Everyone is in agreement that it is extremely costly for healthcare organisations such as hospitals, health insurance and occupational health companies, or those managing personal injury claims to assess patients with muscle and joint (musculoskeletal-MSK) problems. The on-paper argument for self-assessment tools in this area is 100% convincing, but the reality is that uptake is mixed. Not everyone is in agreement about how MSK assessment costs can be managed better while maintaining the required high standards of patient care.
It is clear for all to see that providing tools which patients complete that automate healthcare assessment will improve consistency, convenience and reduce the costs involved in delivering services, but introducing such tools isn’t always straightforward. In reality both clinicians and patients can often put up barriers when faced with such solutions.
At PhysioWizard® we believe that clinicians and patients who resist well planned, well developed and cleverly delivered tools are missing a trick. After all, Dr Google is the default healthcare resource for many people suffering from health issues today, so most patients are already convinced about the value of online.
Online health information seeking activities
In an American study (2013), 72% of internet users say they had looked online for health information of one kind or another within the past year. 39% of online health information seekers say they looked for information related to their own situation. Another 39% say they looked for information related to someone else’s health or medical situation. An additional 15% of these internet users say they were looking both on their own and someone else’s behalf.
When it comes to gender differences, it is reported that women are more likely than men to go online to figure out a possible diagnosis. Other groups that have a high likelihood of doing so include younger people, white adults, those who live in households earning $75,000 or more, and those with a college degree or advanced degrees. This means that patients are seeking out online health guidance already, so why are they reluctant to use online self-assessment tools that are provided by a known and trusted source?
Reasons for not using tools usually come about because tools are clunky or appear to speak a different language to the patient (medical or technical speak which the patient finds frustrating and confusing). The other reason is how the tool is presented to the patient. At PhysioWizard®, our online tool has been built to pass the 11-year-old reader and usage test, which means that only the most technophobic patient is likely to struggle with its interface. What’s more we’ve included the option to incorporate a face-to-face element, which we believe will transform patient uptake outcomes.
When it comes to clinicians, we quite rightly wonder how a machine can do any job as well as we can. And the answer is that no machine should aim to replace any clinician, ever. The purpose of the likes of PhysioWizard® is to remove the repetitive, time consuming, more mundane elements of the clinician’s job. Its use means that the patient can get married up with the right treatment quickly and efficiently and the clinician wins back the time to get on with doing what they do best. Add to this the fact that such tools allow for the collation of data which is at the cornerstone of planning for the future and you start to see why it’s in all our interests to work together to assist parents in the use of online self-assessment tools.
If you’re an Occupational Health professional, Private Health Care provider or are in the Public Health Sector and would like to find out more about how PhysioWizard® could make life easier for you and better for your patients, why not request a demo?