Online health communities and digital self-management tools are growing in popularity with the millions of people living with chronic conditions. These new technologies allow a patient to participate in a dialogue regarding their condition on their own terms, from the comfort of their own home or other location via mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.
As our personal data is increasingly scattered across various platforms, we must leverage outside assistance (i.e., automated systems) to help us organize it effectively so we can find it later when needed. Patients who need information about their health stored somewhere might not know where its located unless a trusted system such as an EHR or a Personal Health Record (PHR) shows it to them based on their needs, and then helps find it among the various databases. This is why patients need access to a PHR that can help aggregate information from multiple sources , for better analysis and organization of health data along with making it easier to share with family members and providers.
#1 – Patient-Centric Design
Patient-centric design is the main principle behind developing innovative health technology. If patients are not at the center of an app’s design, it will fail. This means that there should be a clear plan for how to collect patient data with minimal effort from patients themselves. It also means designing with user experience in mind so that patients can easily navigate the platform and find what they need. Most importantly, patient data should be at the foundation of any platform. If you cannot collect data from your users easily, you won’t have a successful product.
#2 – User Experience / Usability
When designing a digital healthcare platform, it is important to consider the patient experience every step of the way. How easy is it for patient users to find what they are looking for? What strategies can be used to ensure that users navigate the website without difficulty? Does the interface provide an intuitive design that will be instantly recognizable by patients? A focus on user experience will help create a more engaging and personalized platform for patients.
#3 – Access from Any Device
Perhaps the most important aspect of digital healthcare platforms is accessibility. Patients should be able to access information about their condition from anywhere they have an internet connection, regardless of device. This means that your platform must also be mobile-friendly and optimized for smartphones and tablets as well as traditional desktop computers. You may need to provide compatibility with many different devices if you want a truly diverse customer base.
#4 – Social Networking
Overall, healthcare is a social experience, especially for those with chronic illnesses like diabetes or hypertension. Patients need to be able to connect with others who have been in their situation and seek advice from them. This may require users to interact with each other through your platform, which raises concerns about privacy and security. But if you can find the right balance between security and user experience, social networking can be a great feature for your platform.
#5 – Mobile Device Accessibility
How easily can users access information about their conditions on a mobile device? Does the platform offer an app designed to work with all major mobile platforms, including iOS and Android devices? You should also consider giving your customers access to apps developed by other developers that use your data if they wish. This will provide more flexibility for patients while encouraging a sense of community.
#6 – Controlled Substances Management
When controlled substances management systems were first developed several decades ago, they required the pharmacist or the pharmacy tech to make manual entries into the system for each prescription filled. This produced a lot of inaccurate or incomplete information as those that made the entries were prone to making mistakes or failing to update important patient information with every transaction. The advent of automated controlled substances management systems reduced this error rate significantly and have gone even further in recent years by incorporating other patient information into the system like demographic data such as age and gender. Automated controlled substances management systems can also reduce errors caused by manual entry, as they require fewer people to administer them and are compatible with other automated prescription management systems within the practice.
This is a key feature for healthcare providers and professional organizations that rely on managed care systems or utilization review to help track clinical and financial data. A good EHR will be able to provide a variety of options for managing controlled substances compliance, including flagging patients that are at risk and prompting providers to consult with the patient prior to writing another prescription for them. An EHR can also automate much of this process by using smart algorithms that flag patients based on their age, medical condition, existing medications and other factors.
As new regulations come into place and the industry is forced to adapt, healthcare providers must take advantage of all the technology available to them. Even though there are many systems and software providers to choose from, it can be challenging to find the one that will work best for your practice. This is particularly true if you want to integrate a lot of different types of technology with each other. One platform might excel at providing mobile access but fail to give users the option of social networking or integrated EMR/EHR systems. Another might excel at EMR/EHR integration but fail to give patients access to valuable information via their mobile devices. For this reason, many healthcare providers look into custom healthcare solutions tailored to their exact needs.
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