As the United States braces for a monumental demographic shift, the healthcare industry faces an unprecedented challenge: the Silver Wave. By 2030, for the first time in history, adults over 65 will outnumber children under 18. This shift not only marks a significant change in the country’s age demographics but also signals a transformative period for healthcare services and technologies.
In this insightful interview, we explore how AdvancedMD, a leading provider of all-in-one EHR, practice management, and patient engagement solutions, is preparing for the impact of the Silver Wave on the healthcare landscape. Amanda Hansen, the president of AdvancedMD, delves into the nuances of adapting healthcare technology to cater to an aging population. From evolving patient engagement platforms to enhancing telehealth services and reshaping care delivery models, this discussion sheds light on the technological innovations and strategies essential for addressing the unique needs of the growing elderly demographic.
This interview offers a comprehensive look into the future of healthcare technology, the challenges of interoperability, and the importance of intuitive and scalable systems. Join us as we uncover the key insights and predictions that will shape the future of healthcare in the era of the Silver Wave.
1. How do you foresee the Silver Wave changing the landscape of healthcare in the U.S., particularly in relation to patient demographics?
The coming Silver Wave, which will mark the first time in U.S. history that the number of adults over the age of 65 will outnumber children 18-years-old or younger, has serious implications for the U.S. healthcare landscape. To prepare for such a major shift in patient demographics, healthcare providers will need to adapt their services and care options to align with the needs of an aging patient population.
As patients age, physicians and supporting staff will need to reconsider everything from the types of healthcare exams and lab tests they order to the ways they engage with patients and the technology they use to manage all aspects of their practice and care delivery models.
2. In what ways do you think current healthcare technologies are unprepared for the increasing number of older patients?
Fortunately, much of today’s healthcare technology is keeping pace with the needs of an aging patient population. There’s a world of innovation happening across the healthcare technology landscape, from remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices that make it possible for physicians to track vital stats in real time to telehealth platforms that enable patients to schedule appointments even if they are unable to make the journey into a physical office.
Currently, one of the biggest gaps in healthcare technology is the lack of interoperability between private practices, hospital networks, payors, and third-party vendors. As patients age, they often need multiple specialty providers to address various healthcare needs. Interoperability is a critical component to achieving best possible outcomes in such circumstances, allowing physicians full visibility into a patient’s treatment program, medications, and other important details concerning the patient’s care.
3. How is AdvancedMD adapting its Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems to cater to the needs of an aging population?
AdvancedMD is focused on innovating and adapting its EHR solution to meet the needs of an aging demographic, from delivering seamless interoperability to comprehensive integrative capabilities. Most recently, AdvancedMD received its Electronic Prescription for Controlled Substances (EPCS) recertification from the Drummond Group, ensuring our EHR platform provides safe and secure prescription workflows for physicians and their staff. This certification is especially important knowing that electronic prescription processes have been shown to reduce prescription errors and adverse drug effects.
4. With the rise of telehealth, what specific features or services does AdvancedMD plan to enhance or introduce to better serve elderly patients?
AdvancedMD is continually enhancing its technology based on user feedback, releasing quarterly updates that span the full suite of our EHR, practice management, and patient engagement solutions. A prime example is our recent decision to move our telehealth platform to Zoom which also included the launch of new and improved workflows and intuitive patient-facing interfaces that make it easy for patients to log in and meet with their physicians using a desktop, laptop or even mobile device.
Since leveraging Zoom to power our telehealth capabilities, AdvancedMD was named the 2023 ISV Builder Partner of the Year by Zoom Video Communications, Inc., because of our innovative implementation of the video technology.
AdvancedMD is also looking at new ways to improve our patient engagement features and self-service capabilities that allow patients to self-schedule appointments. We already offer world-class capabilities, but there is always room for improvement when looking at how best to serve an aging patient population.
5. Could you elaborate on how patient engagement platforms will need to evolve to meet the needs of an aging patient population?
Patient engagement platforms are critical to the success of a private practice and are especially important for medical offices that serve older patients. An aging patient population requires technology that enables patients to directly message their healthcare providers over safe and secure platforms, allows for self-scheduling capabilities to give patients more control over their healthcare experience, and offers patients the ability to manage their healthcare bills online.
Meanwhile, healthcare providers need platforms that minimize patient-communication bottlenecks and drive productivity for their entire staff. AdvancedMD has prioritized automated workflow processes that drive productivity and allow for more informed decision-making on everything from patient care to business strategies. The most effective patient engagement platforms will need to follow our lead, providing solutions that help healthcare providers organize and prioritize patient engagement programs while leveraging a dashboard that dovetails into all other office workflows.
6. As the patient demographic shifts, how does AdvancedMD plan to adapt its payment options to ensure accessibility and ease for older patients?
AdvancedMD already provides best-in-class payment capabilities for private practices, with card-not-present payment options, automated payment reminder capabilities, and more. Our all-in-one payment system supports the most complex revenue cycle management strategies, giving healthcare providers the tools they need to accelerate payment processes, offer payment plans, and create customized reports for deeper insights into billing and revenue. These capabilities will become even more critical for aging patient populations.
As far as what’s on the horizon, AdvancedMD is currently working on ways to refine payment workflow processes, giving practices and healthcare providers the tools they need to streamline their billing processes while increasing their revenue.
7. What are the key changes you anticipate in care delivery models to accommodate an older patient base, and how will technology support these changes?
The key changes in care delivery models for older patients will be centered on telehealth platforms, RPM (remote patient management) devices, and patient engagement solutions that enable a frictionless patient experience for older patients. Each of these healthcare components are fully dependent on innovative and effective technology solutions. To provide the best possible care for its aging patient populations, healthcare providers will need access to such technology, in the same way they will require EHR solutions that enable fully interoperable and integrative capabilities.
8. What advice would you give to private practices currently designing their healthcare technology stack to address the needs of an aging patient population?
The biggest piece of advice for private practices currently building a technology stack: Invest in an all-in-one EHR, practice management, and patient engagement platform that allows for maximum interoperability and integrative capabilities.
When evaluating platforms, be sure to consider the technology’s ability to scale with your practice and its customer support offerings: How easy is it to implement the solution? How much time will be devoted to training support staff on the technology? Do you have a dedicated customer representative who can answer your questions quickly and help you customize workflows and reports as your technology needs shift with the age of your patient population? These are all important questions when building out your full healthcare technology stack.
9. How will the shift in age demographics impact the way private practices manage treatment plans and communicate with patients?
The shift in age demographics will impact how private practices manage treatment plans and communicate with patients in various ways. To start, it means healthcare providers will need to know about the patient’s full healthcare experience, including the various providers they see, lab results they’ve received, and the medications they’ve been prescribed. Healthcare providers will need to consider all aspects of the patient’s healthcare experience and take a more holistic approach to the patient’s treatment plan.
Patient communications will be dependent on the patient’s preferences, as well as the ability to share patient information with family or friends should a patient need assistance with their healthcare needs. Having access to technology that enables seamless communications between the patient, their support team, and other healthcare providers will be key in serving an aging patient population.
10. Looking beyond 2030, what are your predictions for the future of healthcare technology in the context of an aging population?
It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is facing massive challenges as we brace for the coming Silver Wave. Right now, private practices are up against a myriad of issues: record-level burnout rates for physicians and nurses, shrinking payor reimbursements, and staffing shortages that are directly impacting patient outcomes.
The Boomer generation is made up of 26 million patients who will age into Medicare by 2030, with 20% of the U.S. population turning 65-years-old or older in the next six years. The reality is that we’re looking at a future where we may not have enough healthcare providers to adequately care for an aging patient population.
With this in mind, I predict the healthcare technology landscape will become laser-focused on automation that rapidly accelerates workflow processes and drives even greater productivity across the clinical and admin sides of a private practice. Private practices will likely turn to AI-enabled technology platforms so that they can do “more with less” as they establish new systems and processes to accommodate increased patient volumes.
Amanda Hansen’s Bio
Amanda Hansen is the President of AdvancedMD. After joining the company more than 15 years ago as an intern, her ardent work ethic and commitment to employee well-being earned her multiple leadership roles. As President, she launched the Make Me Feel Important (MMFI) initiative to instill a supportive and caring work culture that has positively impacted employee NPS scores, satisfaction and retention. Amanda’s deep industry knowledge, compassion for her employees, and commitment to client-partner success has enabled AdvancedMD to reach all new heights, securing its place as a leader in the EHR, practice management, and patient engagement space.
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