Building Connected Healthcare Experiences One Step at a Time

July 16, 2020

// By Jim Samuel //

What has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic — and what hospitals and health systems should know about moving from a basic online presence to a fully open digital front door.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hospitals and health systems to quickly adopt new technology that has changed how Americans receive healthcare. One change has been a dramatic increase in the adoption of telehealth, says Dave Wieneke, healthcare innovation leader at PK, an international experience engineering firm.

One large telehealth provider, Wieneke says, talked of experiencing a 3,000 percent growth in the use of telehealth over a 60-day period. “I also talked to a hospital executive who described their system last year as having 1,900 telehealth visits,” he says. “This month (May 2020), they’ve had 1,900 visits. They are making plans for next year to do 1,900 visits each week.”

Dave Wieneke, healthcare innovation leader at PK

Dave Wieneke, healthcare innovation leader, PK

Wieneke says that as the pandemic progressed, he began looking at hospital and health systems’ websites to see how they were changing as a result of the crisis.

“We are living in an age in which video is now a crucial point of care,” he says, adding that the more common the use of video becomes, the more it will affect other parts of a health system’s digital presence.

“As we think about doctor-finding, how long will still photos and a few historic or demographic facts really measure up on profiles as a way of picking a doctor?” he asks, suggesting that physician videos could soon become a common part of online physician profiles.

“The other large change we saw was the introduction of live chat with an AI (artificial intelligence) interface,” Wieneke says. UCLA Health, he continues, added chat capabilities to its website in two weeks and it is now supporting more than 30,000 interactions per day.

Still More to Be Done

While patients and providers have been quick to adopt telemedicine and AI in response to the coronavirus pandemic, they have not been as quick with other healthcare technology, Wieneke says.

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