3 ways digital health will help hospitals navigate COVID-19 recovery: Providence report 

Hospitals and health systems must tap into digital health solutions to navigate care delivery following the COVID-19 surge and delays it has created, according to a recent Providence report.

As healthcare organizations move forward in their COVID-19 recovery journeys, executives will have to address how to safely deliver backlogged care, financial recovery and re-engaging patients with healthcare facilities while still limiting spread of coronavirus exposure.

Renton, Wash.-based Providence's COVID-19 Digital Insight Report Series examines these challenges and provides research and insights gathered from more than 100 interviews with health system, technology and innovation leaders from Providence as well as other organizations across the country.

Here are three approaches hospitals and health systems should take to support swift and safe recovery, according to Providence's Recovery: Resuming Operations & Care Delivery report.

1. Deliver contactless care. Fear and risk of exposure will drive consumers' willingness to return to healthcare facilities, so health systems must ensure digital tools for online registration, virtual visits, remote monitoring and connected devices are available and easily accessible. These also include digital check-ins, virtual patient queues and online scheduling for COVID-19 testing.

2. Address consumer fear. Seventy percent of consumers are hesitant to seek care, so health systems must highlight their safety protocols and provide a COVID-19 free environment to get patients to return. To do this, Providence launched a marketing campaign for peer health systems to deliver the message to patients that it's safe to seek care. The health system also initiated a personalized, direct-to-consumer messaging campaign with outreach from clinicians to re-schedule appointments through online portals to simplify the consumer experience.

3. Drive growth and patient reactivation. Health systems must strengthen competencies critical to driving growth and re-activating patients who are hesitant to return.

These competencies include: establishing referral channels and pathways such as online scheduling apps to transact directly with consumers; engaging patients through targeted channels such as apps that analyze deferred appointments; delivering care and engagement through decentralized digital and home channels; and recognizing patients' changing financial and insurance conditions and offer opportunities such as financial counseling and automated insurance enrollment.

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