When the healthcare industry took a tough hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and abruptly had to change operations, this affected everyone from patients to health professionals and much more. As COVID waves came and went, patients began to see the light at the end of the tunnel, face-to-face interactions/appointments were once again able to happen rather than being virtual, and most important, occur safely.
With physical meetings becoming an option, there came a new wave, not of COVID cases, but of patients seeking behavioral healthcare providers. Reports of behavioral health complications such as anxiety, depression, and trauma-related treatment saw growth, fueled by the pandemic and its life-changing consequences.
Before the pandemic took its toll on the healthcare industry, wait times to see a doctor were already ranging from weeks to months. Now, scheduling times have grown even more compounded by the industrywide staffing shortages and burnout rate—care providers are being tasked with seeing more patients with the same amount of time they had before.
Patients seeking behavioral health treatments are now presented with options on how they receive treatment, they can choose an in-person appointment, which includes filling out form after form, time in a lobby alongside others waiting for their name to be called.
Alternatively, they can stay in the comfort of their own home, complete electronic forms with ease, and just relax until their doctor calls them for their scheduled visit. Patients who chose the latter can be assured that their choice is valid. In fact, 96% of psychologists agreed or agreed strongly that the use of telehealth was useful as a therapeutic tool, with 93% agreeing that they would continue to offer their patients
Evolving to digital ease and value
Having an effective patient engagement platform enables providers to bypass once-common barriers between them and their patients such as distance or scheduling conflicts. Digital front doors allow for parties to coordinate efforts on behalf of the patient’s interest, providing quality care with seamless ease and convenience.
Digital front doors elevate the approach to behavioral healthcare interactions by offering a frictionless, integrated experience for both the patient and provider. By bringing together a comprehensive and varying range of data sources to streamline workflow and make the patient experience personalized and value-driven. Digital front doors allow health systems and providers to tailor each interaction with the patient—from initial outreach, to treatment, and recovery.
Keith Algozzine is co-founder and CEO of UCM Digital Health.