Nov 7, 2020

Unlocking competitive advantages through a DFD

Digital Front Door
Janet Brice
3 min
Healthcare providers can create a competitive edge by offering an intuitive Digital Front Door (DFD) experience, says L&T Technology Services Ltd
Healthcare providers can create a competitive edge by offering an intuitive Digital Front Door (DFD) experience, says L&T Technology Services Ltd...

Healthcare providers can create a competitive edge by offering an intuitive Digital Front Door (DFD) for a smooth patient journey, states L&T Technology Services Ltd (LTTS) in its white paper. 

One side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a drop in the number of patients attending hospital appointments. This downtick has accelerated the need for healthcare providers to engage with DFD - an enabler for patients to have more control in their healthcare journey.

According to statistics from Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 2020 Consumer Study, more patients are turning to virtual visits for prescriptions (up to 36% from 19% in 2019) and information (an increase of 12%) 

“Innovative and new-age telehealth solutions are the need-of-the-hour to address the unique challenges posed by global infectious disease outbreaks,” reports LTTS.

“In today’s hyper-competitive environment, healthcare organisations that provide a seamless and satisfying experience across all consumer touchpoints will have an important competitive differentiator.”

Changes in patient behaviour

Shifts in consumer behaviour are disrupting the healthcare industry and impacting areas such as reimbursement rates, procedure pricing and patient satisfaction. 

Consumers are using online channels to search for care but still rely on personal recommendations (52%) when choosing a physician. A total of 48% make their final decision after reading online reviews, according to the Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement survey. Today, healthcare companies are in a good position to leverage technological innovations in data and systems to deliver the best care to patients regardless of their location.

The successful implementation of DFD would offer providers increased efficiency and reduce the burden on staff while offering patients greater flexibility.

What are the challenges?

The entry of new players is creating a major disruption in the competitive healthcare arena by offering a range of services from laboratory tests to virtual consultations; they are winning over consumers from traditional health systems and gaining more popularity.

Engaged consumers are also exerting a greater influence on health systems to drive new business models.

To create a competitive edge for their DFD, existing providers are taking a leaf out of the best practices from other industries where adoption of digital technologies enabled organisations to overcome similar challenges and fuel innovation. 

With the DFD as the starting point in a provider’s digital transformation, LTTS predicts that this will pave the way to providing higher quality, higher-value care and improve operational efficiency through automation and advanced analytics. 

“Providers must better collaborate to improve the quality of care while lowering the cost,” advises LTTS.

It is predicted that AI and data analytics will be used to anticipate service needs and drive proactive engagements through DFD, which will retain a central influence over patient-centric healthcare systems moving forwards.

DFD best practices

Furthermore, healthcare providers need to provide a DFD that offers a seamless and intuitive experience, including:

  • Education apps
  • Access to telehealth
  • On-demand appointment scheduling 
  • Access to health records 
  • Patient self-triage tools 
  • Guiding consumers to appropriate care teams
  • Virtual consultations

 Find out more in LTTS' white paper: download here 

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Jun 14, 2021

Long haul Covid, the brain and digital therapies

4 min
Neuroplasticity expert Ashok Gupta tells us about the symptoms of long Covid, how it affects the brain, and digital therapies

It is estimated that around 10% of people who get Covid-19 develop long haul Covid, a debilitating condition that can last many months and cause breathlessness, exhaustion and pain. 

Research is underway to find out who is more likely to get it and how to treat it. Here neuroplasticity expert and owner of Harley Street Solutions in London Ashok Gupta tells us how the condition affects the brain. 

What is long Covid exactly? 

Long Covid is when patients who have experienced Covid-19 go on to have continuing symptoms for weeks and months afterwards. These symptoms can include breathlessness, exhaustion, brain fog, gastric issues, pain, and post-exertional malaise. It is estimated that around 10% of Covid-19 infections may result in developing long haul symptoms, and in the USA, this may be affecting over 3 million people.

How does it affect the brain?
Here at our clinic, we hypothesise that it is due to a malfunction in the unconscious brain, creating a conditioned response that keeps the body in a hyper-aroused state of defensiveness. At the core of this hypothesis is the idea that we are here because our nervous system and immune system have evolved to survive. We are survival machines!

When we encounter something such as Covid-19, the brain perceives it as life threatening, and rightly so. And in the era of the pandemic, with more stress, anxiety and social isolation, our immunity may be compromised, and therefore it may take longer for the immune system to fight off the virus and recover. 

If the brain makes the decision that this is potentially life threatening and we get to the stage where we’re overcoming the virus, a legacy is left in the brain; it keeps over-responding to anything that reminds us of the virus. Even if we’ve fought off the virus, the brain will react in a precautionary way to stimuli reminiscent of the virus. 

The brain may get stuck in that overprotective response, and keeps stimulating our nervous system and our immune system, just in case the virus may still be present.

What symptoms does this cause? 

These signals cause a cascade of symptoms including breathlessness, extreme fatigue, brain fog, loss of taste or smell, headaches, and many others. And these are caused by our own immunes system.

In the case of long-haul Covid, symptoms in the body get detected by a hypersensitive brain which thinks we’re still in danger. The brain then chronically stimulates the immune and nervous systems, and then we have a continuation of a chronic set of symptoms.

This isn’t unique to long-haul Covid. Many patients develop chronic fatigue syndrome, sometimes known as “ME”, for example, after the flu, a stomach bug, or respiratory illness. Covid-19 may be a severe trigger of a form of chronic fatigue syndrome or ME.

How does long-haul Covid affect mental health? 
Anxiety is a very common symptom in long haulers. It can be frightening to wonder about what may be happening in your body, and what the prognosis is going to be for one’s long term health. Reaching out for support for mental health is crucial for long-haulers.

How does neuroplasticity treatment work for long-haul COVID patients?
We have been working with patients for two decades with a brain retraining programme using neuroplasticity or “limbic retraining.” 

We believe that through neural rewiring, the brain can be “persuaded” that we are no longer in danger and to come back to homeostasis. But to be very clear, we are not saying it is psychological in any way, but we believe there are novel ways of accessing the unconscious brain. 

We recently worked successfully with a 56-year-old male with long-haul Covid, who prior to contracting Covid-19 in March of 2020 was running half-marathons and cycling, but afterwards he struggled to get off the sofa for months. Within 3 months he’s now back to 100% and  running half marathons again.

At our clinic, we train the patient to be able to recognise those subtle unconscious danger signals on the periphery of consciousness. This, coupled with supportive techniques and the natural hallmarks of good health such as sleep and diet help prepare the patient to respond to perceived threats that might trigger the response. 

The natural state of our brain is to default to protection. The brain prioritises survival and passing on our genes to the next generation, over any other impulse. It cares more about that than you feeling healthy and well. Protective responses are evolutionary, and are the right thing for the brain to do – it’s survival. 

What digital therapies or apps are proving effective at treating long-haul Covid? 
It seems that long haul patients are availing themselves of many online therapies and services, including meditation apps and wellness websites. We have an online neuroplasticity “brain retraining” video course called the “Gupta Program” which hosts 15 interactive videos and many audio exercises. This is proving very popular with long haul patients, and we are currently conducting a trial to test the effectiveness of this therapy. 

What is the danger of leaving long-haul Covid untreated?
The longer it goes untreated, we hypothesise that it may become more entrenched in the brain, and  become chronic in the longer term. Therefore we advise all patients to get help and advice as soon as possible.

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