Advancements in healthcare capabilities are due to significant progress in available technologies. Integrating these technologies into each division of healthcare can benefit patients and medical staff. Proper knowledge and implementation of these new tools can push a health organization to a new level of success.
Technology in Health Care
In modern healthcare, constantly-updated policies, insurance restrictions and physician/patient interaction compel the direction of treatment, and little room is left for error in each process. As medical knowledge expands daily, new emphasis is placed on the improvement of performance in the overall delivery of healthcare. Emerging technologies are proving a powerful tool in the pursuit of complete efficiency.
Every year, millions of dollars are invested in integrated health care management and electronic medical record systems. These capabilities present medical staff with the ability to manage and share healthcare information quickly and easily. The value of these technological tools can best be seen in the enhancement of patient care as a more efficient and thorough organization of medical data improves the efficiency of health examination, diagnosis, and treatment.
The types of technology that have proven to provide significant improvement in healthcare systems are becoming richer and more readily accessible. The technological instruments that most closely benefit the practice of healthcare management include:
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
The leadership possibilities provided to healthcare managers by the use of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) are bountiful, including ease of access, multi-user access and data entry simplification. EHRs allow multiple healthcare providers simultaneous access to the same health information for each patient. Physicians, nurses, ancillary and medical recordkeeping staff can work together to quickly provide the best treatment possibilities based on the shared information, leaving little room for guesswork or error. Various types of medical data, such as medical imaging, laboratory testing results, patient allergies and pre-existing conditions can be shared in real-time, expediting immediate patient treatment care and follow-up processes.
Tele-health utilizes digital technologies to transmit healthcare information quickly and easily from the placement of various devices located inside a patient's home. Further, tele-health data, which can measure blood glucose levels, blood pressure, weight and heart rate, is recorded at periodic intervals and delivered digitally to healthcare providers. The physician using tele-health technology is able to monitor and evaluate the patient's condition without the patient ever having to leave his home. Treatment and care decisions can be made quickly and simply by analyzing the data received. Accessibility to healthcare for the most rural of patients is available, and further illness can be circumvented by avoiding a crowded waiting room full of communicable illnesses. Tele-health, also called telemedicine, is especially beneficial for terminally ill patients, or those who have difficulty traveling.
Personal Health Records (PHR)
The Personal Health Record (PHR) supplies each healthcare provider with the same information on a patient, including history of health and surgeries, current and former medications, ongoing treatments and known drug allergies. The PHR acts as a lifelong documentation of health for each patient and the availability of the compiled information can aid in quick diagnosis and treatment decisions by healthcare providers. The security of PHR information is guarded within a web-based platform that can only be accessed following the consent of the patient, but the sharing ability, once approved, is instantaneous. The information can also be quickly burned onto a flash drive or other recordable device for expedited treatment when a patient is traveling outside of the United States.
No technology has offered more than wireless access, as it has put patient care literally at the bedside. Without complicated cables and wiring, health information is readily available wherever wireless internet service is offered. Gone are the days of a centralized documentation station, allowing caregivers the freedom to move from point to point within an organization while maintaining connection with a patient's records, which can be updated constantly. Medical facilities are using wireless computers-on-wheels, wireless-enabled handheld or laptop PCs, and a variety of wireless communication devices.
The protection and quick access of electronic records and patient data documents are protected with biometrics, providing ease of access to numerous automated patient care systems at one time. Biometrics removes the time-consuming and onerous task of generating and memorizing compound log-ins and passwords, saving valuable time in case of emergency. Fingertip scanning is one form of biometrics that allows quick access to patient data. Identifying the individual by his fingerprint is being implemented in nursing stations, laboratories, surgery centers and record keeping facilities. Other innovative forms of biometric identification include iris and retina, face and voice recognition, which are valuable in not only healthcare staff detection, but also in the identification of patients.
The Importance of Implementation
Implementing new available technologies into a healthcare system often falls on the healthcare manager, and thorough training is required for each staff member. The types of technologies discussed can be expensive, and the money or effort spent on acquiring these tools can go to waste if healthcare providers lack adequate comprehension of their application or value. Technology will continue to shape and change the business of healthcare, both in day-to-day duties and overall patient care.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of Americans worry about medical mistakes, and 68% admit that they trust technology for accuracy. Technology is not foolproof, but it is able to provide ease of access to pertinent medical information, quick identification of caregivers, immediate health answers for remote patients and more accurate diagnosis or treatment decisions. In matters of critical health in medical facilities, every moment counts, and technology aids in quick decision-making when it matters most.
Innovation in technology continues to prove its worth in all aspects of healthcare, from patient care to facility management. Technology has worked to improve the medical field, but without a complete understanding of the integration of these technologies into a healthcare system, the value of these innovations is diminished. For those in healthcare management, it is crucial to stay up-to-date on available tools to most effectively progress an organization.
Beginning your career in healthcare management is as easy as starting your education at Utica College. With the convenience of flexible scheduling, you can earn your Master's Degree in Health Care Administration and give yourself a boost in the right direction towards a successful healthcare career.