There’s no doubt that the biggest challenge facing healthcare is the ongoing frustrations from consumers around the way they access and interact with their health data and the health system. These expectations are based on the way consumers use digital services like online shopping and banking. To address the growing needs of consumers, healthcare needs to find an equivalent. Enter the Digital Front Door (DFD).

The DFD is a strategy for engaging patients at every major touchpoint of their health journey using technology that patients have already adopted for everyday use. It has the vision to create a complete and connected ecosystem that supports patients across all their healthcare interactions by providing them better access and empowering them as a result.

Easy and secure access to health information is still a work in progress in the health industry. However, a DFD that reduces the technical barriers for data sharing, allowing practitioners and patients to safely share medical records with real-time data through a Patient Portal is a step in the right direction. The Patient Portal provides a solid foundation for a DFD strategy that allows patients to have easy access to their health records, which not only drives engagement but provides them a sense of control, which is an important emotion for an effective partnership.

A successful digital solution should put the patient at the heart of every decision. For a more seamless and engaging experience, patients should be able to easily access information and self-service tools to better manage their health at every step of their healthcare journey – from finding a practitioner to booking appointments and filling out forms, to accessing pathology results and receiving automated push notifications. The DFD is an intuitive virtual strategy that embraces all the ways that patients can interact with their practitioner through digital channels.

The goal of a DFD is to provide patients with a single-entry point to access a suite of self-service tools, health information, and virtual care. Consumer-facing apps found in industries like retail, banking, and ridesharing provide a convenient and seamless customer experience, which has led patients to expect the same flexibility and autonomy when it comes to healthcare apps. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in this industry since patients have had to settle for less than optimum digital solutions consisting of a disjointed set of apps, websites, and portals, each with their own function, and usually with their own login.

DFD strategies are assisting digital health’s next big transformation – the shift to healthcare, anywhere. If healthcare organisations and practitioners don’t employ technologies like the digital front door to help them transition to the future of healthcare delivery, they risk not being able to provide the care patient’s desire.

Fortunately, COVID-19 has forced a lot of practitioners and organisations to streamline their healthcare processes, making it more accessible to their patients. This has allowed practitioners to manage their patients remotely and provide them with access to virtual healthcare. Over the past two years there has been an increase in investment in digital health services, digital therapeutics, and telehealth to help people to remain happy and healthy in their own homes. 

As the next evolution of healthcare will be about empowering patients, now is the time to plan a digital front door strategy. Take advantage of existing technologies to integrate with your current systems to better engage your patients and finally deliver the healthcare they desire.