As practitioners are now offering care virtually more than ever before, choosing the right healthcare technology that fits into their workflows is critical in helping to manage their practices and provide seamless online services for their patients.
According to a Mckinsey study, the number of U.S. consumers using telehealth has risen from 11% in 2019 to 46% in 2020. More practitioners are offering telehealth services to patients as an alternative to in-person visits. Many healthcare providers have responded and scaled their offerings, seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before. (4) Though telehealth is just one aspect of virtual care, this statistic is a testament to the rising popularity of virtual care in the healthcare industry.
Healthcare technology can help practitioners manage their practice more effectively, save time, optimize workflow, and improve the delivery of patient care by integrating the right technologies. We’ve curated a list of powerful solutions to help practitioners choose the right tools for running an effective practice. Continue reading to learn more about the top emerging technology in healthcare and how to integrate them into your practice.
Did you know? According to the Telehealth Index 2019 Physician Survey, 22% of healthcare providers use telehealth to see patients, which is a 340% increase from 2015 when only 5% of physicians reported having ever used telehealth. (2)
How integrating the right healthcare technology can benefit your practice
Technological integrations can be a great way to connect healthcare systems and automatically collect and share health data. Not only that, but technologies that support patient care can provide a variety of benefits such as improving patient outcomes (e.g., health and safety) and increasing access to care for patients. (1)(7)
Top emerging technology in healthcare for your virtual practice
Here are some of the top recommended healthcare technology integrations to consider for your virtual practice or clinic.
1. EHR integrations
Electronic health records (EHR) are real-time, patient-centered medical records that allow practitioners to exchange health information electronically. EHRs allow practitioners to easily organize and access patient information to support better patient care. (11)
EHRs abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) data protection standards and can safely store important patient information such as:
- Administrative and billing data
- Immunization dates
- Lab and test results
- Medical histories
- Patient demographics
- Progress notes
- Radiology images
- Vital signs (11)
EHRs support more efficient medical practices, helping practitioners to save time and optimize their workflow. Some EHRs can even create complete workspaces for dispensing, charting, billing, and more. According to a recent survey released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, more than 83% of healthcare professionals in the United States have reported that using an EHR has helped them manage prescription order entries, patient medical records, clinical notes, medications, problem lists, and lab results. (17)
Take athenahealth for example. This EHR is built to manage an entire practice or clinic. By offering a complete tech stack to manage medical records, revenue cycles, patient engagement, and care coordination, practitioners can automate their workflow and bypass redundant tasks saving up to four hours per week on documentation alone. With a cloud-based system and full integration across mobile devices, practitioners can provide healthcare on demand with the most innovative tools currently available. Integrate your Fullscript account with the athenahealth EHR and join 140,000 providers to access the largest connected network in healthcare.
Learn more about the athenahealth and Fullscript integration by clicking here.
2. Virtual supplement dispensaries
Today, approximately 50% of the U.S. population has a chronic disease, and 86% of healthcare costs are attributed to chronic disease. (13) In response to this, there has been a growing consumer interest in the importance of diet, nutrition, and lifestyle for overall health and wellness. (5) As practitioners of all kinds adopt integrative practice models, they’re also relying more on nutrition and prevention-based protocols, (19) which is bolstering the acceptance and usage of supplements. These changes are creating opportunities to improve patient care and practice revenue for many practitioners.
Did you know? According to data from Nutrition Business Journal, the supplement industry is expected to grow by $1.8 billion each year. (6)
Integrating a virtual supplement dispensary into your practice may be an essential component of your telehealth and virtual care toolkit. With virtual dispensing, practitioners can ensure patients receive high-quality supplements without managing an in-office inventory. This is especially important for virtual practices with minimal in-person touchpoints. Many virtual dispensing platforms, like Fullscript, also offer features to boost patient adherence and help patients stay on top of their wellness goals.
When choosing a virtual dispensary, practitioners should consider looking for an option that is HIPAA-compliant and secure for both the patient and the practitioner.
Did you know? Fullscript is the only online supplement dispensing solution to offer the flexibility of virtual dispensing and wholesale ordering for in-office sales—all on one platform.
- Save time and money: Online supplement dispensaries allow practitioners to simplify their dispensing needs to spend more time and energy on patient care and less money on stocking shelves.
- Maximize efficiencies: Leading virtual dispensaries integrate seamlessly into your practice’s workflow and even EHR platforms.
- Improve patient adherence: Improved patient communication and refill reminders lead to greater patient satisfaction and better health outcomes. (3)(15)
- Provide a means to effectively compete with other retail channels: Online retailers offer convenience, but most do not vet products for quality and efficacy. Reputable online dispensaries make sure to only offer trusted, quality brands.
- Boost revenue: Instead of sending patients to a local retailer or pharmacy, practitioners can add supplements to their revenue stream while gaining visibility into their patients’ purchases.
“Fullscript allows me to have a dispensary of my own without the risk and the hassle of managing inventory. Freeing up the time I would have spent managing a dispensary allows me to devote more time to marketing and growing my practice.” – Dr. Andrea Hilborn, ND
3. Virtual lab results
Keeping track of lab results and sharing them directly with your patients can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. According to a survey, nearly 20% of patients report that in the past year, a health professional has requested their lab results, but they didn’t have them available. (18)
With technology for virtual lab results that can seamlessly integrate with many EHRs, practitioners can be alerted to results as soon as they’re available and share patient results with ease.
Most solutions offer practitioners lab results from:
- Imaging information systems
- Radiology labs
Here are some common integrations for virtual lab results among practitioners:
4. Automated clinical notes
Most practitioners would agree that they spend far too much time taking notes, often leading to distraction from higher-value work, decreased face-to-face time with patients, and even burnout. (14) With automated clinical notes, practitioners can streamline redundant administrative tasks, freeing up valuable time to spend with patients.
Did you know? Practitioners spend around 35% of their time documenting patient data. (14)
Automated clinical note technologies provide artificial intelligence-based medical scribe solutions that automatically summarize conversations between practitioners and patients. Some even auto-populate those notes directly into the fields of an EHR.
Here are some integrations for automated clinical notes available to practitioners:
5. Centrally stored medical imaging
2020 data gathered by Ambra Health stated that healthcare facilities spent over 84 days per year on CD uploading, burning, and patient data matching associated with medical imaging. (21) By storing medical imaging and data on one central database, files can be accessible to anyone, from anywhere, on any device in real-time. Practitioners can stay organized with streamlined access to patient imaging all in one place.
Here are some integrations for medical imaging that are available to practitioners:
6. Remote patient monitoring
Remote patient monitoring has become prevalent in the healthcare industry, even more so with the current global health crisis which has posed a barrier for face-to-face patient interactions. It’s estimated that 70.6 million U.S. patients will be using some kind of medical device remotely to monitor their health by 2025. (8) Remote patient monitoring allows healthcare providers to monitor patients outside of traditional healthcare facilities.
Remote patient monitoring offers many benefits including:
- Better patient outcomes
- Faster response time
- Significant cost reductions
- Reduced need for patient travel (16)(22)
Common medical devices practitioners use to remotely monitor, report, and analyze patients include:
- Blood pressure monitors
- Pulse oximeters
- Wearable technology (activity trackers and continuous monitoring)
- Scales (12)
7. Patient engagement and adherence tools
Patient engagement describes the involvement of patients, families, and caregivers in one’s care to promote informed decision-making and behaviors for the purpose of supporting improved health outcomes. (20) Maintaining an open line of communication with patients is essential to upholding and increasing patient engagement and boosting treatment adherence. (15)
Through the use of technological integrations, practitioners and patients can communicate remotely providing more flexibility for both parties. When practitioners maintain an established channel of communication with their patients, it fosters greater trust in the practitioner/patient relationship, ultimately increasing patient satisfaction. (10)
Fostering trusting relationships with patients can be tough, especially with less face-to-face interactions. Luckily, there are tools out there for practitioners to integrate into their practice to offer a host of patient engagement services, including:
- Appointment reminders
- Booking notifications
- Care plan reminders
- Electronic faxes
- Electronic forms
- HIPAA-compliant telehealth
- Internal messages
- Patient queue displays
- Patient reminders
- Patient texting
- Survey tools for clinics
Did you know? According to an American Journal of Managed Care survey, 62.6% of patients and 59% of clinicians say there is no difference between virtual/telehealth and physical visits as far as the overall quality of the visit is concerned. (9)
Here are some integrations for patient engagement used among practitioners:
The bottom line
Choosing the right healthcare technologies to build your ultimate workflow takes time, but the benefits to your patients and practice make it worth the effort. With the right suite of products, healthcare providers can increase access to care, attract and retain patients, improve patient outcomes, streamline their workflow, and even improve work-life balance for themselves. If you use any integrations in your practice, tell us in the comments!
You can find more great integrations for your virtual practice on the athenahealth Marketplace!
- Alotaibi, Y. K., & Federico, F. (2017). The impact of health information technology on patient safety. Saudi medical journal, 38(12), 1173–1180.
- American Well. (2019). Telehealth Index: 2019 Physician Survey. Retrieved from https://static.americanwell.com/app/uploads/2019/04/American-Well-Telehealth-Index-2019-Physician-Survey.pdf
- Bailey, R., English, J., Knee, C., & Keller, A. (2021). Treatment Adherence in Integrative Medicine-Part One: Review of Literature. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 20(3), 48–60.
- Bestsennyy, O., Gilbert, G., Harris, A., & Rost, J. (2020, May 29). Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality? Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/telehealth-a-quarter-trillion-dollar-post-covid-19-reality#
- Callaghan, S., Lösch, M., Pione, A., & Teichner, W. (2022, January 27). Feeling good: The future of the $1.5 trillion wellness market. McKinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/feeling-good-the-future-of-the-1-5-trillion-wellness-market
- Council for Responsible Nutrition. (2020). NBJ projects supplement industry to grow $1.8B each year. https://www.crnusa.org/CRN-Daily-Supplement/090821
- Cowie, M. R., Blomster, J. I., Curtis, L. H., Duclaux, S., Ford, I., Fritz, F., Goldman, S., Janmohamed, S., Kreuzer, J., Leenay, M., Michel, A., Ong, S., Pell, J. P., Southworth, M. R., Stough, W. G., Thoenes, M., Zannad, F., & Zalewski, A. (2017). Electronic health records to facilitate clinical research. Clinical research in cardiology: Official journal of the German Cardiac Society, 106(1), 1–9.
- Dolan, S. (2022, March 16). Remote Patient Monitoring Trends & Health Devices in 2022. Insider Intelligence. https://www.insiderintelligence.com/insights/remote-patient-monitoring-industry-explained/
- Donelan, K., Barreto, E., Sossong, S., Michael, C., Estrada, J. J., Cohen, A. B., Wozniak, J., & Schwamm, L. H. (2019, January 14). Patient and Clinician Experiences With Telehealth for Patient Follow-up Care. Retrieved from https://www.ajmc.com/view/patient-and-clinician-experiences-with-telehealth-for-patient-followup-care
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- HealthIT. (n.d.). Electronic health records: The basics. https://www.healthit.gov/faq/what-information-does-electronic-health-record-ehr-contain
- Hilty, D. M., Armstrong, C. M., Edwards-Stewart, A., Gentry, M. T., Luxton, D. D., & Krupinski, E. A. (2021). Sensor, Wearable, and Remote Patient Monitoring Competencies for Clinical Care and Training: Scoping Review. Journal of technology in behavioral science, 6(2), 252–277.
- Holman H. R. (2020). The Relation of the Chronic Disease Epidemic to the Health Care Crisis. ACR open rheumatology, 2(3), 167–173.
- Joukes, E., Abu-Hanna, A., Cornet, R., & de Keizer, N. F. (2018). Time Spent on Dedicated Patient Care and Documentation Tasks Before and After the Introduction of a Structured and Standardized Electronic Health Record. Applied clinical informatics, 9(1), 46–53.
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- Mantena, S., & Keshavjee, S. (2021). Strengthening healthcare delivery with remote patient monitoring in the time of COVID-19. BMJ health & care informatics, 28(1), e100302.
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- Quest Diagnostics. (2019). More Adults Know Their Multidigit Wi-Fi Password Than Vital Health Information, Including Their Single-Letter Blood Type. https://newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/2019-01-14-More-Adults-Know-Their-Multidigit-Wi-Fi-Password-Than-Vital-Health-Information-Including-Their-Single-Letter-Blood-Type?rel=0
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