To deliver the care that Akron Children’s Hospital patients need and deserve, we have to be nimble and innovative as the world continues to experience economic challenges, labor shortages, inflation and unprecedented circumstances. Families also are changing. As they use digital conveniences for shopping, food, travel and more, they want better, faster and more convenient access to healthcare.
Digital health innovations are helping us transform and rethink the way we deliver care, enabling us to spend more time with patients and families and improve outcomes. And donors are a cornerstone of this cutting-edge work. Donors can provide funding and resources to support the development and implementation of digital health innovations that have the potential to improve patient care, reduce costs and drive innovation in the health care industry.
The importance – and necessity – of digital health innovations
“Digital health innovations are solutions that are increasingly being used by health systems to augment or replace traditional medical practices,” said Harun Rashid, chief information officer at Akron Children’s. “They help ensure that we’re providing an experience for our patients, families and employees that’s frictionless, retail-like but better, convenient, on-demand and mobile centric.”
Not only can these new technologies help with the immediate needs of the patient, but they can also free up caregiver time, enhance staff resiliency and decrease burnout. Additionally, they can help with resource allocation when it comes to staffing. Like RoboJo, the 24/7 robotic barista at our Akron campus. It allowed us to move two staff members into another food service area where we needed help.
“Investing in new technologies is by no means a way of reducing staff,” explained Harun. “Rather, it will help us to bridge the gap and think differently.”
Our digital health innovation strategy focuses on investing in three key areas:
- Patient experience. We’re finding ways to make our patient journey more seamless, such as improving access to telehealth services and enhancing the patient check-in process.
- Clinical experience. We want to alleviate burnout by using technologies that can automate solutions, minimize repetitive tasks and allow our clinicians to work at the top of their licensure while spending more time with families.
- Operational experience. We’re investigating how automation can reduce repetitive tasks so we can move individuals into other critical areas. This includes technologies like RoboJo, automated parking decks and the new wayfinding feature on the Akron Children’s app.
Philanthropy: Moving our work forward
With these new technologies come new opportunities for donors to help bring cutting-edge care and services to our hospital. Philanthropic funding will support the development and implementation of new technologies that will help our patients, staff and operations.
Several gifts have started to pave the way, like the Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth, which helps strengthen our telehealth services and further our efforts in this aspect of healthcare. Another gift provided tablets to Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatric physicians to assist with addiction screening. The Tom & Joy Murdough Digital Innovation Fund was also established to provide general funding for digital health innovation, giving our hospital flexibility to respond to emerging areas that may positively impact patient care.
“Post pandemic, we are faced with a new normal that requires us to reinvent our business philosophy. For example, allowing patients to schedule visits online via mobile solutions that give them the flexibility to choose the date, time and place of the visit based on personal preferences. Just like the airline industries do with travel arrangements,” said Harun. “We’re creating a new health model of the future, one that improves quality, patient outcomes and access while reducing health care costs. We can’t do it without donor support.”
Investing in technology helps control costs, resources and time with patients. To learn how your gift can bolster our efforts, contact Machelle Syx, director of corporate alliance and special events, at email@example.com or 330-801-2252
See RoboJo – Akron Children’s robotic barista – in action: