Patient Care And Patient Engagement Amidst Evolving Hybrid Care Model

Dr. Adam Tabriz

Physicians Need A Virtual Practice Workflow Process Model That Mirrors Their Actual Physical Clinic Operations.
Hybrid HealthcarePhoto byImage by Tumisu from Pixabay

Patient satisfaction and Health Equity have received unprecedented attention from today's healthcare leaders. What comprises optimally satisfying medical care and how we can reach health equity for all is a matter of widespread controversy. However, achieving a common consensus on ensuring patient satisfaction and equal healthcare options and opportunities for everyone reduces costs in the long run.

Patient engagement in self-care and their faculty to partner with their physician require particular prerequisites. One such provision is the digital logistic infrastructure that accommodates flexibility and extension of various Points of Care (POC) outside clinics and healthcare facilities.

Patient engagement is about creating continuity of support for patients irrespective of location and distance. That is only realistic with the integration of virtual care resources.
Patient carePhoto byGeorg Arthur PfluegeronUnsplash

The definition of "virtual care" is continually going through semantic revision, primarily parallel with the evolution of healthcare technologies. Nevertheless, when we talk about virtual care today, most of us may correlate it with the Telehealth system.

Virtual care is a broader term that typically characterizes any service delivered remotely away from the medical facility, typically over cyberspace.

Ensuring continuity of care via expansion of POC into cyberspace requires integrating in-person medical facility encounters with virtual care modality. Such ways of converging medical care delivery logistics can include video conferencing, patient monitoring, appointment scheduling, and follow-up visits.

Many healthcare leaders use the hybrid Care and work model to describe the integrated nature of the virtual / In-person Point of Care system.

Patient Care Workflow Process Amidst Hybrid Care Model

Patient care workflow is a series of actions and tasks that transpire day in and day out in a sequential manner or parallel to other activities while caring for a patient.

Workflow in every medical practice, just like other workflow procedures in other domains, may follow a linear process or predefined operational rules. And that process, as we outlined earlier in this piece, may or may not continue and parallel beyond the medical facility walls.

A typical medical practice workflow, for example, may start with the patient making an appointment, arriving at the clinic waiting room, and checking in with reception. After that, the patient will typically fill out the necessary forms, be admitted by a medical assistant, complete the visit, and go home.

A typical clinic workflow may have its particular mini-workflow processes between every step, and those steps may be unique to every medical practice.

In most medical practices, the workflow above has been handed through generations. That is why almost everyone who visits a medical clinic today knows the steps they will take to see their doctor and get the treatment they need. Yet, only some medical practices today have an official workflow to assess the efficiency of their daily operations.

A robust workflow is essential, particularly in today's ever-complex healthcare system. That is to ensure all facility team members understand their responsibilities and avoid redundant work, avoid duplicate tasks, provided all the technologies and software are up to date, and that all the designed and agreed processes are replicable.

Today all medical practices need the continual evaluation of workflow to maximize efficiency, enhance quality and patient safety, improve coordination and eliminate chaos in the work environment.

If we are still lagging in establishing a robust in-person workflow process, one should be reassured if they flop efficient remote patient engagement using current virtual care platforms.
Clinic WorkflowPhoto byAuthor Using Wonder Digital Arts

According to a recent report published by Integrated Care Journal (ICJ), virtual care settings fail some patients in the UK. Because according to the publication as it states:

“What is generally considered to be a virtual ward often extends to little more than remote monitoring at home. While this does free up hospital beds, the impact on both clinical time saving and patient outcomes falls well short of potential.”

The report relates the failure to a variety of missing links that offer:

  1. Access to the correct information at the right time.
  2. Establishing "seamless" patient engagement.
  3. Proactive rather than reactive management of health.
  4. Health equity by design
  5. Effective skill-mixing and empowerment
  6. Effective task management

The abovementioned challenges mean one thing and one thing only. “The virtual healthcare systems lack a hybrid state of patient care and Work model.

In other words, virtual care models not only need proper workflow standards but also, whatever workflow they abide by does not parallel what transpires in the in-person process and vice versa.

Indeed, the 21st-century healthcare system encounters virtual and in-person patient care mismatches. That is not only inefficient but also contrary to the primary intention of virtual care utility.

The virtual medical practice workflow process in a hybrid work model should mirror and parallel in-person patient care governance.

Many Aspects Of Constraints Of Remote Virtual Patient Visit In Its Logistics

Quality Patient care demands patient engagement, which is, in turn, about establishing a trusting relationship with the medical team.

Engaging patient in their care demands continuity of care that follows patients outside medical facilities. Hybrid workflow offers that by maintaining the continuity of medical care for the patient.

However, hybrid operations and work models demand an integrated logistic cyber-based infrastructure where every patient care team member can independently join(in-person or remotely), collaborate, exchange services, and interact in real time. That reflects precisely as they would if they encountered each in person. Likewise, various sensors or devices can plug in and seamlessly exchange data and information.


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