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Low-tech Solutions May Help Your Company Provide Value

Jun 15

Hospitals and health systems are leading the way in integrating a care management platform, and technology has the potential to tackle some of our most severe health-care concerns.

Artificial intelligence is being utilized to detect illnesses, and surgery is being performed by robots. They're looking at new pharmacological advances and gene therapy applications. In the near future, they may even be able to create 3-D organs on demand.

These advancements were highlighted earlier this year during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival's Interactive Health and MedTech track, where many speeches focused on medical technology's potential to revolutionize how we receive and give care.

Despite all of the excitement, tried-and-true, low-tech solutions — solutions that hospitals and health systems are adopting to enhance value in their operations — receive little attention. Low-tech alternatives hold a lot of potential, particularly in this difficult economic context.

They're versatile and have a wide range of capabilities. They might be utilized in any hospital of any size. They're also cost-effective. They do not require a significant financial investment. They're designed to have a simplistic look. They're also low-tech, relying on existing technology only distantly. They won't need the acquisition of pricey or new equipment.

They are, after all, human. They require human interaction and connection to function, which will enhance long-term care coordination and integration. Hospitals and health systems of all sorts employ practical tools on a regular basis to deliver value.

Hospitals, for example, have realized the value of a simple, low-tech technique of paying attention to where scarce resources are allocated. The critical access hospital Russell (Kansas) Regional Hospital focuses on strategic investments to promote energy efficiency, which has resulted in a 43 percent reduction in energy usage over a three-year period, saving more than $120,000 each year.

Hospitals have also changed dramatically as a result of giving patients more influence over their care. The Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas has launched a program that allows selected patients to self-administer long-term antibiotics instead of depending on medical professionals. By minimizing inpatient stays for patients who might be treated at home, Parkland was able to make the most of its limited resources.

Collaboration with other groups to address socioeconomic determinants of health has yielded significant outcomes for hospitals and health systems. When the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System in Chicago teamed up with the Center for Housing and Health to assist chronically homeless persons in moving into completely self-sufficient and permanent housing, their health care expenditures reduced by 42 percent on average. These people were 35% less likely to go to the emergency department, where treatment can be quite expensive. They began to go to clinics on a more frequent basis.

Other low-tech alternatives include adding additional time to patient sessions. According to research, 80% of diagnoses may be determined based purely on the patient's account. 1 Making time for patients to open up to doctors and share their stories is a low-tech but extremely beneficial opportunity.

Group appointments, telephone care, and video-assisted training combined with telephonic group support are some low-tech approaches that hospitals might emulate and expand with minimum investment.

While high-tech discoveries get a lot of press, it's important not to ignore the low-tech solutions that are right in front of our eyes.