By Dr. Arun Nagdev
The healthcare industry has been aware of the opaque transfer of patient information between clinical care teams for many years.
Technology can be the answer to both increasing communication between often siloed teams as well as ensuring patient safety. We’ve seen improvements in delivering better care to patients with the use of digital health tools and digitally-enabled care models, but there’s still a long road ahead to ensure that we’re providing quality care to all patients in a sustainable way.
As we look toward the next year, we’re going to see more health systems explore ways to deliver quality care at scale, without increasing burnout of healthcare workers.
The growth of modern technology in the healthcare industry
Today, health systems are grappling with staffing shortages and worker burnout. In a letter sent in March to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the American Hospital Association called the hospital workforce shortage a “national emergency,” projecting the overall shortage of nurses to reach 1.1 million by the end of the year. The impacts of hospital workforce shortages are intensified by extreme burnout. In January, 7,000 nurses at two New York City hospitals went on strike, calling for a labor contract that will require more nurses at the bedside for patients (New York State Nurses Association
These issues are poised to intensify as health systems are faced with an aging population. According to PRB
, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to reach 95 million by 2060 – which is nearly double the last estimate of 52 million in 2018.
Integrating modern technology in the healthcare industry can solve the patient/provider ratio challenge in 2023 and beyond. With digital tools, clinicians can deliver higher-quality care to more patients in less time. This means better patient outcomes through fewer and shorter visits – something that will become increasingly critical as more health systems adopt value-based care. In addition to better experiences for providers, digital tools will also help decelerate burnout, healthcare worker strikes and staffing shortages.
This is all why research projects greater adoption of digital health solutions in the year ahead. AMA Digital Health Research surveyed 1,300 physicians in three regular intervals between 2016 and 2022. The percentage of physicians who feel digital health tools are an advantage for patient care grew from 85% in 2016 to 93% in 2022, and increases were measured across all ages and specialties.