2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Health Care Professionals
IN A NUTSHELL:
- New Year’s Resolutions help with goal setting in health care
- Concentrate on ways technology can improve patient care
- Important to focus on your own needs as well as your staff to prevent burnout
New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity for health care facilities and health care professionals alike to build upon their continued commitment to patient care.
2020 was one of the most impactful years for the health care industry in our lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic forced facilities and providers to rethink health care at all levels, including but not limited to:
Aside from the current pandemic, health care faced several other hurdles which along with COVID-19 will continue to impact the industry during 2021, such as:
- Increase in physician burnout
- Rural hospital closures
- Rise in cyberattacks
- Medical school debt and mental health concerns
While New Year’s Resolutions are historically not the most effective goal-setting method on their own, learning from unique, firsthand experiences throughout this past year can help resolutions serve as a starting point to refocus your efforts involving patient care, facility operations, and care team coordination.
Take the time to meet with your peers and team members to discuss what areas your facility will improve upon throughout the year ahead:
2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Health Care Professionals:
If your facility hasn’t done this already and is still using spreadsheets or other manual methods to complete credentialing, this New Year’s Resolution should be at the top of your list for 2021. With the multitude of documents that need to be collected, processed, and verified, credentialing is clearly a targeted area for improved efficiency with the help of digital technology. An increasing number of facilities are ditching the spreadsheet and other manual, tedious forms of paper-based credentialing which can cause the process to last several months—costing the facility as well as the individual health care provider hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moving the credentialing process into the digital sphere immediately offers efficiency for health care facilities and consequently reduces administrative burden for everyone involved while having a positive impact on the overall process and maintains patient trust in the health care provider. Ready Doc™ by Intiva Health helps facilities save time, save money, and reduce risk.
Increase Patient Satisfaction and Direct Communication With Telehealth:
The changes the healthcare industry experienced throughout this year were likely the tip of the iceberg for what is to come in 2021. As the volume of patients skyrocketed, health care professionals were forced to care for more patients while also handling more administrative tasks. Health care professionals will need to find ways to guarantee patient satisfaction while providing quality care. Telehealth will likely remain the standard for patient care and office visits during most of 2021 and perhaps the foreseeable future, as it enables patients to stay at home and communicate with physicians virtually, thus reducing the spread of the virus. A recent report indicated that, due to the imposition of physical distancing measures, the average health care professional now sees patients through telehealth 50 to 175 times more often than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Also keep in mind that, as a health care professional, one of your most underrated skills is your ability to effectively and compassionately communicate with patients. It is important that you adopt best practices during telehealth visits which will ultimately increase patient satisfaction.
Improve Care Team Communication and Coordination:
Common industry practices, such as the use of short messaging services (SMS) or personal electronic devices for care team coordination, opens the door for deficiencies in HIPAA compliance resulting in enormous monetary penalties for health care systems—especially if it transmits PHI. Monetary penalties aside, effective, efficient, and accurate communication and coordination is crucial for positive patient outcomes. When health care professionals are not communicating effectively, patient safety is at risk for several reasons: lack of critical information, misinterpretation of information, unclear orders over the telephone, and overlooked changes in status.
Miscommunication or delayed time-sensitive information can have significant consequences for patients and increase the possibility of medical errors to occur. Having a secure messaging tool that meets industry compliance regulations will be even more important than it has always been once the Federal government lifts the limited waiver of HIPAA sanctions and penalties put in place due to COVID-19. This applies to both internal communication and external, provider-patient communication such as telehealth.
Embrace New Digital Tools and Build Your Online Presence:
Patients are increasingly trust online reviews concerning physicians and other health care professionals, which means it is more important than ever that your online presence reflect the quality of your practice. Mobile devices are quickly becoming a backbone in today’s medical practice. Use 2021 to research ways on how you can make your smartphone a valuable clinical tool to reflect your personal and professional success. A phone can be used for HIPAA-Compliant Messaging Apps, updating your location on sites such as Google Maps, or adding information about your career on various networking websites.
Find a Work-Life Balance:
Multiple studies and surveys show that, even before the pandemic, physician burnout reached unhealthy levels in 2020, and many providers are seeking a better work-life balance as a solution. The American Academy of Family Physicians offers helpful tips on achieving work-life balance, including creating a life calendar separate from your work, scheduling intentional date nights, creating yearly and weekly bucket lists, and creating a work-life ritual. Learn about other ways to prevent physician burnout.
Take Continuing Medical Education Courses
In-person medical conferences are traditionally an excellent opportunity to learn about new developments and innovations in medicine—yet they became essentially non-existent following the novel coronavirus outbreak. Conferences switched to a digital format and will likely continue as such for much of 2021. While these conferences also serve as a way for physicians to earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits toward renewing their license, a digital conference isn’t for everyone. Nonetheless, CME credits remain a requirement for license renewal and are important for overall career growth. Health care professionals should focus on keeping up with taking CME/CEU course online throughout 2021 to meet state licensure requirements and improve the quality of patient care.
Increase Data Security:
The health care industry has continually been a target for hackers, ransomware, and a range of data breaches due to the value of patient data. Despite a global pandemic, 2020 was no exception. Several breaches throughout the year affected millions of patients from a single security incident—the largest affecting more than 11 million people in July of this year due to an incident involving Optum360, LLC, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. Experts predict the problem will only get worse in the year to come. Data breaches in the health care industry are likely to triple in volume next year, according to a new report by Black Book Market Research. More than 2,400 security professionals from 705 provider organizations were surveyed for the 2020 State of the Healthcare Cybersecurity Industry report. Survey participants were asked to identify gaps, vulnerabilities, and deficiencies in security that make hospitals and health care providers susceptible to data breaches and cyberattacks. Results from the survey suggest that 1,500 healthcare providers are vulnerable to data breaches of 500 or more records in 2021—representing a 300 percent increase over 2020. Nearly 75 percent of health systems, hospitals and physician organizations reported that their infrastructures are unprepared to respond to attacks and 96 percent of respondents felt that hackers are outpacing their medical enterprises, placing providers at a disadvantage.
What Intiva Health Offers:
Ready Doc™, developed by Intiva Health, allows for the fastest placement and ongoing credentialing of physicians, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals. The innovative platform reduces the time it takes to verify and onboard new medical practitioners at facilities, ensuring quicker access to services for patients.
A large part of this is made possible by the technology Ready Doc™ uses, Hashgraph Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), which is an alternative to blockchain. It is a distributed consensus mechanism utilizing a decentralized platform without servers.
Hashgraph utilizes the directed acyclic graph for storing and accessing information. Since every container of transactions is incorporated into the ledger, none are discarded, which makes DLT more efficient than blockchains. All of the branches never cease to exist and are woven together into a single whole. In the end, this creates a digital notarization that can never be destroyed, thus creating an indisputable verification of documents in your Ready Doc™ safe.
To learn more about how your facility can be ready with Ready Doc™ and secure your medical documents, schedule a FREE demo online today or call 844-413-2602.