The Future of Primary Care After COVID: Innovation and Technology

During the pandemic, it was a relief when you knew there was a primary care doctor near you. However, many of us know just how slow healthcare has been to change with the times. Some areas were quick to improve and innovate while some remained stagnant, like primary care.

Primary care has been struggling to manage the increased demands for its services. Part of this is due to competing priorities, like administrative work. The administration handles electronic health records, volume-based compensation, and insurance conglomerates. And this results in burnout that impedes innovative progress.

That’s not to say that innovation was completely non-existent in the field of primary care. For example, physicians once opted to use Direct Primary Care (DPC) models. This enabled more physician-patient interaction which improved patient satisfaction.

But the biggest step that primary care took was the adoption of telemedicine due to the pandemic.

The Momentum of Primary Care Offices Near Me

With the pandemic, there’s been a dramatic spike in the number of people who receive care online. In 2021, 64% of U.S. households used telehealth services in the span of 12 months. However, before the pandemic, telehealth services were barely used.

This proves that the healthcare system can quickly change in times of need, but that’s only the beginning. They need to keep moving to lay a solid foundation for the future of primary care. They need to maintain the momentum and focus on more innovations to improve care delivery.

Using Predictive Models For Medical Doctors Near You

Improving the System Through Digital Technology

With the help of data collected during daily telehealth encounters, some companies were able to use AI for insights and building predictive models. It enabled them to predict COVID cases and surges which allowed them for efficient allocation of PPE and ventilators.

Consequently, hospitals could deliver better healthcare services. Doctors were able to monitor patients even from opposite coasts during the surges. Pre-pandemic, sharing resources across geographies at a massive scale was unheard of. But the technology and predictive models helped transform how care is given across the U.S.

Improving the System Through Digital Technology

Four decades ago, it was costly and complex to adopt technology into health services. There were no technologies that are common to this day, like smartphones and tablets. As technology became more mainstream over the years, its value in the health sector shined.

Different parts of the healthcare system have been improved by technology.

a. Communication

With technology, finding primary care offices near you became much easier. This is especially true for the elderly who can’t leave the house. You can schedule virtual appointments with your primary care doctor.

With technology, they can diagnose and monitor your condition from afar. If you need to schedule follow-up sessions, it’s efficient and convenient through the internet. You can easily reach out to your primary care doctor for any concerns.

b. Clinical Support

Integrating clinical support into primary healthcare helps doctors coordinate and ensure its continuity. Electronic health records contain important information about an individual’s health. This includes their medical conditions and medications.

With the electronic health record, the information is shared for referrals so doctors can make timely decisions. Duplicate care processes and unplanned hospitalizations can be avoided. This increases the efficiency of treatment and can very well save lives.

c. Increased Capacity

Technology has redirected some hospital settings and treatments to people’s homes. Hence, remote care is moving health systems towards a people-centered health service model.

This involves home monitoring where they can keep an eye on blood pressure and medication adjustment. Hospitals also offer blood and urine testing despite being remote. Technology has given patients access to tools that will help manage chronic conditions in home settings.

This allows hospitals to have more capacity, especially during the surge of the pandemic. More patients had access to care despite the lack of vacancies to accommodate patients in person. There’s no doubt that this method will continue post-pandemic as well.

The Innovators

a. Startups

The biggest drivers of change tend to be the startups that challenge the status quo. They are pioneers who demonstrate alternative and innovative ways of delivering primary care.

They develop team-based care and full virtual care delivery models. They always push for more possible developments within the system. In effect, they force large and well-established medical organizations to think outside the box.

b. Big Health Organizations

The pandemic allowed the big healthcare organizations to set themselves apart. They had to implement new technology, like telemedicine, and adopt advanced systems.

They had no choice but to accelerate the healthcare system’s evolution process. It also showed how flawed the system was initially. However, not all organizations were comfortable with making changes. Hence, they relied on telephone visits and may return to “normal” procedures as soon as possible.

c. The Government

Innovations can only do so much until they receive government recognition and support. Moving forward, we need innovative policies that can control the costs related to pharmaceuticals. They also need to introduce shared cost savings and incentivize primary care.

They need to present coverage solutions that let doctors do their job: to care for patients. If medicare doctors near me are too busy with papers, patients' lives are at stake. Doctors shouldn’t be stuck pushing papers and jumping through administrative hoops.

Conclusion

Primary care has no doubt evolved due to the needs created during the pandemic. Telemedicine which was once negligible has become a vital means of getting treatment. It allowed for easier communication between patients and physicians.

Patients can be monitored in the safety of their homes thanks to various technological devices and software. Doctors also have access to electronic health records so they can avoid duplicate treatments. They can refer their patients to fellow doctors without worrying about shared information.

And because some patients are treated at home, the hospitals now have more capacity to accommodate those in serious conditions. Hence, treating more patients and giving them higher chances of survivability. The healthcare system will keep evolving and its future is bright. That is as long as startups, big health organizations, and the government all work together. Startups will keep being innovative and challenging large health organizations to do the same. Meanwhile, the government must develop and enact policies that will keep the innovations accessible.

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