Hospitals and healthcare systems are in the midst of a digital revolution. Implementation and use of information technology is becoming the benchmark as the healthcare community looks for ways to increase quality of care.
As the current status of health information technology rapidly advances and evolves, it is very important for physicians to embrace the new technology as a tool for providing more efficient and timely care for their patients. Here are a few ways that technology can drive patient engagement and changing healthcare.
1. Improving Care
Simply put, the use of information technology has made patient care safer and more reliable. Instead of written records, doctors and nurses now routinely record patient data in computers, tablets, or mobile devices. This allows for a patient’s data to be instantly incorporated into their medical record.
Often, a patient’s medical journey is accompanied by multiple healthcare professionals in differing doctor’s offices and hospitals. Being able to accumulate lab results and other critical patient data into one centralized area has transformed the level of care a patient can expect to receive when they enter a healthcare system.
2. Facilitating Data Collection
The ability to use analytics to transform data into actionable information is revolutionizing modern healthcare. New software allows for this vast online resource of patient history to become available to scientists and researchers, who study trends in order to make medical breakthroughs. Medical professionals and researchers can use software to track, retrieve, and utilize valuable data in the fight to control disease and provide better healthcare outcomes in general.
3. Increasing Efficiency
Electronic medical records and other health care management tools can also increase efficiency within a healthcare system. Manual documentation is time-consuming, and the ability to cut down on paperwork gives nurses and doctors more time with patients. When health care management tools are seamlessly integrated, they enable physicians to focus on the patient’s specific issues and needs, instead of focusing on using technology.
In an ideal electronic setting, members of a patient’s care team can build upon information that is already available. From scheduling appointments, to filling out their information in the waiting room, to billing, a faster and more efficient process leads to an increase in quality communication.
4. Allowing Patient Access
Perhaps the most important technology in a healthcare provider’s tool-belt is the patient portal. Implementing patient portals within a healthcare system can empower patients, and improve engagement. A patient portal can allow patients to update their health and demographic information, request appointments and prescriptions, receive test results, and communicate using secure messaging. This access to information allows for greater transparency in healthcare and fosters communication between providers and patients.
Not all patient portals are created equal. It is imperative that healthcare providers leverage their portals for mobile use, update features and offerings, and create an easy-to-use interface to facilitate engagement. When a patient is more involved in their care, it often leads to increased compliance and patient satisfaction.
If you want to learn more about how technology is changing healthcare, or if you’re curious about how you fit into this ever-evolving industry, register for the Triad Developers Conference on March, 9 in Winston-Salem, NC. The keynote speaker is Angela Yochem, the new chief digital officer at Novant Health. In this newly created role, Yochem will develop a strategy for how Novant Health can improve patient engagement and experience.