Technology Is Changing Treatment Models to Preventive Care

Technology has streamlined many aspects of healthcare and its revenue cycle, but it’s also making its mark on preventive care. Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data enable providers to focus on preventive care.

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As conventional wisdom reminds us, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” but too often, patients and providers rely more on cure than prevention. It’s a costly approach in terms of expense and healthy patient outcomes. But providers can educate patients and advocate for preventive care and wellness visits. And with new technologies, preventive care is easier and more effective than ever.

The changing healthcare model

Medical practices are transitioning from a treatment model to a prevention model that centers on annual wellness exams, vaccinations, and diagnostic health screenings. It is based on health outcomes rather than the volume of health services provided.

With the prevention model, everyone benefits. Patients benefit from early detection and treatment — which typically means lower costs and better health outcomes. Providers benefit through continuing engagement with patients and return office visits. The preventive care model also benefits a health organization’s financial stability.

Implement an effective preventive care program

To establish a comprehensive preventive care program, begin with a plan. Determine the most common reasons for missed appointments (e.g., cost, forgetfulness, and scheduling challenges), and create targeted information campaigns to get patients back on track with their wellness exams. Use television, radio, social media, phone, and email to encourage patients to take a proactive role in their own wellness. Involve the entire staff, from receptionists to nurses and technicians. Each should be familiar with their role in the preventive care program.

Using technology to facilitate preventive care

Over the past few decades, technology has changed almost every aspect of our lives and healthcare is no exception. It is especially useful for preventive care. Communication technologies connect patients to providers and help build relationship and trust.

Patient portals allow patients to participate in their own care. Patients can view their health records, communicate with their doctors, schedule appointments, and order prescription refills. Electronic health records (EHR) — also known as electronic medical records (EMR) — let doctors track patient behaviors (e.g., diet and exercise) outside the healthcare environment. EMR also allow providers to easily share health records with other providers or departments, including laboratories, physical therapy, and radiology — creating a continuum of healthcare services.

Telemedicine facilitates monitoring and consultations between in-office visits or provides a healthcare alternative for patients who have a difficult time traveling to their provider’s office. And digital technologies, such as big data and artificial intelligence (AI), allow providers to monitor patient health, so they can predict, prevent, or mitigate health conditions.

Preventive care helps cut down on patient costs, provides better health outcomes, and builds stronger relationships with providers. And digital technologies are making these provider-patient interactions easier than ever before.

Written by Stacey Sexton
TruBridge VP, Health Information Services