Connected Health encompasses wireless, digital, electronic, mobile, and telehealth and is a conceptual health management model where devices, services or interventions are designed around the patient’s needs, and where health-related data is shared so that the patient can receive care in the most efficient manner possible. Top connected health tools include telehealth, wearable technology, remote patient monitoring tool, mobile apps, secure messaging tools, and other digital tools that help connect patients to their providers.
Connected health bridges the gaps between patient, provider, and patient health. Entire connected health departments have emerged in hospitals and organizations are investing in their connected health tools. It touches on two central patient experience domains: patient access to care and patient empowerment.
Telehealth allows patients to connect with their medical providers faster and more conveniently than before. Two central modalities of telehealth are the direct-to-consumer function, where patients and healthcare providers connect through video conferencing. This helps with quicker analysis, diagnosis and treatment plan.
Second, providers can connect and share consults, expertise, and knowledge during patient care with other providers. In a 2017 survey from the Advisory Board reported that 77 percent of patients requested access to telehealth because the tools increased their access to care.
Although growing in popularity, telehealth is undoubtedly not the only form of connected health. Secure messaging tools allow patients to message their providers, thus, supporting better patient access to care. In most cases, secure messages help in saving, both, patient and medical industry time and money by informing a patient whether the need to visit the doctor exists or not.
Driving patient empowerment with connected health technology:
Besides the logistical advantages, connected health tools improve the way patients engage with healthcare. Patients managing their health using connected health tools increases patient empowerment and self-efficacy.
Tools like wearables, remote patient monitoring devices, or diet and fitness apps put patients in charge of their care. It empowers patients because these tools directly connect patients with their providers’ efforts to improve wellness. Connected health tools hold patients accountable for their health and provide an immediate view of where patients lack in terms of their wellness path.
As healthcare professionals continue to see the benefits of connected health, they are continuing to adopt these tools in their practices. With over 70 percent of providers adopting telehealth, more providers are looking into how patient-facing tools can enhance patient care experiences.
As consumerism in healthcare increases, providers will continue to adopt connected health tools. These tools will allow patients to more conveniently access their care while playing a vital role as a judge of wellness.