With the healthcare sector experiencing a paradigm shift and empowered consumers seeking increasing transparency, healthcare providers adapt to newer forms of high outcome-driven services. According to the ‘Think with Google - Digital Journey to Wellness’ survey, 77% of patients use search engines to look for doctors and book appointments and 44% of patients, who research hospitals on a mobile device, schedule an appointment.
In the past couple of years, digital platforms such as Practo, WelcomeCure, Lybrate, Portea and MeraDoctor have gained immense popularity. These digital platforms have been launched with the promise of delivering efficient healthcare services to patients while enabling doctors to manage their practice workload.
The adoption of these new-age technologies has given a boost to medical practice through revenue generation and patient retention, proving to be a revolution in healthcare services.
Uses and benefits of digital platforms
1) E-prescriptions: The risk of misinterpretation and damage is minimised by e-prescriptions, which are quick and eliminate the errors caused by illegible writing. Easy access to a patient’s medical history and current records are helpful when changing prescriptions.
2) Scheduling appointments: Appointments are easier to schedule and generate using digital apps. Dates, hours and time-frames are easier to monitor, revise and switch for necessary customisation. The automatic notification for appointments, follow-ups and other changes keeps patients informed, reducing the number of no-shows.
3) Consultation and communication: Mobile devices serve as a means of improved communication using messaging, e-mails, and telephonic conversations. Digital platforms enable online consulting and discussions, helping long-distance patients gain quicker access to medical help.
4) Enhanced productivity: The use of digital platforms has shown a significant increase in the average rate of electronic prescriptions from 52% to 64%. At the same time, the productivity of pharmacists has also increased as access to important drug information has improved. As a result, the processing rate of prescriptions has increased, and documentation has become more thorough. Maintaining patient records electronically is becoming a popular practice because it is simpler.
5) Increased Efficiency: Physicians who have adapted to digital platforms have reported enhanced work efficiencies such as fewer errors, more complete records, quicker access to records and improved workflow. Lesser time spent accessing, retrieving and recording patient data frees up more time for direct patient care.
6) Information and Better Time-Management: Digital platforms enable users to make or dictate notes, record audio, store pictures, and organise material in a searchable electronic database. Cloud-based information storage enables users to store, access and share information conveniently. Medical solutions service providers also offer various medical calculators.
7) Improved Accuracy and Better Clinical Decision-Making: Users have reported accurate diagnostic coding, more frequent documentation of side effects and reduced errors with improved medication safety. The inclusion of specific intervention rules reduces the prescription error rate. Digital apps have been shown to increase the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment decisions.
8) Convenience: Digital platforms ensure portability, rapid access to information and flexible communication. Updates regarding new books, guidelines, reviews, and medical literature are made easily available, making hard copies unnecessary.
9) Patient management: Virtual patient monitoring is gaining popularity. Old, disabled, chronically-ill patients find it easier to access medical help with this technology. Better patient management and patient retention ensure better success for the practitioner.
10) Reference and Information Gathering: Digital platforms facilitate literature search drug references using applications for indications, dosages, pharmacology, interactions, contraindications, new acquisition and important medical news.
Digital transformation is essential to enhance medical practice. Software applications are becoming irreplaceable tools for healthcare providers. This value-add significantly accelerates the workflow as well as patient retention.
One of the many challenges doctors face is retaining patients due to competition. Adopting newer, more efficient and user-friendly technology is the key to successful practice. Business loans for doctors give medical practitioners the funds needed for this and help them take their practice to new levels.
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