We’ve learned a lot of lessons through this pandemic. We are still learning. But one thing is certain: we’ve made great strides in digital health. We’ve adapted to the constraints posed by embracing technology and realizing that we could actually thrive in times of uncertainty, in ways we never imagined.
We Worked from Home
The work from home shift has created a new view of remote work and will likely impact how businesses plan for office space and staffing in the future. We found out that it’s possible to work remotely and achieve just as much, if not more, in terms of productivity. We have implemented tools, like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Productivity Dashboards, and more, to augment our ability to stay connected. Pre-pandemic, most working Americans spent around 90 minutes a day commuting. Today, we’ve erased the commute in many cases and improved the morale of most commuters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the ability of employees to work from home “forever” in a company-wide email. Expect other workplaces to announce similar initiatives in the coming months.
We Embraced Telehealth
We found that not only is telehealth a “nice to have,” but it’s “virtually perfect” for today’s healthcare landscape. Health systems and provider organizations have developed automated workflows that refer high-risk patients to nurse triage lines and permit most patients to schedule video or audio visits with established or on-demand providers. Not only has this been a boom for telehealth vendors, this allows patients to be treated in their homes with high-level medical support, no transportation constraints, and reduced exposure for healthcare workers and other patients. By adding automation to the manual lab ordering process, at Telescope Health, they were able to reduce their staff from 5 FTEs, to 1, ensuring 100% accuracy and improving the productivity of their staff.
We Stepped Up Testing and Responder Capability
Technology was applied in disaster response to improve our ability to test and trace the virus. Even tech foes, like Google and Apple, have come together to help improve contact tracing tools to speed the rate at which our lives can return to normal. Efforts to improve existing capacity by establishing “mobile” testing sites and allowing patients to remain in their cars were well-received and can be used moving forward as part of our future health strategy. Automation allowed the testing process to quickly identify the patients in greatest need, and triage them efficiently and effectively with minimal risk. Practical problems surrounding testing for COVID-19 and the creative solutions that came to light regarding the need for equipment have been some of the most inspirational and innovative parts of the response.
We Shifted Business Practices
This pandemic forced organizations across nearly every industry to alter how they deliver products and services. We learned valuable lessons from supply chain management and inventory control, and how we can automate many business practices to a new level of efficiency, reducing an overwhelming burden on human workers. In HR, the processing of forms, sick leave, and PTO can be a time-consuming process made easier and 90% more efficient with automation. Response center and clinical dashboards, productivity reporting, gathering and updating of critical information in multiple systems, and supply chain and materials management are all great uses of automation during the crisis.
We Learned Valuable Lessons About Social Determinants of Health
During this time, we recognized the limitations of students to access online educational tools, families to receive school lunches, and how the virus has negatively affected patient populations. We learned lessons about “zip code health” and how unhealthy communities lead to health disparities like medication adherence, levels of diabetes and heart disease, and issues related to the inability to afford health insurance. We have a vast opportunity to level the playing field when it comes to healthcare, to improve health and nutrition, and make options that were only available to some, available to all moving forward.
We learned valuable lessons in how we are responding to each other during times of uncertainty, but it will be how we move forward for the benefit of communities, patients, health systems, and providers that matters most. Stakeholders throughout the hospital and health system have learned valuable lessons that can be applied to make our lives a bit less complicated. At Boston Software Systems, we are using automation to make the healthcare process easier, more productive, and more profitable, without the need for additional clicks, complexity, or back-end resources.
Why Boston Software Systems?
Our pure focus is healthcare. We’ve been through the ups and downs of multiple challenges over 30 years and we continue to stand with all healthcare organizations to provide real-time solutions that enable you to care for your patients, protect your bottom line, and increase your productivity, even during challenging times.