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January 15th, 2016

HealthcareIT_2016Jan14_AAs wearable technology and health-based mobile applications become more prevalent among patients, there is a growing demand for healthcare professionals to be able to recommend these to patients. Many people simply see this as an extension of medical advice, after all you are already recommending medications, treatments, and care options. Realistically, the decision to recommend these is left to each healthcare professional, but here are a few things to consider if you think you’re ready to do it.

A growing number of doctors are being quizzed by patients about which healthcare apps and wearable technology they should be using. Last year, healthcare market research company MedPanel conducted a poll that found only 15 percent of doctors are speaking with patients about the benefits of these.

With the popularity and prevalence of both technologies set to increase over the coming years, doctors are going to have to decide if these will be something they recommend or even advise patients on. It can be a tough decision but here are a few of the issues you’ll need to take into consideration before making your choice.

What devices/operating systems do you feel comfortable with?

The problem for many healthcare professionals is that the sudden expansion of the mobile apps and wearable technology market left them out of the loop when it comes to these. A lot of doctors are apprehensive about making recommendations without knowing the ins and outs of how something works and this is why many of them are avoiding this subject when dealing with patients.

Realistically you will want to figure out what operating system you prefer to use. Chances are if you use an iPhone, it will be easier for you to download and test apps for iOS than Android. It should be the same with wearable technology devices. Take a few out for a test drive and learn more about them. This way, you have a general idea of what they can do should a patient ask about them. It’s also possible to have your technology provider arrange a demonstration of any of these devices and a better explanation of just how they work.

Figure out the scope of your recommendations

One thing doctors tend to notice when exploring the world of health apps and wearable technology is just how massive and varied it can be. If you’re a specialist, it will be much easier to figure out what you want to recommend to patients, but for general health practitioners and others who cover a broader range of medicine, you might find yourself lost in a neverending world of technology.

When it comes to wearable technology, it is a little easier to figure out the items patients will be interested in and what they probably won’t ask you about. However, when it comes to health apps, you need to be on your toes. Because the scope of these can vary wildly from nutrition and medicine reminders to heart health and stroke prevention, you are going to want to focus your recommendations on a few areas you feel comfortable with.

Talk to your patients

A lot of doctors don’t take the time to speak with their patients about what mobile health apps or wearable technology they use or are thinking about using. By talking to them, it will help you get a better idea of what your patients want from this technology and make it easier for you to figure what you should be focusing on.

Ask a tech expert

Just because a piece of wearable technology or a mobile app works great for you, doesn’t mean your patients will have the same experience. There are a lot of technological factors when it comes to wearable technology and mobile apps and learning more about these will be important to you and your patients. Tech experts, like those found on our staff, are able to let you know if mobile health apps or wearable technology is secure and able to adequately protect your personal information among numerous other issues. There would be nothing worse than you recommending a technology that contains viruses or other harmful problems to your patients.

If you want to be able to recommend wearable technology and mobile apps to your patients, get in touch with us first. We’ll make sure your picks have a clean bill of health.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 4th, 2016

More and more people are clamouring for the ability to communicate with their doctor through email and social media. In fact, a recent study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports that 37 percent of patients have emailed their doctor while 18 percent used Facebook to get in touch with their physician. It behooves medical professionals to embrace electronic communication with patients but it’s important to be smart about it.

While patients would like to be able to communicate with their doctors via electronic channels, physicians have been slow to adapt to this. Some healthcare professionals have embraced this by using email, Facebook or specialized healthcare communication apps to better engage with their patients.

The results have been positive as patients have easier access to their physicians using technology they are comfortable with. Of course, if your practice or healthcare organization is thinking about embracing doctor-patient electronic communication, it is important to set up guidelines to make sure both sides fully understand the process. Here are a few things you should consider before using electronic communication to chat to patients.

Open the right line of communication

Chances are you don’t want patients bombarding your email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media profiles you might have with queries about their health. Before engaging patients using electronic communication, establish what media you wish to have patients contact you through. Email is the most reliable method while setting up a professional Facebook page is also a viable option. Whatever you do, make sure you keep your personal and professional social media and email accounts separate. If a patient ever tries to contact you through a personal account, direct them to your professional one.

Setup response time frames

A lot of people believe using social media, email or other channels of electronic communication should lead to fast, if not immediate, response times. As a healthcare professional, you probably won’t be able to answer most questions as soon as they land in your inbox. Establish an acceptable response time within your electronic communication guidelines that lets patients know when they can expect to hear back from you. Something between 24 to 48 hours is ideal in most cases.

Keep things secure

Security is always important especially when it comes to the exchange of health information. You will always want to check that you are sending the right information to the correct individual. It is also a good idea to have one email address or account from which patients can ask you questions from. This will help eliminate possible fraudulent activity. If you do think one of your patients has had their account hacked, or the information you need to share is sensitive, it is best to have them call or come into the office.

Don’t get overwhelmed

One of the main issues from a doctor’s perspective when it comes to electronic communications is what you will and will not answer. For starters, you don’t want to be fielding questions about appointments, payments or the weather. You also don’t want to be giving away medical advice and opinions on a free basis as people will stop coming to your practice altogether and just solicit you for free information online. One policy to consider is to only answer questions from patients based on upcoming or completed visits. This will help eliminate frivolous queries from your patients.

Alternatives

If you don’t feel comfortable using email or social media to talk to patients or you want a system that is a little more comprehensive, there are several applications on the market designed specifically for healthcare providers. Not only do these enhance doctor-patient communication using mobile devices, but can also allow for video chat, scheduling and a host of other features along with direct messaging. These often tend to be more secure than email and social media as well.

Communication between physicians and patients will continue to move from traditional channels to electronic ones. Failing to adapt will only frustrate your current patients and make new patients less likely to consider you. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about how electronic communication in regards to healthcare works and what you can do to embrace it successfully.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 17th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Dec17_AMobile health applications have been growing in popularity but this doesn’t necessarily mean their effectiveness is improving. In fact, doctors have called for greater oversight and regulation when it comes to health apps as many have never been truly tested. A number of these apps also make false claims about benefits in order to get users to download them. Before you pay for, or even download, that new health app, here are a few things you should consider.

At the carnivals of the late 20th and early 21st century, you would see traveling salesmen hawking miracle elixirs that could cure just about anything that ailed you. In more recent times, it has been so-called doctors appearing on television commercials late at night with super pills that were able to help you lose weight or have more energy.

These medical shysters have now turned their attention to phone and tablet applications where they use outrageous claims to entice users to download their apps. In September of this year, UltimEyes, an app stating that it improves vision, was fined by the Fair Trade Commision (FTC) for falsely claiming their app was scientifically proven to work.

And they aren’t the only app to have been dinged by the FTC. Earlier in 2015, two apps claiming to detect melanoma were also fined by the FTC for what essentially boiled down to false advertising. It’s likely that health apps will be monitored more closely in the future but at the present moment, a large number of rogue applications are out on the market.

Not every health app out there is bad, but before you download one, especially a paid app, make sure you examine it thoroughly. Here are a few things to look for.

Who made the app

One of the easiest ways to determine the legitimacy of a health app is to see who is behind it. Chances are if it’s a name you trust like the Mayo Clinic or your healthcare provider, you don’t have a lot to worry about. If it’s some fly-by-night company with a funky name like Bob’s House O’ Health, you might want to dig a little deeper to see if the app can really do what it claims.

The online reviews

If an app has been out on the market for a little while then chances are people have reviewed it. It’s good to look at what other people are saying about the app because it can help establish if it really works or not. If an app has received a significant amount of negative feedback you best bet is to steer clear of it.

Google it

Reviews can be helpful but don’t necessarily paint the full picture. Doing a quick Google search on a health app can help unearth some additional information that might be crucial to making a decision on whether or not you should download a medical app. For instance, if the developer of the app was thrown in jail for fraud, you’d probably be less inclined to dowload it. However, if the company behind the app has received some positive press for its work, it might be worth checking it out.

Do you really believe it will work?

A lot of times, we can get too caught up in wanting to believe something is true that we fail to think critically when we make a decision. Before downloading a health app, especially one that makes a bold claim, you should ask yourself if it seems plausible or not for these statements to be true. For instance, an app that can detect cancer sounds great, but if such a thing were to exist, don’t you think everyone would know about it by now? All you are doing by placing your health in the hands of an unknown app is endangering yourself.

If you think you have a problem with your health, then it is best to contact a doctor. And if you think you are having a problem with your IT, then it is a good idea to contact us. We can help diagnose your technology troubles and find a cure.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 27th, 2015

While HIPPA’s implementation in relation to technology has been problematic to say the least, things have become much clearer over the course of the past year. However, there are still a few areas in which your office might not be compliant. This isn’t necessarily through negligence on your part, but rather simply a lack of understanding as to the requirements. We look at four facts your practice should know about HIPAA and your IT.

If you’re still confused about which parts of your IT are HIPAA-compliant and which parts need to be addressed, don’t panic. You’re not the only practice still struggling to figure out just what exactly is and isn’t compliant. Here are four important things you should know about the technology your office uses and its relationship with HIPAA.

Telehealth and mHealth are not always compliant

If your practice has invested or is thinking about investing in telehealth or mHealth, you need to make sure it is HIPAA-compliant. While most telehealth technology is HIPAA-approved, you might be required to enact one or two measures to make it compliant. An IT specialist should have no problem making sure your telehealth is up to code.

On the other hand, mHealth might be a little more problematic. While a lot of hardware and apps, including Fitbit and the Apple Watch, are HIPAA-compliant, it is a field that is still very new and constantly changing. Your best bet is to consult regularly with an expert to make sure your mHealth is following all the necessary regulations.

All info, not just EHRs, needs to be HIPAA-compliant

If your office has individually identifiable ePHI data sets on-site, including information like billing records, appointment information and test results, they must be kept on HIPAA-compliant devices and servers. A lot of medical practices that use cloud-based storage for their EHRs overlook this fact. While it’s good to have your EHRs ready to go on the cloud, make sure the rest of your ePHI data is protected as well. If it isn’t, you could be facing a fine.

Your protected health information notice must be available online

If your practice has a website, HIPAA’s rules dictate that it must contain a copy of your updated protected health information notice for patients to access. If you have a website and this information is not currently posted, you might consider getting this done in the near future in order to avoid any problems.

Healthcare business associates must also be HIPAA-compliant

It is not just medical practices, healthcare clearinghouses, and health plan organizations that are required to be HIPAA-compliant. Any other business that has access, electronic or otherwise, to protected health information is also required by law to be HIPAA-compliant. This includes any accounting or law firms you work with that may already be accessing your files electronically to carry out work. In order to avoid any potential trouble for your practice or its partners, it best to ask them if they are HIPAA-compliant. If they aren’t, cease all access to files, and make sure they take action to correct this issue immediately.

Still not sure if you’re 100% HIPAA-compliant? Our team of experts can run the necessary risk analysis, and assist in correcting any areas of your technology that may not be in line with current regulations.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 12th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Nov12_AAs healthcare practices across the nation continue to find out, patients place ever-diminishing levels of importance on care alone. While it is and will forever be a factor that influences a person’s decision, convenience has become another key area patients look at when choosing a healthcare facility. Online scheduling, in particular, has become something more and more of us consider when selecting a healthcare provider.

In order to succeed in today’s technology-driven world, you have to provide convenience alongside top-notch care. As the use of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices has permeated society, healthcare hasn’t always done a great job of keeping up. Those facilities that have kept up with tech trends have seen an uptick in both the number of patients they take in and the quality of care they are able to provide, while places relying on the old ways continue to remain stagnant in both areas.

Online scheduling is one of the simplest, and most popular, pieces of technology used by forward-thinking healthcare clinics. With this, patients are able to see when a doctor is available and schedule an appointment using your website. According to research from Accenture, 38 percent of all healthcare appointments will be scheduled online by 2019. Still not convinced your practice needs it? Here are 4 additional benefits of online scheduling.

New patients prefer it

More than ever, people are less inclined to make phone calls especially if it involves ringing up someone they don’t know. For many people looking for a new doctor or specialist, they will simply keep looking for one that has online scheduling to avoid having to make a call. If you don’t want your practice to miss out on potential new patients, having online scheduling is a no brainer.

More time for your staff

Think about how much time your staff spends each day answering phone calls from people needing to make an appointment. It’s probably a lot if you have a busy practice. Imagine if they were able to focus on patients at your facility instead of being on the phone with ones who want to be there. It would probably improve the level of care each person receives while at your facility. This will allow patients at your office to feel as if they are truly being taken care of and increasing the chances they return in the future.

Added flexibility for patients

One of the most difficult things for a patient is trying to schedule an appointment when your office is closed. If something happens at 8pm, they have no way of knowing if you will have time to see them the next morning. This puts them in a bind as they either have to take time off work and hope you can see them or go into work in the morning and wait until they can make an appointment.

With online scheduling, this problem is easily avoidable. They can simply log in to your website and see when you are available. This allows your patients to plan their schedule accordingly around the visit without having to wait until the next day.

You’re going to need it eventually

Sure, you probably can get away with not having online scheduling at the moment and maybe even for the next year or two, but eventually the time will come for your practice to embrace the technology. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can get your staff trained and the sooner your patients can enjoy the benefits of it. And for those healthcare providers who think online scheduling is simply a passing trend, well we’re sure there were plenty of doctors who said the same thing about the telephone when it was first introduced.

Need help setting up online scheduling at the your practice? Want to learn more about how technology can help make things easier for your patients? Talk to our IT experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 29th, 2015

164_A_HC2016 will be here sooner than you know it. This makes it an excellent time to start thinking about next year’s IT budget, and how to best address your technology needs to keep your practice growing, compliant, and not stifled by outdated IT that distracts you from your patients. To ensure your IT is dependable for 2016, here are a few steps you can take to prepare your practice.

Evaluate

One reason some practices fail to update their IT at all, and then wind up with broken technology that causes endless headaches and delays, is that they’re simply overwhelmed by the number of technology choices available, and are unsure what needs to be upgraded or replaced. That’s why the first task you should undertake in planning next year’s IT budget is to evaluate what you have right now.

If you have a small or medium-sized practice, you may be able to do this by walking around your office and simply taking a visual assessment of your technology. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, another option is to use a software tool or hire an IT provider to determine which pieces of technology you use regularly.

Correct

When you’re done with the evaluation, you’ll have likely discovered some IT issues that need to be addressed immediately. If you have the budget to fix them this year then go ahead and do so, otherwise prioritize these technology repairs in your 2016 budget. This will help ensure IT doesn’t create unnecessary dysfunction in your daily operations.

Strategize

Stop thinking about technology for a moment. Instead, think about your long-term goals for your practice. What do you want to accomplish in the next one, five, and 10 years? What do you envision your practice looking like then? Jot your goals and answers to these questions down on a piece of paper, then evaluate whether or not your practice can achieve these goals with IT implemented as it is now. If it can’t, what technology changes need to take place? The answer will reveal which IT adjustments are necessary for the future of your practice in 2016 and beyond. Here are a few other ideas to consider when planning your long-term IT strategy.

Usability – complex technology not only scares the average user, but it also prevents many from using it. If you want you, your staff and your patients to use your new IT solution, make sure it’s user friendly. Otherwise you’re simply throwing money away.

Automation – because the healthcare industry is understaffed as it is, you need all the help you can get. Technology can act as your team of extra staff members, automating and taking care of processes that are usually performed manually. This will free up your real employees to spend more time taking care of your patients.

Adaptability – both technology and the healthcare industry are in a constant state of change. So when implementing new IT, find something that will evolve with your industry. If you’re unsure, talk with the vendor of the technology product you’re interested in, or consult with an IT provider to help you along.

Lastly, we understand that IT is not the specialist area of most healthcare professionals. So if you ever have any questions, or need assistance planning for your future IT needs, our experts are more than happy to help you in assessing, evaluating and implementing new technology that will take your practice into 2016 and beyond.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 15th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Oct15_AFor the past few years, many doctors and healthcare practices have found themselves torn as to whether or not they should embrace telehealth. While the benefits of it are undeniable, there have been questions over its security and practicality since it started being implemented over 20 years ago. However, technology and acceptance have finally made telehealth a realistic option for everyone in the healthcare industry.

Telehealth is well past the days of when it constituted nothing more than a doctor and a patient talking over the phone. With the rise of mobile health, along with technological strides made in the past decade, telehealth has become a viable way for doctors to serve patients from all walks of life.

Not only is it a viable way to practice healthcare, in many places it is treated as an equal alternative to in-person doctor’s visits. There are 24 states, plus Washington D.C., that require private insurers to cover telehealth in the same way in-person treatment is covered. And that’s just the beginning. Here are a few other reasons it’s time to embrace telehealth.

It’s not just for rural patients anymore

The original goal of telehealth was to find a way to help connect rural patients to doctors when an in-person visit wasn’t feasible. While this is still an important function of telehealth, more and more city folk have determined it’s far easier to place a call to a doctor for a quick consultation than take time off work to visit one.

With a growing number of patients preferring a video-call doctor’s visit to the real thing, this has gone from being a fad to becoming the new norm. It’s not just the video calling that has proven to be a valuable tool in the telehealth arsenal, either. With countless health monitoring apps now available, it is easier than ever for doctors to get the information they need from clients in order to make informed decisions remotely.

Security and regulations are becoming settled

One of the biggest drawbacks of embracing telehealth was the fact that state and federal regulations seemed to change on a near daily basis, meaning you never knew whether you were compliant with them. Not only that, but you also had to worry about getting equipment and systems that were HIPAA-compliant.

However, regulations on both the state and federal level have become much more stable as telehealth has become more commonplace. Telehealth technology has greatly improved as well, since manufacturers continue to better understand the security requirements involved. Nearly all equipment on the market today is compliant with HIPAA.

It’s covered by insurance

We’ve already mentioned that almost half of the the country requires private insurance to provide full telehealth coverage. Medicare and Medicaid also provide partial telehealth coverage for patients. As the accessibility and acceptance of telehealth continues its upward trajectory, it would seem likely that more insurance companies will be required to cover it. Even if you haven’t noticed a surge in demand for telehealth at your practice, implementing it now can make sure you’re prepared when the rush does come.

If you would like to know more about what you can do to implement telehealth, mHealth or any other healthcare technology, get in touch with us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 24th, 2015

164_Gcare_AWhile many small businesses mistakenly think they’re immune to data breaches because of their size, and therefore put minimum protection in place, healthcare organizations can't ever risk taking this laissez-faire approach - and they'd be in trouble if they did. After all, there are rules and regulations when it comes to healthcare IT systems, and huge fines if you don't meet certain standards. Health practices are tempting targets for hackers, who appreciate the high cost of patient treatment and the wealth of personal information stored by doctors. This is why malicious attacks are carried out on healthcare centers all the time. Two separate 2015 surveys, performed by the Ponemon Institute and the global corporation KPMG, produced some alarming statistics. Here’s what they discovered.

The 2015 KPMG Healthcare Cybersecurity survey

This survey of 223 chief healthcare executives revealed that 81 percent of healthcare organizations have been breached in the last two years. What may come as even more disturbing news is that 25% of these executives noted that their organizations were attacked anywhere from one to five times a week.

And the organizations which are aware they’re being attacked are actually the lucky ones. According to Greg Bell, KPMG’s leader of the firm’s Cyber Practice, "The experienced hackers that penetrate a vulnerable health care organization like to remain undetected as long as they can before extracting a great deal of content, similar to a blood-sucking insect." That means the longer a cyber attack goes unnoticed, the more damage it can do to your practice.

The survey also revealed the greatest threats facing today’s healthcare organizations by type, according to the respondents:

  • 65% - external attacks: cyber attacks are more sophisticated and well funded than ever. With healthcare organizations as prime targets, they are increasingly difficult to prevent.
  • 48% - sharing data with third parties: because it’s easy to distribute ePHI over the Internet and mobile devices, it’s more likely for this data to fall into the wrong hands.
  • 35% - employee breaches: an unhappy employee steals or alters your practice’s critical information.
  • 27% - insufficient firewalls: a firewall blocks viruses, worms and hackers. If yours is inadequate, it’s easier for these threats to break into and corrupt your network.

The Ponemon study

Released in early 2015, the Ponemon Institute’s Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data may come as even more of a shock than KPMG’s survey. According to this study, 91% of healthcare organizations have experienced at least one data breach in the last two years, 39% have had two to five breaches, and 40% have had more than five.

So what’s the real reason for all these data breaches? The report claims that "cyber criminals recognize two critical facts of the healthcare industry: 1) healthcare organizations manage a treasure trove of financially lucrative personal information and 2) healthcare organizations do not have the resources, processes, and technologies to prevent and detect attacks and adequately protect patient data."

Although the information revealed by these two surveys is anything but positive, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. To protect your practice, there are five key steps you can take:

  1. Prevention - just as integral to data security as it is to your patients’ health
  2. Monitoring your network - so you know when and if your organization is under attack
  3. Management - of passwords, applications, and staff policies
  4. Compliance - it's your legal duty to be compliant with all rules and regulations in the industry, such as HIPAA
  5. Penetration testing - find the holes in your security that a hacker could exploit, and close them
These are just the basics of what you should be doing if you run any sort of healthcare center. Protecting the data of your patients, both personal and financial, is of paramount importance; failure to do so will result in fines or, worse still, the loss of your reputation. We have years of experience in designing, deploying and maintaining IT services and solutions tailored for the healthcare industry. To learn more about how you can protect the data of your healthcare practice, get in touch with us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 10th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Sep10_AWearables, mobile apps and other mobile health (mHealth) devices are the latest technologies entering the healthcare industry. Some hospitals may have held off adopting mHealth, believing they won’t benefit much from it. Others remain concerned their patients won’t have much interest in these tools, or technical the knowledge required for them. But recent research shows a growing interest for patients when it comes to using mHealth, due to its cost-effectiveness and convenience. If you’re wondering what mHealth is, or are considering implementing it into your practice, here’s what you need to know.

mHealth defined

mHealth, also known as mobile health, refers to medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless devices.

How is mHealth used?

Medical institutions across the globe have applied mHealth to deliver healthcare and healthcare information to patients, with satisfying results. Some of the most common uses of mHealth include:
  • Remote data collection and monitoring
  • Diagnostic and treatment support
  • Telehealth and telemedicine
  • Patient safety systems
  • Emergency response systems
  • Healthcare staff telecommunications and training

Advantages of mHealth

There are many advantages of adopting mHealth, including its versatility across all aspects of health care and its potential to improve the monitoring of patients. Let’s take a closer look at the top three benefits of mHealth.
  • Improved data accuracy - entering medical data into mobile devices such as mobile workstations, laptops, and tablets helps eliminate the data entry errors that often occur when information is first recorded on paper and entered at a later time in electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
  • More data access - implementation of mHealth enables healthcare staff to not only enter, but also access, critical patient data from anywhere, at any time. In a scenario when you want to download, view, or transmit a patient’s health records online, you can easily do so with mHealth.
  • Better patient care - the ultimate goal of any healthcare technology is to improve patient care, and mHealth can definitely deliver on that promise. For instance, doctors can refer to their mobile devices for a list of viable diagnoses that they may not have otherwise considered, in order to ensure that patients get the best possible treatment plans.

Current market for mHealth

The number of mobile device users is increasing every day. The expansion of wireless network coverage also provides digital health systems with new possibilities to address even the most complex healthcare challenges. This leads to an increasing acceptance of mHealth in the medical industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest professional services firms in the world, has estimated that the mHealth market will expand to $23 billion by 2017.

mHealth allows physicians to keep a close watch on their chronically ill patients without having to see them in the office. What’s more, they can collect health metrics such as weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels remotely, allowing for more convenience and cost-savings.

If you want to learn how implementing healthcare technology can benefit your business, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 21st, 2015

As technology continues to evolve in the healthcare industry, new developments are being made to improve the quality of delivering patient care. Breakthroughs in treatments, communication systems, and information gathering have provided healthcare practitioners with new tools to better serve patients. With that said, here are some of the biggest impacts technology has made in healthcare.

Enhanced information access

There’s no doubt that more and more people are using the Internet to research their medical issues. The introduction of Internet has allowed countless people to look up symptoms, exploring treatments and medicines on the web. Now that’s not to say that paying a visit to a doctor is a bad idea. But browsing for information online has enabled patients to understand what kind of symptoms they’re having, and allowed them to make better decisions about what to do next.

Better treatments and less suffering

Technology has also brought about new and innovative machines, medicines, and treatments that have the potential to save lives and improve the chance of recovery for billions. Not only can sophisticated technologies help patients heal and recover directly, they have also assisted researchers to make healthcare even more effective.

Take surgery for example. The invention of new medical tools and treatments, such as anesthetics, has enabled doctors to perform operations that were not possible before. They can undertake surgeries slowly and carefully, without worrying that their patients might feel pain or have their body give up altogether.

Improved patient care and staff efficiency

Electronic medical records have made patient care safer and more reliable than ever before. Physicians and nurses use portable devices to store patients’ medical records and check that they are administering the correct treatment. What’s more, results of lab tests, medicine orders, and patient information are all electronically stored in the main database, allowing for future reference.

Healthcare staff also benefit from technology - they have instant access to thousands of case studies, medical textbooks, and detailed patient history. Technology has also created telemedicine, a practice that enables doctors to consult with professionals from all over the world to diagnose, treat, and research conditions more effectively.

Medical trends prediction

Major search engines are now capable of predicting medical trends such as epidemics and flu outbreaks, based on the health information that users search for. Although not everyone who searches for “flu” is actually sick, these search queries tend to be popular when flu season is happening. The queries are added together to estimate how much flu is circulating in countries around the world. Medical experts are able to apply this information to take preventative measures and respond to outbreaks quickly.

Technology is paving the way for patients to live healthier lives. If you’re looking for efficient technology solutions to propel your healthcare business forward, don’t hesitate to contact our experts today - we have the perfect tools for all your needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.