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Simplifying Technology to Increase Patient Engagement

August 2, 2016 By Perry Price
  • Perry Price
  • August 2, 2016

In the digital frontier of 21st century healthcare, providers and telehealth vendors can now be heard using acronyms that until recently had been mainly reserved for industries like banking. As technology continues to become a valuable tool to increase patients’ involvement and engagement in their own care, this change is here to stay: APIs aren’t just for bankers.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are rapidly becoming a hot topic among healthcare professionals who seek to implement digital health technology to improve patient engagement.

Why would a back-end user interface be used to improve patient engagement?

Namely, simplification.

With a steady rise in telehealth implementation comes increasingly more advanced technology – not all of which is user friendly for providers or patients. A simplified system that allows doctors and patients to quickly access the necessary information is not typically the order of the day, especially when it comes to electronic health records (EHRs).

Since one of the benefits of telehealth is enabling patients to become more engaged with their healthcare program by providing more access and control, which in turn often improves their health outcomes, it would be counter-intuitive to deploy technology that is so difficult or cumbersome to use that it impedes telemedicine’s success in raising patient engagement.

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The key to helping providers become more engaged with their patients is human connection and a sense of personal touch. For telehealth users, this is achieved by providing digital options that are easy to use, such as text alerts or video conferencing for appointments, to meet the patients where they are.

Part of this approach involves making the technology as user friendly as possible for varying demographics, including senior citizens, by improving the front-end user experience. Industry standards and vendor neutral APIs play an important role by ensuring the back-end supports a user-friendly and collaborative front-end.

For example, as health IT systems pile on top of one another, using applications and systems that are created with industry-standard vendor-neutral APIs ensures system collaboration so the technology works together seamlessly to improve patient and provider experience.

When systems are designed to “click together” quickly and simply on the back end, that efficiency translates directly to the front end. And when it comes to user engagement, the easier a tool is to use, the more likely it is to be used regularly and without apprehension.

Vendor neutral designs drastically improve the storing, accessing, and transmission of EHRs, improving care coordination between facilities and placing patients back at the center of their own care – part of bringing a personal, human touch to an era of glass and wireless healthcare.

After all, healthcare will always be a person-focused industry, regardless of the technology we use to connect. APIs are just one way to make that connection a bit simpler.

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