Technology is transforming lives and the healthcare industry is feeling its presence as well. With technological innovations permeating through the healthcare landscape, patient care technologies have become a part of mainstream care delivery programs.
Technology-driven innovation has the power to improve the understanding of patients, enable the delivery of more convenient, individualized care and create $350 billion–$410 billion in annual value by 2025.
It’s not just clinicians who are favoring adoption of technology to streamline care delivery. Patients are inclined towards technology enabled processes as well. 85 percent of U.S. adults feel more confident in a hospital’s quality of care knowing its staff are well versed in the latest technology.
Let us take a deep dive in understanding how technological innovations are bringing about a transformation in patient care and are elevating patient experiences at the same time.
Reimagining Technology Powered Patient Care
As life expectancy continues to grow, the aging population increases. Add medical professionals and nursing shortages into the mix and you’ll find that medical technologies are crucial for continued patient care and the healthcare system at large.
While technology cannot be a replacement for day to day patient interactions, it can certainly streamline these interactions, giving a boost to efficiency of the medical service providers and lessening the overall burden. Finding the right balance between technology and human care is the key to successful integration of technology in the healthcare realm.
Here are some of the ways technology is transforming patient care.
1. Automated patient data integration in EHRs
EHRs are a great tool for facilitating easy access to data and its shareability. However, they also are a leading cause of physician and nurses’ burnout. Filling up data into the EMRs and EHRs can take up the physician’s bedside time and put undue pressure on the care providers. Integrating the hospital technology solutions such as appointment scheduling software or wearable technology can automate the data entry into the EHRs.
The start of patients’ interaction with the healthcare facility starts even before they ever step foot in it. An appointment scheduling software that asks for the basic questions like medication history, allergies, history of present illness etc, and directly uploads it into the patient’s EHR helps the healthcare providers be better prepared for the incoming patients and manage the workflow more effectively.
Electronic check in also helps in avoiding mounting paperwork and manual filling of forms. Wearable devices can help collect the vitals like temperature, blood pressure, heart rate etc and result in a more comprehensive data being collected, which raises the level of patient care.
2. Hospital wayfinding applications
Once the patient enters the healthcare facility, navigating through the winding corridors to their destination can be a challenge. Instead of relying on traditional wall mounted signages and directions, technology has upgraded the navigation system and brought it in the palms of the patient’s hands.
Self check in kiosks can eliminate the long wait times while wayfinding applications can make sure that the patients do not wander in the hospital hallways and reach their intended destination.
3. Technology for patient engagement
In-patient care is something technology is on its way of revamping. From medication adherence apps that send you notifications when it’s time to take your pills to Augmented reality and Virtual reality powered bedside infotainment units, the scope of technology in patient care is pretty widespread.
mHealth apps and patient portals can help the patients stay tuned in to their treatment and raises the levels of engagement resulting in improved outcomes and greater patient satisfaction levels. Healthcare chatbots are another tech innovation streamlining patient care. Instead of waiting for doctors and nurses to answer their queries, the chatbots can accelerate the conversations and boost engagement levels at the same time.
Extending Patient Care Beyond The Hospital Walls
Patient care is no longer limited to the confines of the healthcare facility. Thanks to advances in telemedicine, patients can avail optimum care from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual consultations with doctors and nurses allows for remote diagnosis and even treatment for ailments that don’t require significant intervention.
Telehealth apps have proven to be a boon for patients and providers alike. With remote patient monitoring devices, physicians can monitor the patient’s vital signs without them having to be in the office. Post-treatment follow ups and routine appointments can be conducted virtually without the patients having to make the trip down to their physician’s clinic.
The technology can also help patients with disabilities or debilitating conditions to avail doctor’s and nurses’ care from the comfort of their own homes. Other than real time consultations, telemedicine can also allow for remote diagnosis through store-and-forward solutions and streamline specialist referrals. Telemedicine can help combat hospital acquired infections and instances of cross-infections by eliminating the need to visit the hospitals in the first place, thus boosting care and improving outcomes.
Enabling Communication Across Different Healthcare Settings For Optimum Patient Care
Whether it is at-home or in-office settings, patient care technologies are finding their application across the various different healthcare settings. With cloud computing in healthcare becoming more prevalent, specialist referrals are more streamlined than ever before. Patients can now get access to top quality of care irrespective of their location.
The prevalence of technology in the healthcare realm is only going to become rampant as we make more progress in the field of healthtech. The aim of technology is to streamline operations and make life easier for the healthcare providers. This is only possible if all tech solutions are aligned towards the same goal.
While patient care will always remain in the purview of humans, leveraging technology can certainly help them become more efficient and drive better results.