The pandemic has directed a spotlight on how digital tools can lighten the load on healthcare systems by shortening the time between seeing a doctor or a therapist. In telehealth, we’ve seen digital transformation accelerate rapidly in 2020. According to a Definitive Healthcare survey, 23% of health executives agree that increased telehealth usage is the trend that will have the most significant impact on the healthcare industry over the next year.
Connecting patients and doctors virtually has increased access to care, but also allowed providers to reach health consumers in a manner that is intuitive, engaging and easy. According to an Amwell study, millennials are the most likely generation to want to use telehealth, and the most likely generation to have used it. Even seniors have been open to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the unique health and safety needs of this year. Yet despite these major strides in the telehealth industry, fifty-six percent of people don’t feel they get the same level of care/value from a virtual visit as from an in-person visit, according to a Deloitte Insights survey.
This means that while telehealth companies might have carved a path for a more digital-friendly, virtual patient experience, to continue to succeed in a post COVID world, they will need to devise sticky digital experiences to engage and retain patients, to eventually provide improved health outcomes.
Challenges in telehealth
What are the challenges that telehealth companies currently face? One hurdle is to keep up with the demand. The CDC reported that during the last week of March 2020, telehealth companies experienced a 154% increase in telehealth compared to 2019. Forrester predicts more than one billion virtual healthcare interactions will occur by the end of the year. It can be easy enough to generate interest in a virtual solution to a problem, but developing long-term, engaging relationships with patients is a difficult initiative to scale. However, when done well, by providing the right care at the right time, telehealth can lead to better, more trackable outcomes to bolster staying power beyond the pandemic.
Telehealth and mental health
Behavioral health in particular poses a unique set of challenges among telehealth providers. The reality is that we simply do not have enough mental health clinicians to meet the demand using traditional treatment, or a one-size-fits-all approach. In October 2020, the American Psychological Association released its annual Stress in America report, which states, “nearly 1 in 5 adults (19%) say their mental health is worse than it was at this time last year.” Clinicians and social workers must be empowered to engage with patients throughout their patient journey to provide the appropriate and personalized care.
Serenity Clinical Builder for behavioral health
Clinical Builder empowers clinicians to build and deliver care materials rapidly, and at scale. Some key benefits of the tool include:
Optimizing therapist choice
In a stressful year, many are suffering from a unique set of behavioral health problems. From many, “seeking mental health requires mental health,” as individuals across the US continue to suffer from unique behavioral health problems. Clinical Builder’s Conversational AI tooling can be used to help patients navigate through the process of finding the right therapist for them, by matching therapist expertise with their concerns.
Clinical Builder’s Assessments feature could even allow therapists to send patients clinical assessments such as PHQ-9 or a GAD-7 questionnaire, to better prepare them for their session. Furthermore, clinicians could decrease the likelihood of drop-off between scheduling and attending the virtual appointment using guided chat and the deployment of appropriate clinical care materials, available in the Clinical Builder Library.
There’s no dog eating this clinical homework
For many patients undergoing mental health treatment, the cognitive and behavioral therapies are often part of their treatment. “Homework” is often used to increase the efficacy of those treatments, by encouraging patients to practice skills taught outside of therapy. Clinical Builder allows clinicians to rapidly build and deploy care materials to their patients, ranging from standard clinical modules on Defeating Depression or Coping with Social Isolation to entirely clinician-built protocols, to keep them engaged.
Private, consistent and empathetic communication keeps patients involved, evolving the relationship between providers from transactional to relational. This new approach to care management in-between therapy sessions lets you curate personalized, clinician-to-client conversations for your audiences, then publish them on your own interface. Automated periodic check-ins, journaling tools and other personalized mental health resources ensures that telehealth companies can invest in, monitor and iterate on the best tools for their patients, using Clinical Builder.
Collaborate and iterate using Insights
Therapists and clinical content managers can also track engagement and usage to optimize their delivery of care materials, with the consent of the patient. Any pre-scripted or original clinical content’s popularity, and patient engagement with it can be tracked over time. These Analytics and Insights are made available to all Clinical Builder users, without any need for technical knowledge or engineering support.
At doc.ai, we believe that putting clinicians and care management teams in the driver’s seat empowers them to deliver the best care, at scale. Learn more about how Serenity Clinical Builder can help by scheduling a demo.