Consumer Rights: What Patients Should Expect From Technology-Driven Healthcare

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The intersection of technology and patient care is a significant modern development, although improvements made possible thanks to this overlap has left individuals with great expectations that providers need to meet every time.

Access to health information, data privacy, and transparency in care processes are rights rather than privileges – and as healthcare providers toe the line with advancing tech, the onus is on them to adhere to these demands.

This alignment is about both compliance with industry regulations and also investing in excellence. So with that in mind, let’s break down exactly what this means for patients and practitioners alike.

Investigating Access to Personal Health Information

While all patients should be able to access their health records via the web, one study found that 58% of service users had yet to make use of digital portals for this purpose. This is as much about ensuring people are made aware of this possibility as it is actually delivering the necessary services themselves, and so healthcare providers have to step up to the plate to inform and educate.

Here’s what patients should anticipate when it comes to accessing their information:

  • Immediate Entry Points: Patients should have prompt access to their medical records through secure online portals. This immediacy affords a level of autonomy that was previously unattainable.
  • User-Friendly Interfaces: Patients require platforms that are intuitive and navigable. Anything less obscures more than it reveals.
  • Complete Medical Histories: Expect not just snapshots but full albums, detailing past visits, prescriptions, lab results, and more.
  • Educational Resources: Beyond raw data, contextual information should be readily available. Understanding medical jargon and treatment pathways demystifies healthcare experiences, empowering individuals to take charge of their well-being.

Providers who tune into this frequency will find patient engagement amplified and satisfaction scores soaring, which is of course an outcome where everyone benefits. Those that don’t could suffer severe reputational damage – as has been seen with certain telehealth brands, for example.

Upholding Data Privacy in Healthcare

Privacy is another fundamental right, and with rising concerns over data breaches and unwarranted disclosure, consumers need to expect and demand this of healthcare providers. Given that the authorities were alerted to 540 breaches by healthcare-adjacent businesses in 2023 alone, when personal health information is at stake, there’s no wiggle room. Here’s how technology can safeguard patient privacy:

  • Ironclad Security Measures: High-standard encryption and secure user authentication should be the norm for any platform handling sensitive medical data.
  • Transparent Data Usage Policies: Patients deserve clear communication on how their data will and won’t be used—no small print tricks or pages of legalese to interpret.
  • Control Over Personal Information: It’s about granting individuals the keys to their data castle. With the help of platforms such as CMD medical office software, patients can manage consent and easily opt-out of data sharing that doesn’t align with their preferences.
  • Regular Compliance Updates: As regulations evolve, so should technology. Frequent updates ensure that systems remain ahead of potential vulnerabilities.

A provider’s commitment to these principles both instills confidence and also solidifies a reputation for excellence and conscientious care.

The Transparency Transformation

Patients want greater insight into their doctors’ decision-making process, particularly when it comes to specificity surrounding their condition, but this is not always forthcoming. For example, only 20% of people categorized as obese are given this information by their physicians, meaning that issues can be treated without a clear appreciation for what the root cause might be. This means that transparency in healthcare is a transformative process, and one which relies on tech to deliver on its promise. Here’s what this evolution looks like:

  • Traceable Treatment Pathways: Patients should expect clear roadmaps for their treatment plans, including what to expect at each stage and why certain decisions are made.
  • Billing Breakdowns: Costs should never be cloaked in mystery. Itemized billing provides insight into exactly what patients are paying for—fostering trust and deterring disputes.
  • Quality Metrics Disclosures: Clinics and hospitals can build credibility by sharing performance data such as success rates, recovery statistics, and patient satisfaction scores—demystifying quality care indicators.

This level of openness nurtures an informed patient community and also invites them to become active participants in their health journey. In turn the outcomes from treatment can improve, because people have a stake in and an understanding of each step. And given that some providers have had to rebrand to escape past scandals, there’s a real commercial need for transparency as well.

The Mutual Benefits of Tech-Aligned Care

As much as 30% of all data stored globally is health-related, and 35% of spending in this sector is tech-focused, so it’s obvious that there’s a crossover between what patients are asking for and what providers are willing to allocate resources to. The mutual benefits of this alignment extend beyond clinical results:

  • Efficient Operations: Streamlined scheduling, digital record keeping, and automated reminders bolster operational efficiency—freeing up providers to focus on what they do best.
  • Increased Patient Engagement: An informed patient is an engaged one. With easy access to their health information, patients are more likely to take proactive steps in their care.
  • Enhanced Communication: Secure messaging and telehealth options break down barriers between visits—ensuring continuity of care and fostering strong provider-patient relationships. Healthcare businesses have learnt a lot from email marketing in this regard, treating patients as valued customers and individuals rather than a homogenous group.
  • Analytics for Improvement: Harnessing data is about reflection on its meaning, not just the convenience of online accessibility. Advanced analytics help identify patterns, predict outcomes, and tailor treatments to individual needs.

So for patients and practitioners alike, the combination of tech with attentive, personalized care creates a historic situation in which every stakeholder is benefitting from the forward steps being taken today.

Final Thoughts

The basic principle of tech’s application to healthcare is that it gives consumers a legitimate reason to expect the organizations they interact with to meet or exceed expectations relating to their rights. Whether that’s regarding data privacy or care personalization, practitioners now also have a means to live up to the promise of their life-saving, life-enhancing profession.

Sofia Ayaz
Sofia Ayaz
Sofia Ayaz is a successful entrepreneur, founder of 99Consumer, and a contributor on Newsbreak. She specializes in consumer-focused innovations and has led her company from its inception to a successful acquisition.