body scanner. This generates a variety of biometric data which is AI driven and can be accessed by members through an app on their phone.
- More Tele-Medicine Visits
Experts predict that within the next 5-10 years that 25% of physician visits will be conducted through tele-medicine. Research has shown that virtual visits were more convenient for many patients, and their quality of care wasn’t compromised. In a recent survey, 81% of patients would choose a doctor who offers telemedicine over one who doesn’t.
Physicians reviewing their office schedules would most likely agree that 10-20% of current visits could be done via tele-medicine. Medical collaboration encompasses more than video, it’s about workflow. It’s necessary to gather data prior to the visit so the physician can review and follow-up with texting, phone calls, and email. Using a product that integrates with the EMR facilitates this workflow. Tele-medicine has shown to significantly reduce emergency room and urgent care utilization. Some insurers are now offering virtual visits with nurses to help patients determine the best care delivery options to reduce plan costs.
Patients will continue to embrace new technology and seek out physicians who are using it. Adopting emerging technologies will position physicians to build their practices and avoid becoming obsolete. What technology trends are important to you when choosing a doctor?
Contributed by: Amy Noel