Some telemedicine software is so complex that it can lead to repetitive, mundane processes that are prone to frustration and mistakes.
Technology is increasingly involved in healthcare today, and COVID-19 only made it more necessary. The use of virtual care increased 38-fold in 2021 from pre-pandemic levels, and while telemedicine gives more patients reliable access to care, telehealth implementation often requires physicians to navigate a seemingly never-ending wall of drop-down menus and alerts.
This isn't a small problem. Even before the pandemic, healthcare staff burnout was a growing issue. Some telemedicine software is so complex that it can lead to repetitive, mundane processes that are prone to frustration and mistakes. End-user experience is essential to any EHR implementation, for example, to keep from overloading physicians with complicated tech.
With so much new technology to learn during implementation, it’s important to streamline processes whenever possible. Healthcare providers need optimized solutions that reduce the risk of error-prone manual processes in order to eliminate burnout and improve patient outcomes.
Here are three ways to accomplish that:
1. Aligning with stakeholders who can promote tech adoption
If digital practices are already bogged down, healthcare organizations will likely be slow to adopt a new tech solution. Familiarity breeds adoption, so step back from the implementation process and lead by doing everything you can to encourage buy-in. Of course, that requires knowing the providers’ problems and how to help ease them.
Identifying all stakeholders is mission-critical. Your new software will inevitably be touched by nursing, physicians, finance, IT, systems analysts, customer support, and more. They’ll all need assistance from the training department. Getting full support is necessary, as a rigid stakeholder will do no favors on a product committee.
Once you identify the particular problem, it’s a matter of project management to implement it as a part of the more comprehensive organizational change management strategy. All stakeholders will be involved in supporting the training and facilitating success with the new technology, so you must encourage that support during implementation. Your process needs to be thoughtful, detailed, and full of information and guidance for every role if you expect the implementation to be successful.
2. Matching solutions to problems
Choosing the right technology requires being well aware of workflows to see opportunities for improvement. These opportunities include saving time, upgrading output quality, and increasing efficiency.
Determining whether a technology exists and choosing the right tech for your needs are the first steps to meeting those needs for your providers in meaningful ways. The key to knowing what technology is available is staying plugged into what’s happening in the industry, what new tech is being developed, and how people are using it. New options are created daily, so it’s crucial to keep an open mind about how those innovations can apply to your problems.
3. Understanding the user experience
Whether it’s product selection or design, the end user’s experience (UX) is paramount. After all, users will eventually need to alter their workflows to account for new technologies. What’s important is that the clinical experience should still be familiar and fantastic once the new tech is implemented.
Your telehealth implementation, for example, is about providing the same standard of care whether your providers are in the office or on a screen. If the telehealth platform you choose is entirely alien or complex, it’s unlikely to have a successful rollout. One survey found that 50% of consumers think a website’s design (user interface) is central to a company’s brand; a bad online healthcare experience like telehealth could turn away a customer forever.
By providing your people with user interfaces that match their workflows and an overall easy-to-use UX design, you minimize training, increase adoption, decrease human error, and optimize efficiency throughout the practice.
Physicians are experts in human health, and their expertise lies in promoting and restoring health by diagnosing and treating ailments. Technical support, however, is not part of the job description for your providers, and we shouldn’t expect them to be tech experts. With seamless solutions that account for realistic workflows and accessible UX, you can enhance their skills with technology instead of hampering them.
Eric Bacon is president at AMD Global Telemedicine, Inc. He has 20 years of experience designing new medical devices and telemedicine solutions that are deployed in more than 100 countries and used in millions of consults.