The medical world is changing — How can we keep up?
Friday, January 23, 2015
Healthcare is a dynamic industry. It is constantly changing as new modalities, treatments and technologies are discovered or even rebutted.
Even with the changes in technology, diagnostics and treatments, the healthcare environment has stayed relatively static. The patient seeks treatment, and the healthcare provider treats based on the needs of the patient. The provider of care bills for services and is paid.
For the most part, the healthcare providers have wielded most of the control with little resistance. However, this is changing, and the power has shifted.
Now, the patient's satisfaction of a hospital has some weight. The core measure data is available for patients to compare hospitals. Reimbursement is tied to good care — both actualized and perceived.
The healthcare environment in which we used to comfortably practice has completely shifted into new and uncharted territories, and little guidance is available to safely navigate.
In taking care of patients, most look to current literature for evidence and support of care decisions. The medical literature is robust with information, however, as we reinvent the healthcare environment, we must also add to a new body of knowledge.
Unfortunately, most healthcare communities are attempting to navigate this new uncharted environment in silos, unattached to other communities. With the transparency of information, the healthcare marketplace has become quite competitive.
Patients can now see actual data on hospitals instead of going by reputations. Therefore, the sharing of information has been limited as hospital systems compete and struggle to gain footholds in the newly created healthcare environment.
Although professional organization meetings have traditionally been the accepted place to network and share information, those live interactions have now transcended into social media. LinkedIn, one of the most popular professional social media sites, has created an environment to network and discuss current problems and solutions for all industries. However, the healthcare community has been slow to respond to this format for information sharing.
"The rest of the world is crowdsourcing through social media, but healthcare seems to be falling behind," shares Brittney Wilson, social media influencer and author of "The Nerdy Nurses Guide to Technology." "Instead of throwing your problem into the void that is Twitter, why not go to where your peers are and to where you'll have a real live person that helps connect you with the right people to solve your problems?"
Another new social media platform, Next Wave Connect, aims to be the "first healthcare industry-specific enterprise social media collaboration." Essentially, they want to remove the silos in the healthcare marketplace. It is the one unique place where all participants are there for healthcare-related information sharing.
"The benefits for healthcare professionals on Next Wave Connect over other platforms is that community managers can help you connect with the right people to answer your questions and solve your problems," Wilson said. "Instead of sending out dozens of emails or wasting time on the phone, you can post your question once in a few minutes, and a community manager will work to find the people who have the answers to you questions."
As our healthcare environment continues to evolve and patients become savvier consumers, so must the healthcare providers. We need to seek out what works, what has been successful and what will help to continue to provide optimal care to our patients.
We cannot be silos, isolated from our peers. We have to be more proactive to seek other solutions and quickly. We have to be open to doing things a different way, but more importantly, we need to share information. Ultimately, the financial health of our healthcare institutions is relying on our action and collaboration.
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