Omni-channeling in Healthcare
Healthcare is one of the oldest industries where traditional, well established rigid processes, and workflows have been dominating for generations. Rapid advancements in technologies and changes in the Healthcare landscape are disrupting these traditional processes, and expanding the range of channels for care delivery.
Unlike many other industries, Healthcare deals directly with human life and conditions. Practicing professionals are among the most highly trained, driven, and conscientious individuals in our society. Even though the proverb, “to err is human” may be correct, medical errors are a major public health concern leading to excessive oversight, regulation, and simply put - a conservative attitude towards change. The rest of the proverb, “to forgive is divine” does not apply in a litigious society.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, it brought forth unexpected situations that needed immediate solutions. Providers’ ability to deliver care via traditional channels has been severely affected, calling for – among other measures – an Omni-channeled approach to patient care. Much like in retail commerce where the digital transformation has unified the consumer’s shopping experience across online and physical stores, the healthcare industry is forced to expand and break boundaries between different forms of care delivery.
Here are some recent examples of this Omni-channeled approach to healthcare:
- Conventional office visits are being augmented by telemedicine. The Cleveland Clinic has reported an increase in virtual visits from 3,000 pre-pandemic to approximately 60,000 a month. The Mayo Clinic has moved from roughly 400 virtual visits a week to approximately 35,000.
- Physician assistants, nurses, home aids and family members are stepping up care to compensate for the limited availability of physicians.
- Direct-to-consumer (non-prescription) testing and rapid in-home tests availability are complimenting physician-ordered lab testing. The FDA approved the first direct-to-consumer test kit for LabCorp on December 9, 2020. Subsequently, hundreds of labs in the US have offered similar kits and are processing them.
- Secure e-mail, text, and real-time messaging continue to expand patient communications with care providers, and between care providers themselves.
- The easing of regulations combined with the evolution of interoperability standards and the emergence of Health exchanges and care networks are facilitating the secure portability of patient records across different institutions and healthcare settings.
I’ll reiterate that “Omni-channeling” in healthcare means that all the forms and channels of care are progressively unified, and at the same time fed into a single or aggregated patient medical record, thereby enforcing continuity of care. This is the goal we should all be striving towards.
Our mission at First Line Software is to work proactively and collaboratively with our customers, leading Academic Medical Centers, commercial vendors, and research organizations on initiatives that enhance and expand different forms of care delivery. Among our most recent initiatives are aggregated lab-testing-infrastructure connecting employers, health institutions, innovative labs, and consumers in an effort to speed up and streamline testing for COVID-19 and beyond.
We’ve developed EPass – a platform that combines screening, testing, and vaccination management into a single easy-to-use ecosystem. EPass is used by restaurant chains, hospitals, casinos, long-term care facilities, and many other organizations to screen and protect thousands of individuals. We are working on numerous projects within our Healthcare practice - from research applications that improve patient and provider communications to disease management mobile apps, to hospital disaster response and resource management systems.