The role of IT in healthcare has grown significantly in recent years, as the advancement of technology has helped streamline the healthcare industry, which has benefitted patients and providers alike. But what is the role of technology in patient care? Does it have any positive impact on patient experience? Let’s take a look at how technology has advanced patient care.
When we talk about patient care, there are many factors that we have to take into consideration. Patient care is at a critical juncture today: wherein modern technologies are now replacing traditional practices to make healthcare more accessible and advanced.
While the adoption of IT solutions in healthcare is picking up the pace to improve patient care, it is essential to look at how exactly they improve patient care.
The need for Healthcare Information Technology (HIT):
Traditional health care consisted of doing everything manually and mostly on paper. And most of the healthcare infrastructure was centered in the urban areas, which increased the disparity between healthcare of urban and rural residents. In addition, there were many roadblocks for rural patients.
The use of IT in healthcare has been termed Healthcare Information Technology (HIT). Let us now learn more about what HIT is, how it benefits healthcare as a whole, and how it improves the quality of patient care.
Let’s face it: Patients find it difficult to remember to take medicines on time, store their medicine orders securely, refill their medicine orders on time, keep their medical records discretely, and many more. Healthcare IT technologies provide convenient solutions to all these problems. How? Let us address them one by one.
How do advanced Healthcare IT Solutions impact patient care?
- Accurate and Accessible Documentation: It is no secret that healthcare involves heavy documentation of critical data with high-risk mix-ups. Healthcare data is often written on paper, including patient information, lab results, medical records, medicine orders, and medication lists. Apart from human errors, this data is at risk of being stolen or accessed by some unauthorized person. Furthermore, patients find handwritten information harder to decipher and often carries the risk of transcription errors.
Electronic documentation provides a reliable and accurate method of storing and distributing such data securely. But how does it improve the accessibility of such data?
HITs consist of advanced digital data collection and management platforms, commonly known as Electronic Record Management Tools. They enable healthcare providers to send and access patient data electronically and patients to submit, edit and access their data from anywhere.
- Streamlines Critical Processes: When IT solutions automate your routine repeated tasks, such as online booking, data entry, and other administrative tasks, you can now utilize your time in doing other quality work and divert resources to making the patient experience more pleasing.
- Telemedicine: Telemedicine solves two fundamental problems of healthcare—unavailability of doctors in rural areas and long traveling for doctor consultation.
Telemedicine enables patients to get virtual doctor consultation irrespective of their location, and additionally, they don’t have to travel for a visit also. This increases the productivity of everyone involved. This is a boon for people residing in distant regions and for people with limited mobility.
- IoT and Wearables: The Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices and sensors empower patients to share their real-time health conditions like blood pressure level with the doctor. They can also alert doctors instantly in emergencies like heart attacks and strokes, which boosts patients’ chances of survival.
- Personalized Medical Advice: AI can be trained on the vast amount of data gathered by various smart devices.
As per a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), “The Health Information System collects data from the health sector and other relevant sectors, analyses the data and ensures their overall quality, relevance and timeliness, and converts data into information for health-related decision-making.”
Such data can provide personalized, immediate medical advice to the patients by understanding their health conditions. This may come in handy when there’s an unavailability of doctors.
- Preventive Healthcare: Smart wearable devices can gather data about patient conditions, allowing doctors to analyze them and take preventive steps.
- Secure Medicine Order Storage: One of the main drawbacks of traditional healthcare infrastructure was that patients needed to keep all their medicine orders securely. And if one of the medicine orders gets lost, they have to face many hurdles. EMR (Electronic Medical Records) store all the patient records and doctor notes securely and enable patients to access their data from any authorized device. The latest addition to keeping health data secure is Blockchain. It forms an unbreakable network to keep patient data decentralized and transparent.
- Pill and Refill Reminder: Many digital health solutions provide pill reminders to patients via push notifications, texts, or emails. This way, patients never forget to take their medications on time. Furthermore, patients often forget to refill their medicines. To address this, healthcare apps remind patients to refill their medications in advance.
- Appointment Booking: Earlier, patients had to waste a reasonable amount of time just waiting in lines, and even that didn’t ensure them a guaranteed appointment. Even when patients just need to go for routine checkups, they have to wait for hours. Now with an online appointment booking facility, the patients do not need to wait in long queues for hours to book an appointment. HITs enable patients to book an appointment at their preferred slot and travel to the clinic at that particular time.
- Patient Education: Modern technologies like AR and VR boost patient engagement by allowing them to visualize medical procedures via 3D models. In limited cases, it even allows doctors to preview the effect of the treatment. It improves communication between doctors and patients and allows doctors to choose the best treatment for the patient.
Conclusion: Today, various technologies, especially IT, have massively improved healthcare delivery by streamlining processes, reducing operational costs, and increasing efficiency. Thus raising the standard of healthcare. The modern look of healthcare not only benefits the patients, but the society as a whole.
I hope you now understand the importance of healthcare IT solutions in patient care. You can get in touch with us if you want to know how we can help you digitize your healthcare operations.