Technology & Innovation in Healthcare: Digital Patient Access Meeting Patients’ Needs and Behavior
Digital patient access is a key factor in a competitive healthcare market. Providing healthcare solutions like online scheduling meets patients’ expectations, especially when offered in the modality of their choice. TGH proactively provides smart channels for patient access to facilitate self-led research, personal criteria and convenience.
Clearwave CEO Mike Lamb recently interviewed Jason Swoboda, the Associate Director of Emerging Tech and Health Innovation at Tampa General Hospital. Known for their patient-centric, tech forward approach to healthcare, TGH is an award-winning 1,000+ bed teaching hospital that we’re proud to partner with.
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Mike Lamb: Let’s turn to more of the digital side. So when you think about digital patient access, which is an idea that you’re obviously championing at TGH, what does that digital patient access mean in a health system setting to you?
Jason Swoboda: I think I alluded to it just a little earlier around that Amazon experience, you know, that really hasn’t changed consumer behavior. Patients are used to being able to shop for things they want online, and usually from a mobile device. When I was going to PT school way back when, and I’m not going to date myself, Mike, but to find a provider, you had to look up things in the Yellow Pages and maybe you found some things online that just mimicked what the Yellow Pages were. And I say Yellow Pages, people are probably wondering what that is.
Mike Lamb: I’m old enough to know, by the way.
Jason Swoboda: (Laughing.) But patients are used to being able to shop for things when they want, when they want it — what they want when they want it, and they want to be able to find certain things, be able to punch in different criteria and then be able to have those results spit out, and then they can select what they want.
Well, it’s up to the healthcare system to have the ability to understand who their consumers are and what the criteria is that’s important to the patient. And then be able to create a method to be able to filter out, to be able to select the right kind of service that they want – based on that criteria. And then once you find that, if you just apply sort of the mechanics in any kind of sales-type of environment, you want to be able to have a very seamless ability — once they find what they’re looking for — you want to be able to yield, I’m going to call “yield that sale,” if you will, but be able to schedule an appointment, be able to easily schedule the appointment and have the ability to schedule the appointment, make that appointment when it’s convenient for them. Not when it’s just convenient for the health system. So once again, we worked with Odoro and Clearwave to be able to help serve up that solution.
I think the other thing that when you start looking at the digital patient, we used to think, and once again, a little bit dating myself, we used to think that it was sort of the younger generation that was doing everything either online or are using their phone. That gap has really increased. We are seeing the older population, if you will, or that demographic also starting to research online and also having visits online. I would say prior to COVID, that really didn’t happen a lot. So I think that digital patient has expanded in what we would consider from that age zone. But I think as that age demographic has increased, the mode of that has to, there are certain modes of that online experience that I think pertain to a different piece of the demographic. And we have to be able to meet that. I know a lot of the younger generation likes more of that chatbot type of experience. People maybe in my generation, or what I associate to my generation, really like more of the website type of experience. And I think that there is still a population of folks, maybe in the more older skew of the demographic, still like the phone call, but utilizing the IVR system. We have to meet all of those demographics with the solutions that we choose. Those are all the different things that we have to, when we look at what digital, how we meet that digital patient demographic, what we have to take into consideration.