Engaged and digitally enhanced healthcare professionals: The research shows that healthcare professionals using digital health records already see a positive impact on quality of care (69%), their own satisfaction (64%) and patient outcomes (59%).
Results of the FHI in South Africa revealed a keen appetite for digital healthcare technology and use of digital health records – with 75% of the country’s healthcare professionals reporting that their own experience has improved with digital access to a patient’s full medical history. However, only 40% are currently utilising digital health records, potentially in part because of challenges around infrastructure and the cost of investing in this infrastructure. This is significantly lower than the 15-country average of 76% of healthcare professionals currently using digital health records.
While these challenges will remain a reality, the report broadly showed that where healthcare professionals are supported by technology, their own – and individuals’ – experience has been a positive one. This includes telehealth and AI, in particular.
“Telehealth – the remote access to and management of health – can, for example, bridge the gap for the 74% of South Africans who did not visit a healthcare professional when they had a medical reason to go,” said Jasper Westerink, CEO, Philips Africa. “Telehealth can not only drive greater access to care, it can also improve the patient experience by cutting down on the amount of time they need to wait to see a professional: 88% of patients reported having to wait over an hour to see a general practitioner, while 92% had to wait over an hour to see a specialist.”
AI also has a vital role to play, with the majority (91%) of South African healthcare professionals feeling comfortable using AI to treat patients. In fact, the country’s healthcare professionals show more confidence in using the technology than their counterparts across all 15 countries surveyed: 79% are comfortable using it for patient monitoring, compared to the 15-country average of 63%, while 76% are comfortable to use it to flag patient anomalies, compared to the 59% 15-country average.
Leveraging these technologies can therefore undoubtedly help achieve the Quadruple Aim by improving both the patient and healthcare professional experience, fostering better outcomes and lowering the cost of care.