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How Automation Aids Data Security, Improves Patient Satisfaction

Enabling healthcare automation can help organizations improve their health data security measures and increase patient satisfaction levels.

data security and patient satisfaction fueled by automation strategy

Source: Thinkstock

By Bill Kleyman

- Want to know a common trend I’ve seen in pretty much every single healthcare customer I’ve worked with? Data.

And I mean a lot of data.

Healthcare organizations are producing vast amounts of data from a variety of points. Furthermore, they’re working on turning that data into usable information.

For example, patient satisfaction data helps organizations understand what they’re doing right, and where they can improve. Most of all, new technologies are revolutionizing the way we work with patient information and deliver critical healthcare services.

A recent mobile networks report indicated that by 2018, there will be 8.2 billion handheld or personal mobile-ready devices and 2 billion machine-to-machine connections. For example, medical applications making patient records and health status more readily available.

READ MORE: How HIPAA Regulations Apply to Key Patient Data Access Situations

Furthermore, real-time information monitoring has helped companies deploy new video-based security systems, while also helping hospitals and healthcare professionals remotely monitor the progress of their patients, bandwidth-intensive M2M connections are becoming more prevalent. These new connections will utilize both on premise and cloud based resources.

And, as a Cisco report shows, driven by the Internet of Things, the total amount of data created (and not necessarily stored) by any device will reach 600 ZB per year by 2020, up from 145 ZB per year in 2015. Data created is two orders of magnitude higher than data stored.

Don’t just create healthcare data, leverage it

It’s important to remember that healthcare is still a business. And, as a business, it must use key technologies to help create real-world competitive advantages.

A recent blog from Athena Health pointed out that while some healthcare providers might worry about their patients’ willingness and ability to use technology-enabled patient intake solutions, surveys have shown that people like using technology and they’re increasingly open to relying on digital tools to close communication gaps, access health information, and participate in shared decision-making.

For instance, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions’ most recent annual survey of U.S. consumers showed that patients are increasingly interested in partnering with clinicians to make healthcare decisions. The survey also found that patients are putting more trust in health information sources and are using technology more than they ever have before.

READ MORE: Ensuring Security, Access to Protected Health Information (PHI)

More than half of respondents to Deloitte’s survey said they search online for health-related information, and one-quarter reported using scorecards to evaluate provider performance. More than 60 percent of surveyed consumers who use technology said it had a significant effect on their behavior – an especially promising statistic when we think of patient intake.

So, how do you improve patient engagement? Where can you better manage patient satisfaction data? How do you gain greater visibility into data flow? You enable healthcare automation.

By leveraging automation tools to take over manual tasks, like entering demographic info, verifying insurance, managing co-pays and balances, and conducting health-related assessments, healthcare providers can help patients take on a more involved role in their health before and after visits.

Here’s the other big thing automation can do: increase visibility into all of your data points. This not only allows you to understand where the data is residing, how it’s getting to users, and where various systems are leveraging it, you can also secure it.

However, the problem, often enough, is management. A potential solution is the automation of patient satisfaction data by using intelligent healthcare control systems that allow for integration, visibility, and security.

READ MORE: Prioritizing Data Security Strategies for Health IT Infrastructure

Its evident patients enjoy using technology and expect to use it to ever-greater degrees in the coming years. Furthermore, patients “expect” these technologies to be both efficient and secure. Automating the various patient processes aligns with those preferences and expectations, and can offer an effective path to increased patient engagement and improved outcomes from the start.

With an automated system that ensures security, you help create both patient satisfaction and brand protection.

Ways to manage patient satisfaction and securing your data

Considering everything that we’ve discussed, it’s important to actually understand some of the tools which makes this level of data automation and integration possible.

  • Revolutionizing the point of service. Today, there are tools that leverage patient self-service to digitize patient check-in, capture electronic consent forms, collect patient responsibility, and more—all before the patient sees the provider. Regardless of size, specialty, or demographics, today's healthcare systems face the same challenges: escalating demands, rising costs, and increasing patient responsibility. These types of innovative point-of-service platform resolves these issues by driving efficiency and profitability throughout the healthcare organization. Ultimately, this type of tool creates a number of capabilities for the healthcare organization. This includes:
    • The ability to process millions of patient encounters per month
    • Increases cash flow
    • Saves front-office staff 3 to 5 minutes per patient
    • Securely deliver sensitive information
    • Completely control the secure flow of PHI data
  • Follow-up, respond, and empower. Hospitals rely on technology, such as voice-automated systems, to scale up and meet the demands of a growing population. The downside is that customers find it impersonal when communicating with a robotic voice about their medical bills and services. Fortunately, technology doesn’t have to be the problem. In fact, when used to optimize the right processes, technology can be the solution. By automating your support workflows, you can refocus your time and money on customer care in hospitals by making the service feel personal again. Let me give you an example. Not all issues require the same level of personalized care, so you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service. Basic ticket tracking is great, but you can also create a workflow to make sure sensitive and high priority issues get the attention of management quickly. New solutions allow you to create data workflows around various types of healthcare scenarios. This can help with everything from patient care to IT services.

Keeping patients happy is a never-ending process. Keeping patients secure may very well, arguably, be even more important.

The main point here is that automation and workflow solutions are designed to improve the flow and visibility of data while still focusing on positive end-user outcomes. The marriage of these two concepts helps create a more digitally-aware healthcare facility where data becomes valuable (and actionable) information.

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