Entering 2022, many U.S. healthcare organizations were in a better position compared to 2020, but overall financial performance remained below pre-pandemic levels.

These challenges have compounded the financial struggles many health systems faced before the pandemic. Since 2000, hospitals of all types have provided almost $745 billion in uncompensated care.

It’s clear that financial recovery from the pandemic will require innovative solutions.

Here are three ways U.S. hospitals and health systems can harness technology to rebound from the financial toll these uneasy times have put them in.

1. Leverage a digital network

Leveraging a digital network can improve the financial health of patients and providers. The pandemic has made it even clearer that hospitals cannot remain viable unless they ensure patients have the capacity to pay their bills. Hospitals must join forces with pharmacies, life science companies, charitable foundations, and other parties, in a coordinated effort to remove financial barriers to care. Technological innovation can play a crucial role in bringing these parties together into a cohesive digital network.

By connecting patients with a suite of resources, the digital network presents a new avenue to address healthcare affordability.

2. Create positive patient experiences

Just as the pandemic has increased consumer reliance on Zoom, Amazon, and other services, healthcare consumers expect a similar level of convenience and efficiency in medical care.

To build patient loyalty—a key factor in driving revenue—hospitals and health systems must step up their use of tech to unlock medicine’s “digital front door.” The digital front door encompasses all the technologies patients use to interact with a provider. It’s critical to ensure that these digital tools create positive experiences —including financial experiences.

Digital financial experience tools enable patients to make informed decisions about their treatment and secure the resources they need to afford care.

3. Build a more efficient, agile health system.

Throughout the pandemic, hospitals and health systems have faced a shortage of labour needed to meet the increased demand for care. Increased expenses for supplies, medicine, testing, and protective equipment have also driven up costs and lowered revenue.

Given these challenges, health systems must build new levels of efficiency and agility.

As health systems are forced to do more with less, technology can help empower staff to work smarter with the resources they have. The rise of healthcare startups which use AI, robotic process automation (RPA), and other technologies to tackle repetitive administrative and clinical tasks, has shown the power of digital solutions to improve operations and increase revenue.

Since March 2020, we’ve seen an escalation of the financial struggles hospitals and health systems faced before the pandemic. As we head toward a post-pandemic future, these organizations must embrace healthcare’s digital transformation and uncover new opportunities to cut costs and boost revenue. These opportunities include leveraging a digital network to remove financial barriers to care, unlocking medicine’s “digital front door” to improve patient experience, and investing in software solutions to boost efficiencies and financial performance. Innovation has never been more essential for forward-looking healthcare organizations that hope not only to survive but also thrive.

Written by Srulik Dvorsky, CEO at TailorMed