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Six key objectives for hospitals in 2023, and how digital health solutions can support them | David Harvey


Many digital health solutions can play a key role in helping support the long-term financial health of hospitals.

The first quarter of the new year represents a pivotal time for hospital leaders—a time to reset and re-energize your organization with new goals and objectives for the year ahead. As your organization considers how to cultivate a healthier hospital in 2023, a key factor of that decision making should be evaluating how digital health solutions can support your initiatives.

Here are six key objectives every hospital is focusing on in 2023, and how digital health solutions can help you meet them.

Objective #1: Improving the bottom line

After one of the toughest years financially for hospitals—with challenges that included supply chain shortages, skyrocketing staffing costs, and inflation—all hospitals have a strong focus on the bottom line in 2023.

Many digital health solutions can play a key role in helpingsupport long-term financial health at these organizations. They include:

  • Claims management solutions, which streamline claims processes efficiencies (reducing costs associated with claims management and enabling staff to focus on other tasks). These tools can also improve the bottom line by optimizing the collections process.
  • Price estimation/transparency tools, which ensure patients are fully aware of costs associated with their services in advance, increasing the likelihood that out-of-pocket costs will be successfully collected.
  • Prior authorization tools, which help automate this cumbersome process, enhancing the bottom line and enabling staff to focus on other needs.
  • Digital payment solutions, which enable patients to pay for services directly, enhancing staff efficiencies and improving patient satisfaction (both of which can enhance margins over time).
  • VBC/payer contracting tools, which help health systems ensure they are enhancing additional revenue streams through value-based payments.

Objective #2: Alleviating staff shortages and burnout

Ask any healthcare leader what their top priority is for the year ahead, and staffing sits at, or is near, the top of the list. In fact, arecent survey of 100 hospital leaders by healthcare consultancy Sage Growth Partners found that 61% identify staff recruitment and retention as their top strategic priority for the next two years.

Hospitals must find innovative ways to support their workforce and alleviate staffing challenges through more efficient and, in some cases, automated processes. Numerous examples exist, but many leading hospitals are turning to digital health solutions to support these needs. Some solutions to consider include e-wellness,digital patient intake,digital virtual assistants, and digital wayfinding.

Objective #3: Enhancing patient engagement and loyalty

As competition increases for hospitals, both from other health systems as well as fromnew and emerging industry disruptors, hospitals must focus on enhancing patient retention and referrals. Digital solutions can help. For example, price transparency tools, advanced patient messaging, network utilization management, CRM,digital payments, andunified patient messaging are all useful for improving patient engagement and loyalty.

Objective #4: Meeting demand for health at home models

Since the pandemic, recognition has grown among both consumers and hospital leaders related to thevalue of health-at-home models. Hospitals that don’t become part of this movement, or aren’t doing so in an optimal way, are going to face consequences such as poorer care quality, higher costs, and a decline in patient loyalty.

As a result, in 2023, hospitals should closely evaluate their remote patient monitoring, hospital at home, and telehealth solutions, and ensure they are working as optimally as possible. If not, it may be time to consider a new partner.

Objective #5: Making meaningful health equity improvements

Over the past few years, there has also been a significant movement among hospitals to reduce health disparities, as well as better understand and address social determinants of health (SDOH).

Again, digital health solutions can play a key role here. Some to consider include:

-Patient engagement solutions that enhance patient outreach to disparate patient populations

- Digital patient intake solutions that build up SDOH-related insights through patient surveys

-Remote patient monitoring, telehealth, and health-at-home tools that improve patient access

-Data analytics solutions that help identify at-risk patients and close health equity gaps

Objective #6: Achieving seamless EHR integrations

Hospitals continue to struggle with exchanging clinical and operational data across the continuum. The good news is that new digital solutions, purely dedicated to improving integration, can help. Moving into 2023, hospitals should also ensure that any new digital health solution considered meets their unique interoperability requirements and EHR integration needs.

Ensuring long-term ROI

While healthcare has long lagged behind other industries when it comes to digital transformation, the industry is making up ground at a frantic pace. Thousands of vendors have hit the market over the past few years, promising solutions that range from price estimation tools to workplace wellness enhancement to remote patient monitoring.

As noted, these solutions can help hospitals meet their top 2023 priorities—but not all solutions are equally effective. Hospitals must conduct due diligence to fully evaluate solutions across multiple metrics, including ensuring that the solution meets their unique cybersecurity, compliance, ROI, workflow, and integration needs.

David Harvey is CEO of Panda Health.

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