With COVID-19 having irrevocably altered how organizations and members approach health care, 2022 is proving to be a challenging year for all involved. COVID-19 has resulted in years of change occurring in only a few months, and it is difficult for health care organizations to “keep up” with the ever-changing expectations. Rather than default back to the old way of doing things, organizations must embrace the changes we’ve experienced and look forward for ways to address them.
A new report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identifies several steps that organizations should take to adapt to the new normal.
Gone are the days where a patient visits a doctor’s office simply to get an update on their medication or condition. Patients are demanding telehealth services and the ability to organize transportation to medical appointments from the comfort of their home. As the baby boomer generation ages, non-emergency medical transportation will become an increasing need for many. However, unlike their parents, baby boomers are tech-savvy, and expect to use technology to achieve their medical needs. Offering patients self-help tools and apps to book appointments, arrange transportation, and book rides for loved ones is a requirement in the COVID-19 age and beyond. Organizations must adapt and offer these technologies to the fast growing and aging boomer population.
60% of patients and members have indicated a preference for home and community care, away from hospital related settings. Not only does care at home provide a higher quality of life for the patient, but it also saves significant public dollars by freeing up hospital spaces for those that are truly in need of urgent care. Health care organizations such as PACE centers offer a flexible arrangement that encourages participants to remain in their homes and get transportation to a center that can meet their social, economic, and health needs. Many organizations are offering home delivery of medications, meals and supplies that enable ongoing treatment without visiting a health center. These types of models and services can help shift care from hospitals to the community, and result in lower health care costs per member overall.
For organizations to adapt to these new patient needs, there must be an increased adoption of technology. Gone are the days where a health care organization can achieve these outcomes using spreadsheets and sticky notes. They must procure technology solutions that allow them to seamlessly integrate these functions into their operations. It is critical that organizations look for established technology firms that offer NEMT software to easily take calls, book transportation, schedule at home deliveries of medicine and supplies, and provide a digital self-serve portal for patients and members to access. Organizations that do not adopt this type of technology will increasingly be at a disadvantage, and member satisfaction and efficiency will suffer.
COVID-19 has changed the way members expect to receive their health care, and it is incumbent on organizations to adapt to those changes. By focusing on a path forward to address these concerns, health care organizations can be well positioned to achieve higher member satisfaction and become leaders in their field.