In today’s world, technology is everywhere affecting our lives. Technology has revolutionized industries and the way they conduct business. And the healthcare industry has not been untouched. Yet, while the industry has adopted various technologies in the past, it is one of those industries that are slow and cautious in doing so due to its sensitive nature and numerous regulations placed on it. Nonetheless, by adopting the latest advancements, the healthcare industry can not only improve patient care to a significant extent but also combat rising costs. Here are five ways how it can do it.
Electronic medical records (EMR)
For a long time, healthcare facilities have been maintaining patient medical records in the form of paper-based physical files. This makes storing, managing and referencing to these records cumbersome for a health practitioner. Thankfully, the medical care world is increasingly moving towards digital records that can be stored in a central database and can be accessed whenever the professional needs. An EMR enables access to information such as patient histories, diagnosis, and lab test results. Combine these electronic records with a cloud storage and you will be able to store vast amounts of patient data from anywhere in a safe and secure manner.
Deep medical analytics
An additional benefit of using electronic medical records besides quick access and efficient storage is that they enable physicians, healthcare professionals and researchers to run advanced and in-depth analytics. Aided by artificial intelligence (AI), healthcare professionals can run in-depth analytics on the patient data as well as advanced scans and tests to obtain better information about the patient and the medical condition. This helps doctors to not only understand the disease better but also to analyze risk factors and deliver better treatment to the patient. Additionally, advanced medical analytics can facilitate advanced scientific research and come up with better cures.
Efficient queue management
One of the pain points affecting hospitals on a regular basis is managing the patient and customer queue. While creating an appointment system is the most common approach to manage patient flow, it has proven ineffective in most instances due to several factors. This leads to patients and customers spending a significant time in queues waiting for a consultation or treatment. A technology-assisted queue management system can manage all aspects of the patient and customer flow including reception, queueing, triage and routing, waiting and payment while improving the quality of service. It can even provide personalized interaction tools to engage them efficiently during their waiting time, thus alleviating their anxiety and improving their hospital experience.
Despite several healthcare providers having resorted to appointment scheduling systems to counter the challenge of queue management, the standard approach has proven mostly ineffective due to human unpredictability and several other factors such as emergency situations. With the rapid proliferation of web and mobility, hospitals can now implement online scheduling. With the power of internet, patients and customers can be given more freedom and control in the way they choose, book and cancel their appointments at their convenience. Furthermore, the scheduling tools can be made to send automatic reminders, notifications and messages to doctors as well as patients about the appointments or change in the schedules.
Real-time inventory management
An often overlooked challenge in healthcare is the visibility into inventory levels, especially medicines and blood units. Most hospitals struggle with challenges such as unavailability of sufficient blood units, medicines and medical equipment, lack of inventory data, and expired drugs. Moreover, the inventory tracking processes in most healthcare facilities are manual which fail to track the inventory levels in real-time, thus affecting patient care and leading to increased costs. Implementation of technologies such as barcodes and RFID tags can help you track inventory levels as well as the status of the inventory accurately in real-time, receive stock alerts and refurbish as well as replenish instruments as required so that you can provide better medical care to patients.
These are just a few examples which several healthcare facilities and providers across the world have already successfully implemented. Technology breakthroughs such as wearable devices, IoT, cloud, machine learning and AI are not only playing a significant role in helping medical professionals impart better care to patients through better diagnosis but also helping patients and customers in having a better interaction with healthcare professionals and facilities while bringing the overall cost of medical care down. It is only right that the industry takes the advantage of rapid advances in technology to revolutionize patient healthcare.
Originally published , updated May 07 2018