Five reasons healthcare needs a digital front door

Healthcare needs significant transformation to remain sustainable. Pressures on current inefficient systems and processes negatively impacts our ability to achieve the Quintuple Aim: improved patient experience, provider experience, health outcomes, reduced cost of healthcare and enhanced equity.

Here we take a look at some of the drivers behind why healthcare needs to address these challenges and how a digital front door can help.

  1. Poor patient experience

Just 1 in 3 Canadians report being able to get timely help for an immediate minor health problem. Accessing the health system is often complicated and confusing, and people are frustrated from inefficient systems, long wait times and difficulty finding trustworthy information. People are now expecting more from health care based on our access to digital services in other domains, which are generally far better – consider online banking, real estate and travel, for instance.

Healthcare needs to significantly improve people’s interactions with the health system. Empowering patients to better navigate available services and find the information they need will help to alleviate some of the pressure on the system itself.

  1. Burnout in healthcare workers

Burnout frequently stems from the pressure on clinical teams to ‘do more with less’ while constantly running into obstacles, including technology that is difficult to use and bureaucracy that doesn’t contribute to the care of patients. It also comes from ethical or moral distress related to the realisation that many patients will not receive the highest standards of care their clinicians believe they deserve.

To address this, we need to find a way to relieve the burden on exhausted healthcare workers by automating key processes, facilitating better patient-clinician partnerships and empowering patients to play a more active role in their care.

  1. Poor health outcomes

Current health systems are struggling to meet the needs of the populations they serve which has a negative impact on health outcomes. It is estimated that almost 15% of Canadians aged 12 and over don’t have regular access to a family doctor. This means people often don’t know where to start when it comes to getting the support they need.

Leveraging a digital front door that contains the tools for patients and their caregivers to navigate healthcare and make it easy for them to see their options when it comes to selecting new providers, finding the soonest available appointments, better educate and treat themselves and understand when an intervention is needed opens the door to many more positive possibilities.

  1. Inefficient health spending

Based on forecasts from the OECD, healthcare spending will outpace GDP growth for the next 15 years. But is this money being spent to maximise healthcare value and outcomes? System inefficiencies are apparent across the spectrum of healthcare. Healthcare spending is still focusing on treatment rather than prevention.

Taking a population health approach and shifting to a more value-based care model that focuses on quality of care provided over quantity would enable investment in the right places and help maintain sustainable healthcare systems in the long term.

  1. Equity gaps in access to healthcare

Inequity in healthcare access and delivery are widely-recognised issues. Most health systems struggle to reach the so-called hard-to-reach populations such as immigrants, people of colour, and the poor. They also struggle to help patients living in rural or remote locations.

Meeting people where they are, with technology that provides more ways for people to interact with the health system and tailoring services to the needs of a particular population will help. We also need the data to understand more about who these people are and what their exact needs are.

Interested in reading more about why healthcare needs transformation and how a digital front door can help?