Integrating Digital with Traditional Care and Counseling

Integrating Digital with Traditional Care

Have you ever returned home from a doctor’s visit to ask yourself, “what did they say again?” If so, you know it’s difficult because there's a lot of information to process, protocols and insurance to deal with, and details to remember. And if you're spending time at the doctor's office, you're not always at your best.

Doctors, healthcare providers, and caregivers are all too familiar with the problem: after patients are diagnosed and put on a treatment regimen, 50 to 60 percent are likely to skip medications, follow-up appointments, and other treatment protocols. In fact, an estimated 125,000 unnecessary deaths occur each year in the United States because patients don’t follow their regimens and the problem adds an estimated $290 billion to US health expenditures annually.

Support Patient Behavior Change

So what is the answer? Providers are finding success by integrating technology with traditional care and counseling to support patient behavior change. We all know that face-to-face connections are extremely valuable for forming trusting relationships, but digital tools have tremendous potential for extending and enhancing this relationship.

These tools are ideally designed to be provider- and patient-friendly so that both users can easily access information that is critical to diagnosis and treatment at all hours, day and night. Digital tools allow for faster, more convenient communication between patients and providers, and can serve as a warehouse for important reference materials. Combining high-touch with high-tech makes patient support more scalable, affordable, and effective.

Adopting the Digital Age in Health Care

With almost half of the world’s population now using the internet and two-thirds now using smart phones, it is essential that health care meet the needs of patients in this digital age. If you are looking for ways to integrate digital technology in your practice, having a cloud-based storage center can provide the following benefits:

  • Provides instructions the patient can access anywhere, where they can receive reminders or words of encouragement
  • Strengthens the bond between patients and providers, while reducing both of their stress levels
  • Facilitates a team-based approach to care delivery-- doctors, nurses, administrators, dietitians, and health coaches could all view and contribute to patient files, ideally, working collaboratively to create a treatment plan

The digital tools themselves can even be designed to support behavior change. Brian Cugelman, PhD and founder of AlterSpark, teaches a course on "Digital Psychology and Emotional Design for Behavior Change." Founder, Melissa Elder, flew to Palo Alto, CA to study with Dr. Kugelman on this topic. She learned many strategies for using behavioral and social psychology, and even neuroscience, to craft websites and mobile applications to specifically elicit certain actions by the user.

To learn more about how to streamline digital and traditional services in your organization to support your patients in living a healthy lifestyle, contact us today for a free consultation!