December 31, 2021

Current Challenges in Healthcare: Patient Support & Digital Transformation

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The healthcare industry has faced many challenges recently. We’ll discuss available solutions and opportunities to meet those challenges.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been the single greatest challenge to the healthcare industry in 2021 and 2022. COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on medical workers, the hospital system, and the country as a whole. As the country, and the world, struggles to get the virus under control, the pandemic has highlighted several additional challenges in the healthcare industry.

Top challenges in healthcare & patient support improvements

Moving to telehealth

Connecting with patients started to move towards telemedicine prior to 2021, but as COVID-19 cases spread and people began to stay home to stay safe, healthcare needed to figure out ways to see patients safely. Telehealth grew from 11% during 2019 to 46% in 2020. A patient experience survey conducted about telemedicine and AI in healthcare found that 84% of patients are more likely to choose a provider who offers telemedicine over one who doesn’t. The healthcare industry needed to pivot to ensure they had the technology framework available to accommodate the increased demand. 

Patient experience

In the age of technology, 64% of people say they would prefer to message rather than call a business, and 60% say they are open to receiving personal messages from companies. Similarly, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a majority of patients wish to view their lab results online and get access to their other information online as well. The healthcare industry has been challenged to figure out how to transition to more digital ways of communicating with patients and meeting their technological expectations. This desire to go digital has increased even more during COVID-19 as patients have been less willing to meet with healthcare personnel in person.

Security

As with all industries relying on technology, the protection of data is a primary concern. The healthcare industry focuses on patient data security because of laws like HIPAA, and adding in tech only creates another layer of security complexity. 

The growth of telehealth has been a main source of increasing breached patient records. The healthcare industry is challenged with putting systems in place to protect the privacy of patients across all digital initiatives. As more healthcare functions continue to move online over the next year, it’ll be important to ensure these processes are protected from outside threats.

Invoicing and payment processing

Consumers want their experiences across all industries to mirror the ease of ordering on Amazon. This is relevant not only for appointments with doctors (telehealth) but also with the payment and processing. Healthcare institutions are challenged to find a way to create the most frictionless process. 

Unifying access in healthcare institutions

Healthcare companies are diverse systems with many different departments that can often be siloed from each other. Many of these departments (think accounts payable versus patient intake) need similar patient information but are working separately from each other. The healthcare industry is tasked with finding ways to unify this experience.

The impact of Covid-19 on the healthcare industry

Staffing shortages

Current challenges in healthcare include labor shortages and high turnover.

The healthcare industry has lost half a million workers since the start of the pandemic. One of the greatest differences between this particular staffing shortage and those in the past is that a significant portion of it is due to workers quitting. One in five of the nation’s health workers have left their job voluntarily since February of 2020. Burnout, needing to care for children or sick family members, and objections to vaccine mandates are among the many reasons workers are resigning. 

To compound the staffing shortage, workers who remain on the job are under immense stress dealing with an unprecedented volume of patients and, especially in critical care settings, deaths. Hospitals and health systems are being forced to do more than ever with fewer workers, prompting many healthcare leaders to seek out technology that can streamline workflows and alleviate administrative burdens. 

Decline of nursing home care

Americans have been spending less on nursing home care since 2013 as preferences for in-home end-of-life medical care grow. COVID-19 and the widespread publication of nursing home deaths dramatically accelerated the spending decline, in addition to the rise of telehealth and the availability of remote patient monitoring. The nursing home care sector hasn’t experienced the same bounceback we saw in other industries after COVID’s initial spending plunge. 

The most pressing of the current challenges facing nursing homes is closure. In a survey of nursing home operators by the American Health Care Association, 72% said they’d be unable to maintain their operations through 2021 while 40% said they’d struggle to last another six months. 

Patient care disparities

While the move to telehealth has been widespread, its effectiveness has been varied. For every virtual appointment that goes off without a hitch, there are a slew of others interrupted or prevented entirely by technical difficulties, user error, and patient access issues. As providers grapple with meeting patients where they are, it highlights the need for accessible technology to become the standard rather than the exception in the healthcare industry. 

Drop in elective procedures

One of the most enduring challenges facing healthcare organizations is the decline of elective procedures, caused both by patients who are choosing not to seek them and hospitals that have delayed or canceled them. Prior to the pandemic, elective procedures were a lucrative source of revenue for providers, accounting for between $48 and $65 billion in earnings. Though many health systems have ramped up elective procedures once again, waves of cancellations persist in the face of outbreaks. To deal with the decline, organizations are seeing a greater need to identify revenue leaks and capture more of the dollars they’ve earned. 

Digital transformation solutions and opportunities to combat current challenges in healthcare

Move to the cloud

Transitioning to cloud-based technologies allows healthcare institutions to cut down on operational expenses while delivering personalized care. Cloud solutions provide a centralized location to share data and insights across the proper channels and store all of the necessary information.

Cloud-based telemedicine improves accessibility, increases resource availability, and increases interoperability, all while saving costs.

Unified CRM

A unified CRM provides a unified place for all areas of the business to access the same information in a seamless manner. A CRM takes the information from existing systems and puts it together in one view. This helps to solve the fractured nature of many healthcare departments, while also improving customer experience, as each person a customer interacts with has the same necessary information to personalize conversations.

Omnichannel communications

Omnichannel solutions help to solve several of the challenges presented to the healthcare industry in 2020. Customers are looking for a seamless experience in all of their interactions, including healthcare. Omnichannel, which can include SMS, voice, email, webchat, and more, puts in place several avenues of communication with patients. 

As mentioned earlier, patients are looking to interact with healthcare like they do any other business. They want to be able to communicate at their convenience on their device of choice. The healthcare industry has the opportunity to implement technology to meet the patients where they are and give them the self-service options they crave. 

AI technology is helping to solve the current challenges in healthcare.

In the 2020 patient experience survey by Software Advice, 31% of respondents said that they have interacted with AI-powered chatbots and virtual nurses on their healthcare providers’ websites to get answers to their questions. 

Self service options are key for both customer experience, and also efficiency and cost-saving for the healthcare industry. By offering ways for patients to get the information they need via virtual agents, interactive voice response (IVR), or chatbots, healthcare institutions need fewer humans on the other end of the line. These solutions can help streamline frequently asked questions, scheduling in-person or telehealth appointments, accessing a personal patient record, or checking the status of an insurance payment. 

Secure payment capture

Secure payment capture helps provide a secure system to process payments. Healthcare companies can implement an IVR system to allow patients to process their own payments, or work with an agent to process the payment, who would not have access to any of the secure information. Utilizing a feature like this helps neutralize a security risk while adding a digital resource for customers.

How LiveVox can help improve patient support

For more than 20 years, leading healthcare business leaders have turned to LiveVox for their omnichannel, CRM, AI, and workforce optimization needs. 

We help clients serve their customers more effectively with seamless conversations on voice, email, chat, SMS, and social media. Interaction history is unified, helping agents collaborate effortlessly, while a tailored desktop facilitates accuracy and speed. 

As a contact center service provider, risk mitigation is a primary concern. Embedded controls automate compliance with CTIA, CAN-SPAM, PCI, CFPB, and more. Multichannel consent management brings customer preference to the forefront at every turn, which not only keeps you in line with legal requirements but provides a better experience for customers. Our battle-tested solution has a perfect 10-0 court ruling record. 

With LiveVox, client relationships are a true partnership. We work to support your evolving business goals, not just providing solutions for your needs today, but anticipating what those needs will look like in the short- and long-term and helping you plan for them. Our platform is continuously improving and updates are both simpler and less costly than traditional communication platforms. Request your free demo of LiveVox or speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives by getting in touch today.

Healthcare Industry Challenges FAQ

What are current challenges to the healthcare industry?

Current challenges to the healthcare industry include moving telehealth, patient experience, invoicing and payment processing, and unifying access to healthcare institutions.

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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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