The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic changed the view of the world as we know it today. It was health, one of the most challenging sectors, therefore set a test to systems at a global level. The pandemic also made clear that a health crisis can affect businesses and world economies to an unimaginable scale.
As a crisis, Covid-19 left a large lesson too. Among many other things placed on the table was the urgency for the health sector to count on the offer of innovative digital solutions that improve the patient experience and care, and take advantage of data to save lives,” explained Angie Jiménez, VP of Extendo.
“With the pandemic, opportunities for the health sector to work closely with data and technology to better support marketing and to improve the attendance and service of the users surged. The actions taken will be decisive and the implementation of care processes will allow lives to be saved by being able to count on data at the right time,” she added.
Covid-19 is a mine of data for the health sector. Why?
Everyone is in agreement that COVID-19 marked a before and after in world history. Everything was affected regardless of age, country or industry; however, the impact on the health sector has been radical. The health systems have been put to the test at a global level. Noone was prepared to face a public health emergency of this scale. It has been evidenced that some industry practices were not the best, consequently there are lessons and experiences from which to learn and improve. The lack of knowledge of how health factors affect businesses made industry even more vulnerable.
In addition, on the other side of the coin, the positive side (and perhaps the only one) was the rise in investments into the sector to substantially improve patient care and attention. Governments and organizations will have this element as a pillar of its most critical activities. Healthcare will adopt concepts which are relatively new for the sector but which are common in other sectors; digitization of certain medical processes, telemedicine, remote care and other types of digital medical care solutions. Therefore as COVID impacted eCommerce, it is very probable that we will see a seismic wave of innovative digital solutions to improve patient care in the near future.
We will not return to a new normal, we will try to build and shape this new reality where the health sector works more with data and technology and better supports marketing to improve attendance and service to patients. The actions taken will be decisive and the implementation of care processes will have the capacity to save lives thanks to having the data at the right time.
Which data can be used in health businesses?
Today hospitals and doctors have a different role, today they have access to good practices at data level, marketing level and the level of technology. Everyone at any moment can listen to the quantity of the day’s cases, the rate of infection, among others. They start to appear as specialists in the means of communication, not only in the health sector but also in statistics by explaining certain graphic data representations compiled to try to create awareness in the population.
Everyone was in contact with their closest public or private health center to take a COVID test or to be vaccinated. We used QRS codes as evidence of the vaccination scheme, online forms to make requests, websites to consult almost daily data on the advance of the pandemic and what happened to this information afterwards? How can we take advantage of it to provide a better patient experience?
In one of their studies, McKinsey recommends:
- Taking advantage of data and technology through predictive analysis to guide prevention and the clinical resources to the people with the greatest risk of behavioral health problems and unmet basic needs.
- Develop offerings and virtual health training beyond the traditional “tele-emergency” that are more capable of caring for chronic patients.
- Improve the capacity of remote, virtual medical attention to treat home-based patients with chronic or episodic conditions.
How can we take advantage of this data?
Hospitals have been through a radical digital transformation, papel files have been replaced by medical registration in an electronic form. Now, health centers are facing a massive wave of transformation: the digital patient experience. Who doesn’t want an easy and initiative digital experience with their health center like using Netflix, Uber or Google?
Today, a Smart watch counts our steps, our cellphones have health apps, Google has become a doctor. Who hasn’t Googled symptoms to see what illness they have? Who hasn’t Googled an illness after a visit to the doctor? Has Googled their doctor? This confirms that as clients we are consuming content but the health centers are not taking advantage of this enough yet. They have in their hands (hopefully now in their plans) the capacity to introduce digital experiences in ALL the medical care processes. from the acquisition of new patients, the coordination of appointments, the medical process, the billing etc.
The patient experience is not something new for medical centers, it is important to make clear that this experience is not limited to the moment of the medical consultation or the waiting room, the customer journey of this patient is more and more digital, covering websites and applications provided by the hospital and by their medical care providers, informative websites, wellbeing apps, social media sites and more.
How can they prepare to best take advantage of this data? What intersection of information can be made by taking advantage of the data?
The patient experience has to function like a strategic engine that transcends marketing. Those responsible for health centers have to make strategic technological decisions. The pandemic accelerated the focus on digital health in an enormous and irrevocable way; the technology is not simply a functional tool, but a driver of the patient experience and as a result, the financial outcomes.
Healthcare leaders have to look to partner with businesses that can enable capabilities to innovate and meet with the expectations of their patient care if they want to win their loyalty and trust.
Initiate projects which allow you to listen to the patient voice, what and how they want to be attended, to then activate projects which deliver fast wins based on technology that allows the amplification of the initiatives. It is indispensable that these fast wins are aligned with the activities or results that will bring real value for the patients.
Establish a project path that allows you to organize, direct and integrate all the efforts as they are executed and new requirements appear. Apply agile methods in projects with a narrow scope.
Try to enable decision-making based on data and ensure the quality of the data gathering process. The patient experience is becoming more and more digitized, permitting the permanent capture of data that enriches the client’s file and therefore can enable strategic tracking of patients, for example, of high risk.
How much money can be lost in sales by those health companies which do not analyze or take advantage of data?
The digital health market is enormous: different estimations have been realized in the function of technologies that are included in the forecast. Global Market Insights predicts that the market will exceed USD 504 400 millones by 2025. This growth trajectory challenges the sector to find forms to capitalize on the opportunity, to understand the ecosystem, learn to identify and resonate with the correct partners, determine tactics to acquire clients and lastly, to increase income.
What are the principal errors that companies commit with the data that they possess?
There are 3 typical errors:
- They do not use them, the first step is to care about having them but if they are accumulating and not being used, what is their purpose
- They do not have quality data, and generally, they are aware of the problem in the moment that they need it to do any type of analysis.
- They start to gather platforms but they do not look at how to integrate them to unify the data. Each platform functions like an island and afterwards, the job is to build the bridges to activate this data in some way.
What is digital health?
It is a combination of health with technology. The objective is to bring better and more economical health services. By having patient data collected by different tools, diagnosis can be faster, the doctors can intervene earlier, better administer the treatment, reduce the duration of the illness and/or improve the quality of life.
In the following graphic, the principal agents of digital health are outlined, it is important to remember that digital health has a different meaning for each of them.