Explore the technology trends that will define the future of healthcare
The past year has been one of continuous change, continuous challenges, and tremendous changes in the way patient care is delivered. Now in 2022, the long-term impacts of the pandemic persist for millions of people around the world – patients, families and providers – resulting in significant staffing shortages, increased feelings of burnout, job dissatisfaction and increased turnover.
Indeed, in the last quarter of 2021, a To analyse data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that employment in hospitals fell by 94,000 people compared to February 2020. Another analysis show that staffing issues have cost hospitals a shocking $24 billion during the pandemic.
None of this is sustainable, but we have no shortage of encouraging indicators of change. As the digital transformation of the healthcare industry continues to progress, accelerated by the growing adoption of telehealth and digital engagements, we are also seeing the effects of a stronger digital foundation for the future of healthcare.
As we look to the future, here are four trends that I believe will define healthcare in 2022 and beyond.
Trend 1: A burnout crisis among clinicians will create needed workflow changes
Clinician burnout is almost universal. A recent study found that 98% of clinicians have experienced burnout. This has profound and well-documented effects across the entire continuum of care, from well-being and staff turnover to patient outcomes and financial resilience.
Because burnout has a wide range of causes, and different people experience it in different ways, it’s a particularly tricky problem to address. As more healthcare organizations continue to evolve and adapt their digital transformation strategies, we will begin to see many necessary workflow changes emerge.
As we look to the way forward, advancements in technology will remove friction and unnecessary manual tasks from clinicians’ workflows, effectively removing discrete functions that can contribute to burnout. For example, patient documentation may play a role in exacerbating provider burnout, despite its critical importance to care. Today, we are empowered with ambient sensing technology that safely “listens” to provider-patient encounters and effectively lets clinical documentation write itself. Instead of spending two hours documenting every hour of patient care, providers are free to focus on what matters most: caring for people.
As a result, we will see job satisfaction return, which will also have a positive impact on patient satisfaction and outcomes.
Trend 2: The global nursing shortage will transform clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs
Over the past two years, almost a third of healthcare professionals have considered leaving the profession altogether. And even before the pandemic took hold, the World Health Organization reported a global shortage of nurses.
These challenges have caused healthcare executives to sharpen their pencils and focus on doing more with less. In many cases, this means a renewed effort to create and optimize revenue streams and a shift in how organizations approach and manage clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs.
Accurate documentation that captures and tells the full story of a patient has always been important. And for many years, nurses have supported CDI initiatives by serving as the vital liaison between coders and care teams. But today’s hospitals are fuller than ever and, combined with a shortage of nurses, keeping good caregivers away from the bedside is an almost impossible choice.
Here too, technology can play a vital role in the management of CDI programs. When organizations leverage AI-powered CDI solutions, they can free up their skilled care teams to focus on patients while letting powerful automation and collaboration tools drive health integrity efforts. clinical documentation. At the same time, AI-based clinical guidance at the point of care can support more accurate documentation in advance before it reaches the office of the clinical documentation specialist.
Trend 3: Strategic partnerships between providers and health systems will emerge
The health ecosystem is necessarily more interconnected than ever, which means that health systems must change the way they view technology providers; that is, no longer as suppliers, but as strategic partners for success. Technology vendors have long been able to provide strategic advice, professional services and even compliance assistance – areas that are more important than ever as digital transformation progresses.
Instead of telling vendors what they need, healthcare systems will work hand-in-hand with technology providers, collaboratively solving a range of challenges facing the healthcare industry. From combating burnout to streamlining provider workflows, mastering telehealth and delighting patients, these partnerships will be seen as essential in the years to come.
Trend 4: New AI use cases will continue to upset the norm
Consider how AI markets have created collaborative and democratized environments for solving many of the toughest (and, truth be told, sometimes dumbest) challenges in our world. But when it comes to healthcare, AI is already delivering incredible results that push the boundaries of what is possible.
For example, radiologists can leverage AI to integrate critical services directly into their workflow: from machine learning image analysis that automatically detects, measures and characterizes suspicious Covid-19 findings to workflow prioritization for intracranial hemorrhage cases – and much more.
Although it seems to be accelerating every day, we are only just beginning to see the full potential of AI to transform healthcare. Over the coming year, AI will find even more breakthrough use cases.
Stay ahead in the coming year
The pandemic has intensified the challenges facing healthcare. But it also pushed digital transformation forward at a much faster pace than many might have expected, creating a solid foundation for the future of healthcare.
In 2022, healthcare organizations are better positioned than ever to address clinician and caregiver burnout, strengthen financial and clinical documentation integrity, improve patient outcomes and quality of care, and bringing joy back to the practice of medicine by applying AI to these high-impact problems. .
Photo: tonephotography, Getty Images