Sara is a 28-year-old laboratory assistant at a large pharmaceutical company. She’s a new homeowner, and along with the constant stream of home repairs, she maintains a busy schedule of kickball leagues, pet ownership, dating, and marathon training.
In other words, she’s a very busy woman doing things she loves. So needless to say, she’s always on the lookout for ways to for ways to streamline all the things she likes less – like dental appointments, haircuts, and arranging for a taxi to take her to the airport.
One way she does this is by using apps on her phone to avoid the traditional time consuming ways of doing things…
- She uses Uber to book trips to the airport (with the simple touch of her screen) instead of calling a dispatcher for a taxi that may or may not show up on time.
- She uses Everseat to book appointments at her convenience on the same day, instead of having to wait weeks or months with traditional phone booking.
- She doesn’t have time to run to the dentist, so she uses a specially made camera attached to her phone that is able to take pictures of her teeth. These pictures are then sent to the dentist, who can tell her whether or not she needs to come in for a check up.
Notice the trend? It’s the trend of greater customer convenience, of customers taking more of the service-providing process into their own hands.
Of course healthcare is not immune to these trends. As more and more people gain access to the internet, more and more will be informed of the new tech trends impacting their health care and access to their health care.
In last week’s article, we talked about the explosion of the Internet of Things – the trend towards digitizing devices so that they can utilize the computing and communications power of the internet. It’s this trend that’s driving the trend towards greater customer convenience.
When we can connect just about anything to the internet anywhere we choose, we expect the internet to do all sorts of things.
For the healthcare industry, that means conducting more diagnoses and treatments from the comfort of the patient’s home. It means being able to send reminders to a patient’s refrigerator that they’ve had too many carbs for the day. And it means patients can do post-op on their couches while providers monitor their vitals via a smart phone.
Another trend you’ve probably already seen is people using the Internet to do their own medical research – for better or for worse. But you shouldn’t immediately discount the information they’re bringing you…
First, while it may increase the number of armchair physicians coming to your office with maladies you’ve never even heard of and their equally absurd remedies, it can also provide you with new insights into medicine and medical technology that you may have never thought of before. Or new ways of doing business with them that brings in more money for you.
Second, you can use these experiences to take the time and explain your thoughts on the new information. This will help protect them from a lot of the snake oil remedies that are easy to encounter on the internet.
Thirdly, just by listening to your patient and (at least pretending to) taking their idea seriously you show them that you care about them. A simple lack of bedside manner is enough to drive a patient into the arms of a competitor who will listen – and of course their money goes with them.
So just remember: the trend towards empowered patients isn’t going away anytime soon. The sooner you embrace this, the more quickly you’ll bring your practice into the Digital Century.
That concludes part two in our 4-part Digitize Your Practice series. In Part III of the series, we’ll look into one tech trend that’s finally entering the healthcare industry: the open source development model.