How technology enhances access to outpatient care, contain cost and improve patient journey
Updated: Dec 27, 2022
Hello and welcome for joining this new series around latest trends in Health Technology. In this first edition, we'll focus on technology designed for enhancing access to outpatient care for everyone.
Outpatient care, also called ambulatory care, is anything that
doesn't require hospitalization. This is the kind of health care that most people receive on a regular basis, from getting a broken bone fixed in the emergency room to visiting an internist for a diagnosis of a nagging illness. Ambulatory care plays an important role in healthcare systems. It keeps expensive and often rare hospital beds free for those
in real need. It reduces healthcare expenditure through efficient treatment and health prevention, such as provision of checkups. It is also available to help those with
chronic illnesses. Already before the pandemic, access to ambulatory care
became more and more challenging in many locations.
The trend is similar in so called developed countries and less developed ones - thought often for different reasons.
Studies have identified the following main factors limiting the ability to access outpatient care:
Limited appointment availability, office hours
Geographic, physician shortage
Limited education about care sites
Get the right care at the right place at the right time and cost.
But how can Technology improve access to outpatient help?
Or better! How can it help getting the right care, at the right place (possibly even at
the right costs)?
Artificial Intelligence can help patients understand their condition and what level of care is required. Based on their symptoms, location and other information
such as age or gender. So called - symptom checkers - help with self diagnosis,
ideally provide treatment options.
Some of those are able to provide information on the next suitable
provider, open and available at this moment. Some can even book you an appointment.
Which removes lots of hassle, such for example language barriers or other. This is very helpful in the travel insurance industry for tourists.
Technology also enables remote diagnosis and Treatment - via Telemedicine.
No need to sit in a busy waiting room anymore, to be stuck in traffic or to inhale other
people viruses! Just pull out your phone, start your symptom checker and immediate referal to a virtual doctor - almost instantly!