As the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted industries around the world, many have been wondering what changes will remain as business goes back to normal. In healthcare, it is likely that an increased demand for telehealth will remain, meaning providers will need to continue ramping up their capabilities and personalizing this care.
That’s according to Gabriel Paz Larach, assistant director of business development & operations within the Department of Clinical Affairs & Affiliates at NYU Langone Health, who penned an article for Harvard Business Review about three ways to personalize virtual healthcare.
If telehealth will play an important role in meeting the demands of patients and a strained healthcare workforce, it’s critical that providers get patients on board with using the technology for the long term.
Here are the three ways Larach suggests personalizing virtual care:
Make an impression. Making technology tools appealing and easy for healthcare professionals to use will reduce the barrier of adopting the tech into everyday care. Similarly, making telehealth tools compelling––from the first impression––is the ticket to success. For example, a warm welcoming message with information about their next patient can inform and prepare physicians, as well as pop-up tips for better communication with patients on the platform. Providers could also offer incentives for successful telehealth visits.
Pursue active engagement and meaningful connection. Technology cannot replicate the sensitivities of human connection, but patients respond better when they feel better cared for. Telehealth tools can actually prompt engagement by letting patients choose their symptoms and communicate their concerns with their providers. This is even doable through AI with voice recognition software.
Instill confidence and safety. Physicians want to be sure their diagnoses are correct, while patients want to know their provider is an expert. Telehealth tools can address both concerns, leveraging virtual assistants to help make diagnoses. This lets physicians focus on the patient rather than research. Tools can also follow up with patients after appointments to ensure they understand their care plan and diagnosis.
“Telehealth, of course, can never replace in-person interactions between patients and caregivers. But as experiences during the pandemic have proven, it has the potential to improve the convenience and quality of care,” Larach concludes. “Its future adoption, however, heavily depends on its ability to support a trusting relationship between patients and physicians. As provider organizations choose telehealth technologies and digital health companies develop new tools, they must keep the core human needs of both patients and physicians front and center.”