Guest post by Tatsiana Levdikova, copywriter, Effective Soft.
Hospital managers want to be sure that hospital staff constantly improve their skills and share relevant information with their colleagues. Automated solutions cannot become a substitute for a discussion where healthcare professionals can exchange their knowledge and share their ideas, but routine tasks can be arranged in the form of a workflow portal.
Usage of such a portal has a number of advantages:
- It will help employees to save their time;
- It will enable hospital managers to assign different access privileges to users, thus restricting access to medical data;
- The portal can automatically create and send out reports like the ones covering employee performance.
- This portal can be used to create its own medical knowledge base for the hospital.
A hospital is a place where like-minded people work and spend much time together. Not to lag behind other healthcare professionals, hospital staff must keep abreast of the latest trends and developments in medicine. However, being extremely busy during their working hours, the personnel has not time to discuss medical trends and developments on the fly: according to the National Center for Health Statistics the mean wait time in U.S. emergency departments increased 25 percent, from 46.5 minutes to 58.1 minutes from 2003 through 2009.
A hospital communication portal seems to be the right choice in this case. However, it should be noted that developers of custom hospital software and such portals in particular must pay close attention to the specifics a medical organization has.
The portal will enable the personnel to share valuable medical information, such as aspects of people, companies, news and other things of interest in a convenient, efficient, and fast way. Besides, it is important to give users an ability to comment.
Users would have their own profiles enabling them to connect directly with each other. The profiles could also include basic information on departments where users work, room numbers, working hours, specializations, and more.
Capabilities of the portal could be extended further by adding elements of social networks by making it possible for users to upload videos and images, tagging other users to them, etc. A general chat or forum could also be launched. All in all, the portal could become an important part of the HRM reporting system and assist hospital managers in managing sources and personnel.
Such a portal has the potential to become much more than a communication tool. It could become an effective hospital automation tool:
- It could carry out information management activities like creating different security clearance levels for users where the administrative staff would be allowed to edit all administrative data.
- Training and education: hospital managers could upload files to the portal that would contain information that they believe to be useful for the hospital staff.
- Usage of electronic forms. The portal could allow electronic management of forms for supply replenishments, meeting room requests, application submission, leaving feedback, surveys and many others.
An event calendar is one more useful feature the portal could include: it could give portal users a possibility to see upcoming events (within an organization and beyond it). The events could be added to the calendar by portal administrators or offered by users. Users could also receive notifications about different events.
Besides, the portal could be used for file storage and as a document viewer, as well. However, access to files and edit permissions must be given to users by the administrative staff. It is a very important issue since medical information can contain personal data of patients. The portal could give an opportunity to filter such information by deleting personal data and leaving medical information (e.g. a description of a course of a rare disease) that could be used further by the personnel.
There are a number of difficulties developers come across during medical website development. Security is one of major issues since portals can include information on patients, finance, etc. Compatibility with different web browsers is another problem because the hospital staff may have computers where different browsers are installed. If a portal is also used to hold calls/video conferences, developers would have to solve problems related to the usage of VoIP. Developing a feature enabling to manage documents and editing them by different users simultaneously is another issue IT experts have to cope with.
A communication portal can improve relations among hospital staff and assist a discussion of all important issues. It will also give the hospital staff access to information and files they need. The portal will also help the hospital administration to manage administrative matters in a timely manner.
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