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How Healthcare CRM Solutions and ZDogg are Solving the Digital Divide for Providers

The healthcare industry is going through a significant transition, mostly, induced by HIT changes and system reform; in the process of these disruptive changes, thought leadership is trying to strategically develop a plan of action for reaching interoperability.

Interoperability is part of the holistic solution, as it works to connect patients with providers and share EHR clinical data with them and referrals. Let's discuss this topic more by examining how healthcare CRM solutions and ZDogg are solving the digital divide between providers and patients.

Defining the Digital Divide

This is a term that emerged most prominently after the “meaningful use” of EMRs became a requirement for providers on January 1, 2014. Since then, cloud and mobile computing technologies have also played a large part in the digital divide equation – mostly, trying to solve pain points with healthcare enterprise systems.

To learn more, let's look at two different articles written about a year apart from each other. The first is one from HiMSS, called: “Leveraging Digital Strategies to Address Health Disparities Part 2: Navigate the Digital Divide”, written on November 30, 2015 by Lygeia Ricciardi, which explains:

"...the overall proportion of Americans using health IT (defined as texting or emailing healthcare providers, using health apps, and accessing online test results) has been increasing for the last several years, though it's still under 50%...people who use health IT most are the wealthiest and most highly-educated. African Americans and Hispanics use it the least, while Whites and Asians use it the most."

Then we learn from a more recent article found on Healthcare IT News, called: “Healthcare's digital divide is getting bigger and other bad news from Black Book”, written on January 4, 2017 by Bernie Monegain,

"In spite of all the newest and greatest technology available to nurses, doctors, and hospital systems – and consumers – across the country, the digital divide is not only stubborn but it's also growing wider.

...Fifty-seven percent of consumers with access to hospital, physician or ancillary provider's technology in 2016 indicated being skeptical of the overall benefits of technology such as patient portals, mobile apps and electronic health records."

These articles show some of the challenges providers are experiencing when trying to integrate digital technology into their patient engagement strategies.

Providers, health plans, and vendors are all working toward streamlining care processes for providers and patients using innovative technologies; in the process of this development, they're discovering the digital divide issues creating gaps in patient engagement and daily workflows.

ZDoggMD's Perspective

Speaking of putting a finger on the pulse of providers, an article found on Tech Target, called: “One doc's journey to Health 3.0, the healthcare of the future”, written in 2016 by Kristen Lee, does just this by interviewing an outspoken doctor Zubin Damania, a.k.a. ZDogg, as he explains:

"' We're in this sort of weird limbo where the technology is expected to do the heavy lifting, but we haven't really transitioned...The human's gone.'

...Furthermore, he thinks physicians and patients have become commodities, and EHRs are a disaster and none of them talk to each other, he said.

...Damania's way of thinking about health IT is also reflected in his alternate persona, ZDogg. Damania takes mostly well-known songs from all genres of music and parodies them, re-writing the lyrics to reflect his opinions on a certain issue within health IT. The videos accompanying the songs are humorous and over the top."

Although ZDogg's perspective doesn't exactly pinpoint (or even mention) how healthcare CRM solutions are solving the digital divide, his humorous and honest approach are helping thought leadership get to the root problem. Also, his humorous assessment of the digital divide gives us an honest pulse of the providers themselves.

Here's ZDoggMD in action with his hit song "EHR State of Mind":

Mobile Solutions

An emerging theme from thought leadership is for providers to balance using technology with meaningful personal connections for effective patient engagement.

What this means in layman's terms is reaching patients where they're at and facilitating care processes through mobile solutions. At least, this is one of the most promising ways healthcare CRM solutions are helping to close the digital divide.

By harnessing the power of the cloud and mobile computing technology, providers can offer their patients a way to navigate and facilitate the entire care journey through their smartphones or mobile devices. In other words, a native mobile app, from the provider's healthcare CRM software, can streamline administrative and care functions with real-time automation and comprehensive functionality.

This may sound like another empty promise from technology, yet adopting a mobile-first strategy to improve patient engagement and close the digital divide makes plenty of sense, especially, considering we're living increasingly in a mobile-first world.

Healthcare CRM software with a native mobile app is only part of the overall solution to close the digital divide, yet it's a positive step that even ZDoggMD would likely approve of.


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