While everyday activities are forced to virtual interactions during the COVID-19 crisis, resistance to the adoption of Virtual Care as a better way to do healthcare will diminish and rapidly become an expectation from patients and payers alike. Upstream Thinking, in partnership with a leading regional healthcare system, discovered opportunities to address key points in the patient experience with Virtual Care to create the most impact on readmission rates.

Four considerations when shaping your Virtual Care strategy to reduce readmissions:

1. Put your patients at the center: Start by engaging former patients to identify gaps in your patient experience that impact readmissions. Without understanding this perspective, you won’t know where to focus or how to frame problems effectively.

2. Own the entire experience: Providers can only do so much individually and would appreciate meaningful support for their patients. By consolidating virtual patient support resources, you can ensure a cohesive and consistent high-quality patient experience and improve outcomes across providers. When the intervention requires patient engagement to succeed, you can’t control readmissions without owning the experience.

3. Set expectations early: Patients can only prepare if they know what they are getting into and what kind of help and effort they’ll need to recover. Invest in ongoing patient and caregiver education. Mismatched expectations create patient and caregiver stress, resulting in poorer outcomes and undermining word of mouth advocacy for your brand.   

4. Technology is only as good as the process it enables: Design the workflow around the patient’s needs, then shape the use of technology to support that ideal. If you jump to the solution and start with a tech-first approach, your process will be dictated by the tech provider and not the needs of your customers or your organization.

Upstream has collaborated with healthcare systems, medical technology companies, payers, non-profits, philanthropic organizations, and government agencies to address key issues in health and healthcare at the local, national, and global scale. We helped shape the Virtual Care arm of one of the U.S.’ largest healthcare networks. In our work, we see technology fail because organizations jump to solutions before they understand the needs of people. By understanding the needs of people first, we can guide and shape the deployment of technology in smarter ways that work for patients, providers, and the organizations that support them.

The first step to driving impact is a conversation. Contact us today to explore ways these strategies can work for you. Learn more about our work on reducing readmissions here. Learn more about our work in healthcare here.