Technology plays an essential role in most healthcare processes, from enrolling new patients to sharing information securely with other providers. Digital experiences are no longer seen as separate parts of our lives, but integral elements of how we live each day. The healthcare technology market reflects this same change, with a growing market projected to reach $270.3 billion in 2021.
While healthcare technology is growing rapidly, a gap persists between the sheer quantity of products available on the market and actual adoption rates by healthcare providers. Providers can be apprehensive about using healthcare technology. This concern is often exacerbated by misconceptions, inadequate software training, or no training at all.
To close the technology gap, practice owners must understand the drivers of new healthcare technologies and address how physicians can more seamlessly adopt digital healthcare solutions.
The Most Important Drivers for Adoption of Healthcare Technology
What makes physicians want to use technology? What pushes them away from certain tools? The AMA’s 2016 and 2019 Digital Health Survey shed some light on answers to these two important questions. The original survey revealed that physicians are most attracted to digital tools that will improve work efficiency, increase patient safety, and improve diagnostic ability.
The 2019 survey refresh showed an interesting update. Physicians continued to place importance on the three aforementioned benefits but also emphasized the value of tools that allow for remote care and reduction of stress or burnout.
Physicians continue to ask four questions of potential digital solutions:
- Does it work?
- Will I receive proper payment?
- Will I be liable?
- Will it work in my practice or workflow?
The technology gap isn’t a matter of physicians avoiding digital solutions. In fact, the adoption of digital tools continues to grow across genders, ages, and specialties. However, physicians sometimes shy away from technical tools that prove unreliable, insecure, or overly difficult to use and integrate into the practice. It comes as no surprise then that integration with EHR and performing as well as traditional care were requirements in both surveys.
Prepare to Succeed: Tips for Introducing New Tech
How can physicians close the gap in their own practice? First, examine the healthcare solutions at hand. Do they address key drivers and requirements? Ideally, these solutions were created with physician input, particularly around common challenges, care standards, and practice needs. If the solutions appear to create more problems than they solve, it may be time to reconsider your current technology toolbox.
Apprehension and resistance to change still play a role in poor adoption rates, even with effective and intuitive technology. Practice owners, administrators, and providers striving to add technology to a practice can present new solutions in the best light by considering evidence-based information about the tool. As you work to integrate new technologies more fully into your practice, be sure to answer the following questions:
- What is its practical application?
Explore how the solution will help patients, improve the practice, and integrate into daily workflows. Consider how the daily use of each solution will vary for each physician.
- What current issues in the practice does the solution address?
If your practice has a particularly large technology gap, pay special attention to this step. Technology-averse users will respond more favorably to solutions that actually solve a current pain-point.
- How can you best get administrative and clinical staff up-to-speed on the most valuable features of the solution?
Be sure to accurately budget for and take advantage of vendor-provided training to fully understand the technology, including mobile apps. Otherwise key functionality could be missed. Have an in-house staff member who is technology savvy? They can also be engaged to help walk other team members with day-to-day processes. Address any concerns about privacy and security thoroughly.
To close the technology gap in your practice, look for solutions that include robust training programs. Even the most intuitive solutions will require onboarding and support to achieve their maximum benefits.
At RXNT, we provide unlimited training for our solutions at no additional cost. Since 1999, we’ve developed tools designed to solve the most pressing challenges for healthcare providers. To find out more about technology solutions, contact our team today.