Technological innovation continues to ramp up its pace and the field of healthcare is catching up with it quickly. Keeping up with the latest healthcare technology trends is very crucial for the hospitals in order to remain competitive in the rapidly evolving tech scenario and deliver the best care possible.
It’s time healthcare providers jump on the tech bandwagon and enable their staff to spend less time doing manual labor but rather, focus their efforts on complex tasks instead.
In order to meet the rising competition, here are 6 technologies that hospitals need to leverage in order to streamline their day to day operations and expedite healthcare delivery.
Digital touchpoints for scheduling of appointments
Patients today are techno savvy and expect digital engagement from the hospitals as well. While some patients would prefer to pick up the phone or have in person meetings to do things like making an appointment, paying their bill, or asking questions about their care, a significantly large number of them now expect to be able to conduct these common transactions digitally.
Using an appointment scheduling system: either a website or a mobile application which paves a digital pathway for patient interaction, not only increases the patient satisfaction levels, but they also lessen the burden on your hospital staff. This frees up valuable resources which can be used to deal with more complex issues.
Installing self service kiosks at the hospital reception, that lets the patients check-in without human intervention is yet another way hospitals can streamline patient entry into the hospital.
Mr Daniel Higman, a vascular and pediatric surgeon at Nuffield health believes in the power of self service kiosks in the hospitals. “Patients can increasingly do everything related to registration without having to talk to anyone,” Mr. Higman says. “This can help with staffing savings, and some patients are more comfortable with it.”
Automated kiosks can assist patients with paying co-pays, checking identification, signing paperwork and other registration requirements. The technology can also be modified to be used in bedside and outpatient settings for streamlining hospital check-ins.
Digitized health records
The days of manual entry of health records with paper and pen are long gone. If your hospital is still stuck in the age old methodologies, the time for digital transformation is well past due. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) or Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) have become mainstream in hospitals across the globe.
The digitalization of health records makes storage convenient, promotes accessibility and improves interoperability. While many organizations are storing data on physical servers, using cloud based systems takes the advantages of health records digitization a notch higher.
Cloud computing of healthcare data makes remote accessibility possible. Hosting data on HIPAA compliant cloud servers adds an additional layer of security and ensures that the patient data stored on cloud servers remains compliant with regulatory norms such as HIPAA and HITECH laws.
Having a patient database on the cloud also promotes care delivery through telemedicine platforms reducing the burden on the hospital facilities as well. Since the access to patient data is not limited to one physical location, specialist referrals and access to specialized care, is also improved. Storage of patient records on the cloud also promotes interoperability between the different care entities such as healthcare practitioners, laboratories, and insurance providers.
mHealth and Internet of Medical Things
Patients today are increasingly turning to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to meet their medical needs. Healthcare providers need to jump on the tech bandwagon too. Smartphones and tablets allow healthcare providers to freely access the patient information and utilize data to make better care decisions.
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have already begun using tablets to update charts, order tests, and write prescriptions. Physicians and service providers can use mHealth tools for orders, documentation and improve the access to information when communicating with patients.
Both provider facing and patient facing mobile applications are finding ever-increasing applications in the field of healthcare. Physicians can mitigate their workload and reduce chances of burnout. Patient facing mobile apps can include generic health and fitness apps to specialized apps such as prescription reminder apps.
Smart devices that fall under the umbrella of the Internet of Medical Things are equipped with sensors that collect specific health information such as heart rate, blood glucose levels, ECG etc and transmit it to the counterpart mobile apps. Dr Chora, a pulmonary specialist in New York believes that IoMT and healthcare wearables have the potential to transform care like never before.
Wearable medical devices and sensors are simply another way to collect data, which Dr. Chopra says, is one of the aims and purposes of healthcare. “Sensors and wearable technology could be as simple as an alert sent to a care provider when a patient falls down or a bandage that can detect skin pH levels to tell if a cut is getting infected.,” Dr. Chopra says. “Anything we are currently using where a smart sensor could be is part of that solution. We’re able to take a lot of these data points to see if something abnormal is happening.”
Staffing management technology
Healthcare workers are the backbone of your hospital’s success. Recruiting the right team and onboarding them on your staff is a highly resource intensive activity. Technology can help in streamlining the process for you.
For example, Cerebro, an artificial intelligence algorithm for Nurse staffing results in fafster fill times, hire fill rates and increased staffing flexibility. Hospitals no longer need to rely on inefficient staffing agencies and can thus ensure that they onboard staff that is the best fit on the team.
Clinical decision support software helps healthcare providers take data-driven decisions, mitigating the workload and reducing physician burnout. Technology also plays an important role for continuous training and development programs for keeping the skills of the hospital staff polished. Use of Augmented and Virtual reality programs for surgical training and development programs is gaining popularity in recent times.
Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring tools
Telemedicine is a boon for the healthcare system and the recent COVID-19 crisis has brought it to the forefront. Telemedicine clinics can reduce out of office costs for hospitals by eliminating the need to leave work to go to a primary care office. Monitoring patients’ health at home through remote patient monitoring tools can reduce costs and unnecessary visits to a physician’s office.
Telemedicine is not limited to general consultations either. It is finding its application in specialized fields such as cardiac care as well. Treating patients through telemedicine can make time management of the medical staff more efficient, letting them cater to a higher number of patients per day and reducing the wait times.
Telehealth also cuts down on the costs for both the patients as well as the healthcare providers. With the regulatory and compensatory hurdles resolving, telemedicine can prove to be the next big thing for healthcare soon.
Artificial intelligence in healthcare
Artificial intelligence is making great strides in all industry verticals and healthcare is no exception to it. From AI-aided diagnosis through radiological and histological analysis to smart assistants and chatbots streamlining healthcare delivery, the applications of artificial intelligence in the field of healthcare are multifold.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning can streamline hospital operations, reducing staff overtime and optimizing hospital resources.
Hospital technology is progressing at an unprecedented rate as never before. It would be interesting to see the transformation technology has in store for the hospitals and healthcare industry as a whole in the coming years.