Healthcare News & Insights

What payors and patients want from new health IT

As the healthcare industry continues to see a boom in new technology, providers aren’t the only ones looking to use new health IT. Now patients and payors are embracing it, too. 

100165603Some facilities have held off on incorporating new health technology into their operations, believing payors are reluctant to pay for new tools and patients are disinterested in using them.

But new research suggests both groups are opening up to the idea of adopting new health IT.

Payor interests

Healthedge, a healthcare software developer, recently released the results of its “State of the Payor” survey, which looks at how commercial payors view business and technology trends in the industry.

Healthedge surveyed 120 payors and found a large majority (88%) of respondents are looking into leveraging new technology to improve their operations. In particular, payors are trying to speed up their claims processing and give patients more care management tools.

Respondents plan to use new health IT to:

  • support claims reporting and analytics systems (85%)
  • provide more price transparency tools, like patient portals and mobile apps (80%), and
  • improve care and disease management (60%).

In general, these trends are good news for providers. For one, increased claim automation would likely mean faster reimbursement for services.

The interest in care management tools could also be beneficial. Many providers have run into barriers getting payors to reimburse health IT used for new treatments or to help patients manage their health. As payors become more interested in giving patients health management tools, it’s likely some of those hurdles will come down.

Patient engagement

The payors’ interest in exploring new health IT is partly coming from their patients, who have begun to demand more from their carriers and providers in terms of digital engagement and health management tools.

 According to Healthcare IT News, a new survey from the National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF) shows that patients are looking for advanced electronic health record (EHR) features from their providers.

Researchers surveyed over 2,000 patients and found a large number of patients are interested in online access to digital health records. Four out of five patients have accessed their health records online at least once. About 55% have accessed their records multiple times over the year. Furthermore, about 77% of respondents said they had a higher level of trust of providers that offered online EHR access.

The NPWF data corroborates the findings from other studies on consumer demands, which suggest that patients are increasingly looking for providers that use digital tools to engage them in their care.

In terms of what EHR functions patients wanted most, researchers found that people wanted the ability to:

  • review their test results (75%)
  • schedule appointments (64%)
  • submit medication refills (59%)
  • review doctor’s notes (58%)
  • email physicians (56%), and
  • review treatment plans (56%).

Seeing where payor and patient technology trends are heading can help hospitals develop their operations to meet the needs of different groups. In particular, it can help hospital executives determine what technology to invest in, such as more sophisticated EHRs with patient portals. The NPWF survey also gives hospital leaders insight into how they can continue to engage patients with their care.

However, it’s important to remember that, while payors and patients may want more advanced technology in facilities, these digital tools won’t be effective if you don’t mesh them with your current operation. Specifically, your staff may need more training so that it can use the new technology themselves, as well as help patients when they encounter problems.

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