Care Gap Analysis and Unified Communications: Articulating the Data that Matters Most

Care Gap Analysis and Unified CommunicationsWhether you’re in the workplace or having daily interactions with friends and family, unified communications is changing the way people connect with one another. With smartphones and mobile devices glued to our fingertips and new social media apps on the rise, you don’t have to look too far to see that our society operates with a 24/7 mindset. Although these constant and instantaneous interactions can sometimes get a bad rap, unified communications may actually be improving relationships, especially in the healthcare sector.

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Unified communications (UC) — the integration of different modes of communication, such as voice, video, chat, SMS, or desktop sharing — is booming today, dramatically enhancing the way we communicate with one another. For example, the healthcare industry has experienced significant changes through this widespread adoption of UC models — patient engagement solutions are increasing while gaps in both communication and care are seeing significant decreases.

Care Gap Analysis: What it Means for Healthcare

Care gap analysis, the process by which shortcomings in treatment plans are recognized and used as actionable information to improve patient care, is a growing concern in the healthcare industry. With the rise of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and a growing focus on keeping people healthy in our nation today, care gap analysis is becoming more popular. It is becoming increasingly important that healthcare organizations assess whether the needs of care are being met and study the gaps that currently exist in care. Examples of care gaps include failure in medication adherence, lack of follow-up after diagnosing a condition or inadequate scheduling over the course of a treatment. Today’s care gap analysis work aims to create deeper levels of patient engagement, while also reducing cost.

The Data: How UC is Affecting Healthcare

According to Grand View Research, the patient engagement solutions market is expected to increase fivefold in size from $7.4 billion in 2015 to $39.3 billion by 2024. With such a significant increase in patient engagement expected in the years ahead, the need for robust technical solutions (i.e., unified communications) will only continue to grow. One of the primary benefits that unified communications brings to healthcare is the way in which it meets the patient’s needs for flexibility and convenience. Through a unified communications model, patients can remain engaged with their own health even while on-the-go, as long as they have access to their mobile device.

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The 2017 Patient Engagement Perspectives Study conducted by CDW Healthcare CommunIT further demonstrates the importance of unified communications in healthcare. After surveying 200 patients with chronic conditions, researchers found that 70 percent of patients stated they had become more engaged with their healthcare in the past two years, (up from 57 percent in 2016) due to greater online access to personal healthcare records and online patient portals.

Increased patient engagement isn’t the only benefit of using a unified communications solution. Cost within the healthcare system can be significantly reduced as well. A 2013 study by Ponemon Institute found that using outdated communication technologies decreased clinical productivity and increased patient discharge time while costing U.S. hospitals over $8.3 billion annually.

The Solution: UC is Making the Difference

We’re making progress in closing the gap in quality healthcare, and unified communications solutions are making all the difference. Technology that makes it easier and more efficient for patients to schedule appointments can help prevent unnecessary deteriorations in conditions that may lead to readmission for certain patients.

The data on the benefits of unified communications clearly indicates that UC is making a big splash within the industry. As technology continues to evolve at this unprecedented pace, unified communications will only continue to create a more engaged patient base.

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