- Electronic Health Records 1
- mHealth 1
- Telemedicine 2
- Portal Technology 2
- Self Service Kiosks 3
- Sensors and Wearable Tools 3
- Wireless Communication 3
- Real time Location Services 3
- The Power of Technology 4
In the last decade, there have been rapid advances in technology that have subsequently led to disruption in multiple industries. The healthcare industry is no exception.
Processes such as data monitoring, patient registration, lab tests to self-care incorporate technology and have made the lives of patients easy. In addition to that, devices such as smartphones and tablets are replacing conventional monitoring and recording systems.
Nowadays, patients can undergo a full-body consultation from their homes. All they need is a reliable internet plan from providers such as AT&T and they are good to go.
Here’s a look at some of the technological advancements in the healthcare industry that have made this possible:
Electronic Health Records
Here’s an interesting statistic: back in 2009, only 17% of U.S physicians were using electronic health records. By 2013, 80% of the hospitals that were eligible for the CMS meaningful use incentive program were incorporating electronic health records in their operations.
Before electronic health records became popular, hospitals had to rely on individual systems for pharmacy, documentation, and orders. By integrating all of these systems in one place, healthcare providers can provide patients with more efficient care.
Apart from centralizing all patient information, electronic health records are also useful as data and population health tools. In the past, all medical institutions have catered to patients differently, resulting in varied care for patients.
With electronic health records, all the decisions rely upon patient’s data. It ensures consistency in medical care given to patients.
Mobile health allows patients to check on healthcare processes on the go by freeing all healthcare devices of wires and cords. Physicians and healthcare providers use mHealth tools to reach out to patients, give prescriptions, and provide them with documentation.
There’s a lot more to mHealth than just wireless connectivity. With these tools, patients become active participants in treatment with the help of biometrics.
Patients can use these tools to make their bathroom scale and blood pressure mount wireless. They can take an EKG, put it in their phones, and transmit it wirelessly. In short, with mHealth tools, patients are able to take health monitoring out of a lab and integrate it into their daily lives.
Not all areas of the country have the same kind of medical facilities. It is especially true in the case of rural areas. Telemedicine has been a game-changer in these areas.
Telemedicine refers to the practice of taking care of patients remotely. It might surprise you to know that telemedicine, as a concept, has been around since the 1950s. Of course, the modern form of telemedicine is significantly different from the original concept.
Using telemedicine, patients and doctors send each other information online in real-time using computers. Both doctors and patient can see and capture readings from medical devices from a remote location.
Telemedicine is beneficial for patients since it allows them to consult the doctor online without having to worry about getting an appointment.
Telemedicine has multiple categories. These include the following:
- Interactive medicine: This type of telemedicine allows patients to communicate with a physician in real-time using HIPAA compliance
- Store and forward: This allows health care providers to share patients information with another practitioner in a separate location
- Remote patient monitoring: This allows caregivers to monitor patients remotely using mobile medical devices. These devices enable providers to collect data such as blood pressure and blood sugar level.
The process of implementing a telemedicine setup is simple. A solo practitioner needs a HIPAA compliant video conference software, and they are good to go.
On the other hand, if providers are looking to set up a complete virtual clinic solution, they need to consider the existing workflow and then decide upon a telemedicine solution that fits their needs. The software they choose should include a waiting room, electronic health records, and a payment function.
Implementing telemedicine in a large hospital or medical facility is a lot more challenging because there is a large workforce that requires software training. It is the reason most of the major hospitals that offer telemedicine services use custom software.
Telemedicine is also cost-effective for both patients as well as healthcare providers. Telemedicine reduces the cost of running a medical facility. Since the office costs are lower, patients also have to pay a lower consultation fee to facilities that offer telehealth services.
One thing that technology has proven is that patients want to take a more active role in their healthcare. Patients have been able to achieve that primarily because of portal technology. This technology allows patients to access their medical records online.
It allows patients to play an active role in their health care and empowers them since they have all the information related to healthcare at their disposal.
Self Service Kiosks
Self-service kiosks, like portal technology, allow patients to speed up processes such as hospital registration.
This technology allows patients to complete the entire process on their own without having to interact with anyone else.
Automate kiosks allow patients to pay money for healthcare, check identifications, sign paperwork, and complete all other registration processes. Variations in this technology give patients access to details such as bedside settings and hence ensure that their stay at the hospital stays comfortable.
Of course, hospitals that offer this service also ensure that patients have someone to talk to because human interaction does play a role in the healing process.
Sensors and Wearable Tools
Wearable medical devices are useful for data collection and are especially helpful in the healthcare industry since they allow health care providers to keep track of patient’s health. A wearable medical device sends a care provider an alert in case there is something wrong with the patient and allows them to take swift and prompt action.
Advanced wearable sensors can even provide caregivers with additional details about a patient’s health so that they can detect potential abnormalities. For example, when a patient falls, a sensor can detect the skin’s PH levels and determine if a cut is deep enough to cause an infection.
Instant messaging and walkie-talkies are not new technologies themselves, but they have only recently become commonplace in the healthcare industry.
Systems such as Vocera Messaging are replacing beepers and overhead pager. With such systems, users can send secure messages such as alerts and lab tests to each other using smartphones, web-based consoles, and third-party clinical systems.
These messaging systems speed up communication among the hospital staff while ensuring that all internal communication stays safe and secure.
Real time Location Services
Real-time location services allow hospitals to ensure efficiency in operations and identify key problem areas. Hospitals can implement this technology on devices, instruments, and even their staff to gather the information that they could not track previously.
These tools also allow healthcare providers to stay flexible and address last-minute changes, such as whether they have the necessary equipment available with them in case there is an emergency. It also allows hospital staff to keep track of high-cost equipment and ensure that it is on hospital premises at all times. It also allows the hospital staff to track the utilization of all the equipment.
The Power of Technology
Technology has had an impact on the healthcare industry, and it is evident that it is going to continue disrupting the industry in the upcoming years. For patients, that’s a good thing because it allows them to take an active role in their health care and ensure that they continue to receive the treatment they require.
Baldwin Jackson is a successful digital marketer with expertise in search engine optimization and content marketing. The perfect balance of his analytical ability and creative thinking is what sets him apart from other practitioners in the digital marketing realm. He has helped a lot of small and medium-sized businesses in crafting their digital marketing strategies that are not only cost-effective but delivers results as well.
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