Healthcare information technology (healthcare IT) has played a critical role in the medical industry in recent years by offering solutions to many long-standing problems. With a wide array of electronic systems available, from teleconferencing software to electronic health records, virtually every business need can be met with this technology, and many applications can be custom-tailored to tackle unique issues. For a better understanding of how this technology can help healthcare providers, here are twelve problems that it can easily solve.
12 Problems That Can Be Solved With Healthcare Information Technology
1. Safety Issues and Liabilities
Having a secure and well-organized health information system can improve patient safety while also reducing liability. Because patient information can be stored in IT databases, medical personnel can use it to ensure that they’re prescribing appropriate medications based on a patient’s medical history, current medications, lab results, or allergies.
When practitioners need to make quick decisions, having this information on hand and readily accessible can prevent serious mistakes from being made. Also, many systems can be programmed to alert users of potential red flag scenarios. So if a patient is currently taking a medication that might interact with another, this type of information can be highlighted within the system so that all practitioners accessing the patient’s medical records are instantly aware of it.
2. Communication Barriers
When multiple staff members are interacting with a patient, it’s important that both their actions and the patient’s responses are recorded. Healthcare IT helps to facilitate communication between staff members in different departments or buildings so that a patient’s progress, changes in their treatment plans, and any positive or negative responses to those changes can be documented and shared.
Not only does this improve workflow and staff efficiency, but it also leads to better overall patient care. If a patient is responding favorably to intervention, this technology provides the tools needed to identify this type of trend, allowing practitioners to quickly discover what’s working and what’s not working for a particular patient.
This also means that trends amongst groups of patients can be identified as well. If many patients with a similar disorder or disease are reporting improvements with one treatment plan over another, the superior approach can be recognized early on.
3. Confusion Among Patients
To reduce patient inquiries while providing superior service, online portals allow patients to quickly access the information they need without having to make phone calls to do so. This not only leads to greater patient satisfaction and clarity but also helps to free up resources, so staff members can focus their attention where it’s most needed.
With patient portals, patients can receive updated information from their nurses or practitioners, schedule appointments, and access a digital file of their medical records or billing information. Communication between patients and staff members can also take place within these portals, so unlike an individual email address, any correspondence that has taken place can be seen by all staff members who have access.
4. High Operational Costs
Analytical software can help identify unnecessary spending, which can cut down on operational costs. Everything from the management of supplies to equipment usage can be tracked and monitored, so changes in procedures can be made with confidence based on what the data says.
If one piece of equipment is more cost-efficient to use than another yet provides the same level of service to customers, this could save a company millions of dollars, and it’s the data that would show this.
5. A Lack of Analytical Data
Because all types of data can be stored and retrieved, it can later be analyzed to identify where improvements can be made, such as during the intake process or at the point of care. If the data shows that patients require a particular service at any point during their appointment, changes can be made to offer this service based on what the data says.
Comprehensive data can also help to pinpoint areas of service where employees can be best utilized, which can lead to greater productivity by freeing up labor resources that can be better allocated elsewhere.
6. Problems With Prescriptions
Healthcare information technology can also help to streamline specific services, which can simplify things for both patients and staff. Instead of writing prescriptions by hand, practitioners can utilize electronic prescribing (e-Prescribing) to send patients’ prescriptions directly to pharmacies. This can reduce the possibility of errors that sometimes occur with handwriting and can save both parties time by doing away with the traditional prescription pad.
This is much more convenient for patients, as an electronic prescription is sent to a pharmacy instantly, so it’s normally ready for pick-up by the time the patient arrives there. It can also save both patients and practitioners time by eliminating the possibility of lost or amended prescription papers. Instead of having to visit a provider again to replace a prescription or to fix a problem with it, a phone call is all that’s needed to ensure it’s on file or to amend it.
7. Excessive Paperwork
Digital records and forms can help save time for both patients and staff. In a scenario where a staff member is tasked with inputting information based on patient-completed paper forms, this can be converted to a digital format, and static information that does not change, such as a customer’s name, address, and social security number can be saved on file instead.
Filing cabinets full of patients’ medical records can be replaced with physical servers and cloud-based virtual servers. This means that if there’s ever any data loss, you’ll have a secure backup to quickly replace it.
8. Immobile Patients
Other services, such as consultations or some forms of therapy, can be offered through teleconferencing software instead of in person at the office. This can save companies money by reducing office hours while also offering patients a stay-at-home option, which can be particularly convenient for those with physical limitations.
If a patient’s treatment requires repetitive tasks, such as physical therapy exercises, videos can be recorded and scheduled for patients through online portals. This can save time and resources while providing patients the convenience of being able to access their therapy sessions at any time of day. Educational videos, digital guides, and other forms of information can be provided alongside live teleconferencing appointments as well.
9. Missed Follow-Ups
Follow-ups can be more effective when both parties are reminded. Through digital software and online portals, both patients and staff can receive automated reminders about things like medications, appointments, or continuing at-home therapy sessions.
This can greatly enhance the patient-doctor relationship, and it also provides a quick way to send out updates or information. In scenarios where there are emergencies, such as natural disasters in the area, or if there’s been a change in operating business hours, this can be instantly communicated to all patients in multiple ways with this technology.
10. Security Weaknesses
Healthcare IT also enhances security and patient privacy protection by offering advanced features like file encryption, which is a secure way of storing information while preventing unauthorized users from accessing it. Patient records and analytical data can also be access-controlled with PINs or passwords, allowing administrators to designate varying levels of access to different staff members.
All of this can also help to maintain compliance with government regulations, as the HIPAA Security Rule requires that patient information is stored with a specific amount of protection to prevent data breaches. If a company needs to relocate or if there are power outages and equipment becomes damaged, cloud-based options are available so that vital records and company information are always safe and secure at all times.
11. Common Billing Errors
Health technology software can also improve medical billing practices by keeping track of payments and overdue accounts while maintaining records of all correspondence with insurance companies. Billed services can be paired with other forms of data, such as HIPAA-compliant medical coding, for an all-in-one software solution.
Billing discrepancies are more easily discovered with software designed specifically to look for them, while the risk of double-billing patients is drastically reduced. Before a patient is late making a payment, a system can automatically send out an email as a reminder. Submitting insurance claims or verifying the patient’s insurance can also be done through the same software.
12. Monitoring Difficulties
For patients with chronic conditions who still require monitoring after a discharge from inpatient care, healthcare IT can combine office software with medical sensors in a remote monitoring scenario. If there are any changes in a patient’s condition, such as a rise in blood pressure or a drop in body temperature, staff can be alerted to it immediately.
Data can also be remotely gathered and analyzed on a continual basis, which can help predict certain events before they happen. This allows healthcare professionals to introduce interventions quickly to avoid medical emergencies later.
Healthcare information technology is helping millions of healthcare companies by improving patient-provider relationships, cutting operational costs, increasing patient safety, and reducing liabilities. To see how this technology can help your organization or clinical practice, contact us today at Riveraxe for a free consultation.