An article about the digital revolution in healthcare, co-written by Ascension's Chris Young, Vice President, New Virtual Market Development and Incubations, was recently featured in Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.
Chris and co-author Kenneth Kaufman, chair of Kaufman, Hall & Associates LLC, note that Americans are using digital interactions in healthcare as in other areas of their lives. They highlight three forces behind digital healthcare:
- Necessity of convenience – Americans work more hours than people in other countries, and a significant number of adults care for other family members. With these time constraints, consumers need and require digital communication, from interacting with clinical staff to online scheduling.
- Quality of experience – As Americans become more familiar with and accepting of digital interactions in their lives, their satisfaction level with those interactions has increased. Many people find the same satisfaction in healthcare interactions, such as using apps for appointment scheduling, bill payment and viewing health data. The number of Americans who report an interest in virtual care and health information sharing through digital means continues to grow.
- Supply creating demand – "Supply of new tools often creates demand that did not exist before," they write. This is definitely the case in healthcare, where digital services help improve patient experience, they say. The tools also help improve the efficiency of traditional operations.
Chris and Kenneth note that digital healthcare "is simply the way that consumers interact with the world and the way consumers expect to access their healthcare." As such, healthcare systems will need to review how such digital interactions will improve and affect quality, price, access, experience and breadth of service.