Duke's strategy to unleash the most underutilized care team member with digital tech

Digital technologies, artificial intelligence and automation applied in healthcare the same as it is in other industries could be revolutionary.

Precision medicine could drive better outcomes and improve the patient experience while saving time for clinicians and allow them to work at the top of their licenses. Sophisticated data analytics and integrated digital tools in the future will also help health systems elevate the most underutilized member of the care team — the patient — according to Eric Gon-Chee Poon, MD, chief health information officer at Duke Medicine in Durham, N.C.

Dr. Poon joined the "Becker's Healthcare Digital Health and Health IT Podcast" to discuss new technologies and health IT strategies. Below is an excerpt from the conversation, and you can hear the entire episode here.

Note: The response is edited lightly for clarity.

Question: What are you most excited about as healthcare becomes more digital?

Dr. Eric Gon-Chee Poon:
The patient is the most underutilized member of the healthcare team. As we look at other industries, we see that the airline industry, or even the pizza ordering industry, have provided many different ways for customers to engage with them and have control of their experience and understand where they are in their customer journey.

Healthcare has a lot to catch up on. The technology is maturing, and the ability to engage patients will also open up doors for us to leverage the patients and families in much more effective ways. At the same time, it will allow us to decrease the burden on healthcare providers and staff. For example, why would anybody expect patients to call a healthcare provider to make an appointment? As friendly as our appointment agents are in helping them, many of these appointments can be done as self-service at the time that is most convenient for the patients. That opens up a lot of doors for us to redeploy staff in more strategic ways to help with the more complicated scenarios.

Digital health really would allow our patients to take a much more active role in engaging their own health at their own convenience on their own terms.

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