The push to develop and deploy electronic health records (EHRs) over the past 15 years has brought many changes to the healthcare industry, but the work to fully realize their benefits — and harness their true potential — is not done.
The goal was to decrease costs and improve healthcare quality. While noble in concept and a notion that could revolutionize healthcare, fifteen years later, has it lived up to its promise?
Electronic records have resulted in tremendous benefits to both patients and providers. However, there is still an opportunity to continue to fully embrace the power of technology and data to improve patient outcomes and simplify the patient experience, especially regarding EHRs.
Electronic records have helped ensure that patients are educated about their medical history and that doctors have the information to make crucial — and potentially lifesaving — decisions. EHRs are no different from any new technology; there is always an opportunity to improve.
EHRs improved the patient experience
Over the past decade-and-a-half, the flow of information in our daily lives has hastened, and the desire to see information in real-time has extended to the medical industry.
Before EHRs, the doctor would have to wait for lab results, review them and then contact the patient to discuss the implication. Now, patients and doctors can quickly communicate the impact — such as the treatment plan and potential prescriptions — through the portal.
Previously, if patients had a post-appointment question, they might have a problem. They could call the office and hope it didn’t start a game of phone tag; if it did, they might not confirm an answer to their question until their next in-person appointment.
EHRs power patient portals, allowing patients to go online to assess and review their medical records, and if they have a question, they can post it and retain a digital record of the questions and answers. It also allows patients to see their appointment history and medications, request refills and schedule appointments.
The portal saves time for both patients and providers. Phone calls are now portal messages, and the time formerly expended on back-and-forth phone calls allows both sides to be more productive and informed.
Another benefit of EHRs is the portability of records.
Before, if patients wanted to change doctors, they needed to request printed copies of their records to take to their new provider — and many providers charged. Certified EHRs are required to generate a continuity of care document (CCD) that can be shared electronically.
Electronic health records (EHRs) have revolutionized the healthcare industry, streamlining patient care, improving efficiency, and enhancing communication among healthcare providers. Here, we explore the history of EHRs, highlighting the obstacles overcome throughout their development and implementation, as well as the challenges that persist for this transformative technology.
The Emergence of Electronic Health Records
The concept of electronic health records began to emerge in the 1960s with early attempts to digitize medical records. However, it wasn’t until much later in the century that technological advancements paved the way for the modern EHR systems. Standardization of medical terminologies and coding systems played, and continue to play, a crucial role in enabling data exchange and interoperability.
One of the initial obstacles in developing EHRs was the lack of interoperability among various systems. Different healthcare organizations and providers used a number of technologies and formats from a number of vendors, making it difficult to share and exchange patient information. In some cases, this is still the case.
Efforts have been made to standardize medical terminologies and coding systems, such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED), to facilitate data exchange, but other efforts are required.
Privacy and security concerns
The digital nature of EHRs raised concerns about patient privacy and data security. Protecting sensitive health information and ensuring data integrity became critical challenges. Legislation, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, was introduced to address these concerns and impose strict privacy and security regulations.
Robust encryption methods, access controls, and audit trails were implemented to safeguard patient data, among other protocols.
Did you know that automating healthcare administrative tasks can save up to 3 hours a day for the teams? Additionally, it improves work-life satisfaction by approximately 40%.
There is no secret that the healthcare industry is demanding and requires 24*7 service. That means the doctors, nurses, lab assistants, and the administrative and management team have to be on their toes to address the patient and their family’s needs.
Apart from this, the administrative team must schedule and manage the meeting between different departments, document everything, and keep track of the hospital assets. All these are time-consuming and daunting tasks.
Fortunately, using the tips below, you can manage them seamlessly, thereby increasing work efficiency.
Rely On Electronic Health Recording Systems
Every medical institution is required to keep a record of its patients. Traditionally, this information was recorded as a patient’s paper chart; however, this digital era calls for an electronic health record (EHR).
Simply put, healthcare EHR systems are patient-centered, real-time records that securely and promptly make information accessible to authorized users. It is designed to go beyond the typical clinical data collected in a provider’s office. Instead, it is inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care, even though it does contain patients’ medical and treatment histories.
In fact, the latest development in EHR systems enables the healthcare staff to streamline the workflow, manage patient logistics, and empower caregivers.
Investing In Unified Communications (UC) System
Even though almost all industries abandoned pagers years ago, they are still widely used in hospitals as the main staff communication tool. The reason being is that cell phones may interfere with the operation of some medical devices (proven by a 2016 study).
A unified communications (UC) system is thus required. It incorporates a wide range of technologies that, when used in a hospital setting, make it easy to track, monitor, and communicate patient data.
Providers can simply use the central hub created by a UC system to view a patient’s current clinical state, location, and impending procedures. The UC system allows hospital employees to communicate with nurses, doctors, and other medical staff members with frequent updates.
Install Asset Tracking Software
Lastly, numerous equipment, including IV poles, feeding pumps, and EKG monitors, are present in even a minor hospital. However, manually updated spreadsheets and hard copies prevent healthcare workers from having immediate access to the required information. The hospital also runs the danger of over-purchasing to guarantee equipment availability. Contrarily, a resource can be in high demand and frequently unavailable, which would impede hospital workflow and be upsetting for staff (and patients).
Fortunately, all this data is gathered via asset-tracking technology into a single database for rapid access and management by medical staff. They can easily find medical equipment, check maintenance logs, and ascertain the status of each hospital asset. As a result, patients receive care more promptly, inventory costs are decreased, and hospital flow is improved.
To manage the healthcare institution’s administrative tasks, finding and integrating the right software solutions is necessary. So, look around the current tasks your admin team is monitoring and introduce new technology and programs wherever necessary. As an added benefit, a well-administered hospital will enable you to earn the customer’s trust.
Today, technology has become a part of day-to-day life. It has infiltrated virtually every industry, and this includes healthcare. The adoption of modern tools has considerably boosted the sector’s productivity, provided a competitive edge, and streamlined the execution of operations and patient care. Because of this, most hospitals and facilities are now seeking to have similar technologies deployed in their areas of operation.
If you’re looking to launch a health tech startup, make sure it’s cutting edge so that the market appreciates your brand. Note that technology evolves rapidly, and your startup should be able to accommodate the most recent developments. Below are the key tools you should have in your startup.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
EHRs are digital information records used by health facilities to record patient data and avoid the tedious use and management of paperwork. These records contain details like:
Medications and list of allergies
Medical histories, like immunization dates
Laboratory tests and results
Patient health progress notes
A hospital can efficiently and effectively treat a patient when they have accessible and accurate data. A reliable medical device company should also be able to embed the EHR in the operating system of such gadgets to ensure seamless access and retrieval of digital patient records.
And aside from availing data to authorized users instantly, EHRs aid in making decisions on the treatment course. Also, they help in coordinating patient treatment through simplified communication between different departments.
From ordering pizza to managing your finances, new technology is changing the way we live our everyday life. And now, more than ever before, these innovations are finding ways to impact the healthcare industry in incredible ways!
Technology has become an integral part of the healthcare industry as it is filled in every corner of every hospital and has a significant impact on both healthcare workers & patients alike. These tech facilities have greatly assisted healthcare workers, transforming their works into more efficient processes with greater accuracy than ever before!
Nurses are the backbone of every healthcare team. Being a nurse is highly demanding & this hasn’t been highlighted better than during the COVID-19 pandemic. As nursing profession requires the core of what makes us human- it can never be replaced by technology.
Technology and the nursing profession are not replacements for one another; instead, they complement each other. In fact, the WHO’s State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020 emphasized the significance of technology in both nursing education and practice.
Let’s have a glance at the most promising ones.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
EHRs are replacing traditional paper filing processes. Electronic health records are an excellent way for nursing experts to document care provided and retrieve information that can help prioritize patient needs. Moreover, data entered into computer systems can be accessed by the care team, which includes doctors & even patients when necessary.
While privacy and security continue to be a concern for Electronic Health Records, HIPAA laws ensure that the organizations preserve the confidentiality of electronic records. New technology like blockchain and cryptography are easing these concerns with its anonymity features, allowing easier access to various aspects of your medical history without compromising personal information or data breaches.
The electronic health records inform the registered nurses about the subsequent steps they need to take for a patient, supervising minor condition changes & providing them information instantly as reminders or alerts. Real-time health condition updates impact the accuracy and speed of medical care.
Care management is a set of activities that aims to improve the quality of care of patients by helping them manage health conditions. Ultimately, this reduces the need for medical services. The need for care management has led to the rise of care management organizations that strive to enhance the quality of patient experience.
To be successful in this industry, care organizations need to incorporate effective care management software. This software is an indispensable tool that can determine the success or failure of your organization.
For this reason, several factors should be considered when choosing one.
Should Be All-Inclusive
Other than the electronic health records (EHR), a good care management software should also include other data sources that go beyond the medical history of the patient. While EHRs are important for gathering and storing data, there is still need for an interactive and comprehensive software.
A good software must get data from a variety of data sources and systems where communication takes place. Other than being in just one EMR, the software should be in multiple EMRs so that it doesn’t miss information from health systems within the ACO. A care management software that is comprehensive will enable clinicians to make timely decisions.
You could argue that, of all the different ways that technology has brought improvement to the lives of humans across the globe, none is more significant as the benefits to healthcare and medicine. From creating the X-ray machine to the many different surgical practices and personal care advancements, technology has helped increase life expectancy and optimism about the future of healthcare. As we journey into the years ahead, we continue to invent technologies that treat rare diseases and improve the general quality of life.
One significant advancement in technology is the creation of electronic health records (EHRs). The movement towards EHRs has caused a massive evolution in medicine and healthcare delivery, leading to other advances in health diagnosis and treatments. Gone are the days when hospitals relied on contrasting information systems that could not transfer and share patient records. The EHR system has made it possible to connect many systems and allow for faster, efficient, and integrated care.
Another advancement worth mentioning is telehealth or telemedicine. This simply refers to using telecommunications technology to improve healthcare. Whether you are focusing on At Home Companion Care or healthcare for deprived rural areas, patients can use different computers to have virtual meetings with doctors. Another advantage of using telehealth or telemedicine is its cost-effectiveness.
The telehealth technology works well with the right monitoring tools. When patients need to monitor their health from home, they can reduce visits to the doctor’s office and save some money. Today, millions of people use different telehealth technologies and remote health monitoring systems. Health workers and service providers can send needed data to health centers at remote locations. The benefit of this system is that it provides the right tools and methods to treat and monitor patients with chronic health issues regardless of their location.
There’s never been a more exciting era in the healthcare IT space than now. The intersection of disruptive technological innovation and a more tech-savvy generation of customers provides endless opportunities across a wide range of medical applications.
The healthcare industry has traditionally been reluctant to embrace tech. Given the strict regulations, the sensitivity of healthcare, and the potentially deadly consequences if something does go wrong, this reluctance is understandable. Slowly but surely though, healthcare is embracing IT, thereby unleashing new levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Here’s a look at some of the key tech trends that are fast establishing a foothold in healthcare.