How can healthcare technology humanize patient relationships?
The main value of healthcare technology isn’t just about driving efficiency. It’s also about creating room for important “inefficiencies”. Rather than using tech to simply increase volume, let’s use it to make us more inefficient where it matters. So, how can healthcare technology humanize patient relationships? By saving time on administrative tasks and care processes, clinicians gain precious time for building valuable patient relationships.
These relationships are integral in helping patients achieve their desired health outcomes. In my book ‘Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare’, I spent a lot of time discussing the importance of these clinician-patient bonds especially when treating chronic conditions like pain or kidney disease.
With the extra time that healthcare technology affords us, we’re able to build stronger bonds with our patients which hopefully leads to better outcomes in the future. This shift away from a fee-for-service model prepares us for upcoming value-based reimbursement schemes. We’re no longer paid solely based on CPT codes but rather by the positive outcomes we help create!
Humanizing Healthcare through Technology
The ever-evolving landscape of healthcare technology has shifted the way medical professionals deliver care. While many see this as a means to improve efficiency and reduce administrative workload, I believe that the true value of these advancements lies in their potential to humanize patient relationships.
The Point of Healthcare Technology
While preparing for a presentation on technology-enabled care at a university research event, I was frequently asked: What is the point of all this healthcare technology being used to drive efficiency? The question is valid. As we implement more advanced systems and tools into our practices, it’s becoming evident that they are reducing time previously spent on administration or documentation. This trend leads us towards an increasingly efficient process of delivering care.
However, my perspective diverges from the common viewpoint here. Instead of using technological advancement merely as a vehicle for pushing more patients through our clinics (the “if you’re not drilling, you’re not billing” mentality), I see its prime benefit in allowing us to be inefficient where it truly matters—building meaningful relationships with our patients.
Inefficiency Where It Counts
This may sound counterintuitive at first glance—after all, isn’t inefficiency something we should work against? However, when it comes to “non-billable” aspects such as relationship-building and patient communication—the soft skills in healthcare—I consider some degree of inefficiency crucially beneficial.
By making us more efficient in administrative tasks and procedural aspects of care delivery, healthcare technology provides clinicians with extra time—an invaluable resource which can then be invested into building stronger connections with patients. These enhanced relationships can subsequently aid those individuals in achieving better health outcomes—a fundamental goal within any health system.
Moving Towards Better Outcomes
In my book, Better Outcomes, A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare, I’ve extensively discussed the importance of patient-clinician relationships. They play a pivotal role in treating long-term diseases like chronic pain and kidney disease among other conditions.
The time saved through technology-enabled efficiency enables us to establish deeper connections with patients—a factor that could significantly contribute towards improving future outcomes. This approach also propels us away from the prevailing fee-for-service model and aligns us more closely with value-based reimbursement schemes—where payment is determined not by the number of procedures performed but by the quality of health results achieved.
Therefore, investing time into “non-billable” activities such as building stronger relationships with our patients becomes an essential component in securing positive outcomes down the line.
Healthcare technology holds immense potential for revolutionizing patient care—not only by making processes more efficient but also by providing caregivers with opportunities to humanize their interactions where it truly matters—their relationship with their patients.
What are some ways you see healthcare technology helping to humanize healthcare?
For more content like this, check out our Insights Page and check out The Better Outcomes Show. Or if you want to humanize healthcare through your business or organization, learn how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help here! You can also schedule a call with Rafi to discuss your company’s positioning strategy and brainstorm a business development plan here. Check out Rafi’s latest book, Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare, on Amazon!
Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show and the author of Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare. His career trajectory includes 10+ years of experience in healthcare management, clinical operations, programmatic development, marketing & business development. He even spent some time as an Assistant Professor in a Graduate Program of Occupational Therapy and has served on numerous boards and regulatory committees. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences. His work on Telehealth has been discussed in Forbes.
Today, Rafi helps innovative healthcare companies like technology startups, platforms, and SaaS companies develop effective positioning strategy and business development plans through his consulting work. He also leverages his experience as a professor and academic to speak and train on the topics around humanizing the healthcare experience. In addition, Rafi also owns and operates ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic treating patients with musculoskeletal pain.
Work With Me
If you are an innovative healthcare company looking to humanize healthcare through direct service delivery, technology, a device, or software, then reach out. We'd love to talk with you about how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help.
What we can help you do:
✅ Clarify your product, service, or organization's positioning...
✅ Identify what is most valuable and least valuable to your targeted healthcare stakeholder...
We help you not only craft your positioning strategy, we help you identify your highest value offer for your target audience, align that value with your market, and help you develop a business development system that leverages insights from market data & industry-specific resources to enable your business development team to effectively drive business for your organization.
In short, we help your whole organization become focused on the most important thing in healthcare: people – the people who work for your organization, and the people who your organization treats or serves.