Healthcare customers can’t wait any longer for Connected Care, which means healthcare providers need to step up, now. We take a look at the why and how.
Since the turn of the millennium, we’ve all become increasingly more connected. Connected to one another, through social media. Connected to our work, through remote workspace software. Connected to our finances, through real-time banking apps. Connected to the world, through easier communication, navigation and travel possibilities. ‘Get Connected’ has in fact become the mantra of our age.
Yet in the middle of all these innovation and accelerations, the experience (for most people) of their healthcare is not one of being joined up and ‘connected’ in anything like the same way. It feels slow. It doesn’t have the same visibility and assurance; it feels, for many, not in their control.
‘Connected Care’ seems like nothing so much as the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place for us to become a truly digital, smart society. There may be good reasons why it’s the last such piece. The technology needs to be mature, proven. Considerations around customer safety and privacy are critical, not optional. Without labouring the point, healthcare can be a matter of life and death – unlike, say, connected retail.
Enabling joined-up ‘connected care’
‘Digital health’ today needs to be joined up – from patients to clinics, hospitals to pharmacies, nursing homes to caregivers. The reasons are many and various (and could fill three blogs…) but are not, if you’ll excuse the expression, rocket science. Connected Care means efficiency, accuracy and speed for those dispensing healthcare and its related services and products. For those receiving healthcare it means more than just a better customer experience; it means peace of mind, and a better quality of life.
(And as I write this the world is in the throes of a global pandemic; the benefits to research laboratories and to governments of being able to access forms of mass big data through better connected care cannot be over-estimated.)
One result of this efficiency and accuracy is cost-savings. Whether these are consumed by the healthcare provider or passed back directly on to the patient (for example, potentially, in lower healthcare insurance premiums), reducing waste and having greater visibility into where high cost centres still reside is to be welcomed.
With this imperative agreed (in other words, why we should get connected), the question turns quickly to how. IT teams are increasingly responsible for delivering successful outcomes, from the OR to the ER and from rural clinics to virtual consultations. Technology partners are helping connect care in places and ways never before thought possible—all while keeping costs down and protected health information safe.
Healthcare organisations need to be empowered to rapidly scale up and down their resources according to operational demand, quickly and without a high cost of change; a wide spectrum of finite resources, including people and technology, can be aligned to shifting priorities on a daily basis.
Above all it’s about having the platforms and tools to help guide clinical IT leaders and their teams to deliver a better and more cohesive digital experience for their employees, whether it’s access to apps from any location, enabling various levels of security depending on the individual, or having the freedom to work from their own device.
Many are choosing to embrace a hybrid solution based on a software-defined data centre, which marries both cloud and on-premise to allow patients and clinicians access to data in a secure environment. VMware has helped the likes of St John’s Health to be able to spend more time with patients and less time dealing with technology to deliver care.
Putting ‘Prevention’ centre-stage
In a high-profile speech in February of this year, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed the need to be focussed on what I paraphrase as “Healthcare rather than sick-care”. In other words, prevention is better than treatment. Connected Care reaches far beyond the moments of receiving ‘care’ – it’s about our health and happiness; the big picture.
It’s imperative for technology providers to be supporting the “digital health” agenda – the cultural transformation of how disruptive technologies that provide digital and objective data accessible to both caregivers and patients leads to an equal-level doctor-patient relationship and the democratization of care.
The point-of-care has been shifting from facilities to wherever the patient is. When patients become the point-of-care, diagnostics and treatments can be offered from a distance; patients can be involved in their care to release the burden on medical professionals. Care can be personalized, accessible, affordable and preventive.
Through virtualizing infrastructure and deploying digital workspace solutions, hospitals can overcome challenges and future proof technology – making it safer, easier and faster for clinicians and staff to deliver outstanding patient care wherever and whenever needed. VMware partners with leading healthcare organizations to reduce IT complexity while ensuring the delivery of real-time, connected healthcare that transforms the cost, quality, and delivery of patient care.
Having the right technology enables other improvements and innovations to fall into place. What does this look like? An example might be helping healthcare teams create a more empathetic atmosphere for patients. This includes both cutting-edge innovations and rethinking the ‘basics’ through automating certain processes and systems, such as paperless patient administration and app-based patient-doctor interaction.
Healthcare is a fundamental right. Patients and staff deserve nothing less than the best technology.
Technology has the power to connect patient, doctor and community like never before, integrating healthcare into our daily lives; from our pre-natal care to our twilight years. The goal is to effect a change in mind-set so “patient-centric design” gets baked-in to workflows and systems.
And given all that happens to be happening in the world right now, the sector needs to have a keen eye on future-proofing. A technology partner like VMware is the right investment for that future, whatever new healthcare challenges tomorrow may hold.
If you’d like to discuss any of the ideas raised in this blog or explore what Connected Care might look like for you, you can contact us here.