With the COVID-19 pandemic restricting where, when and how people can get the health care they need, digital technology has emerged as an invaluable means to keep the patients and health care providers connected.
Healthcare information technology includes using technology to record, assess, and distribute patient-related data to enhance the population's overall health by improving the quality of care patients receive.
As the importance of digital health technologies will only continue to grow, even after the pandemics, if you want to improve patient care in your institution, here's how technology can help.
Electronic health records
While in the past, healthcare professionals had to document everything by hand, on paper — now, they can fill out that information on their mobile device or computer.
Besides eliminating errors caused by the manual charting of patient data, electronic health records permit sharing patient's health information throughout different healthcare facilities.
For example, a patient moved from one ward to another can be treated timely and adequately because other physicians can access their data.
Furthermore, EHR systems can also alert the staff when their patients are due for screenings or preventive procedures.
Leverage virtual care
During coronavirus pandemics, telehealth has become a safe and comfortable way to connect with their care providers about various health issues for many patients. These issues range from routine care and chronic condition management to urgent health concerns and specialty services.
After the initial examination, patients don't need to visit the clinic for every single checkup, as they can do some of the checkups virtually.
This is incredibly convenient for those who live in remote areas and might find it challenging to come to the clinic. In addition, it is crucial for patients who need urgent advice before the examination.
Virtual care provides real-time communication between the patient and an actual provider using technology to deliver. To answer their patient's needs, health care professionals may want to offer these services through their virtual care platform. Improving patient access to virtual care has many positive outcomes, such as preventing diseases, identifying and managing chronic conditions, improving satisfaction, and cutting costs.
Digital signage to communicate effectively
Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers can use digital signage displays to provide different information to their patients or staff. These displays can be placed all over the venue, wherever the information, announcements, or advice need to be delivered accurately and timely, with a modern feel.
Healthcare digital signage can also ease communication between physicians and patients, speeding up the patient intake. In addition, the patients don't need to rely on nurses or physicians to provide them with minor bits of info – they could use the touch screen to log in and read through their medical anamnesis, manage their hospital bills, or check their appointments.
People worldwide already rely on activity trackers and smartwatches to help monitor their daily activity and sleep patterns, hoping that this data can support their efforts to improve their well-being.
However, similar devices are now being used as a resource to manage chronic conditions, as people can now make data-driven decisions about their care and daily habits. Continuous glucose monitors are an excellent example. These devices transmit nearly real-time data about glucose levels to the patient's smartphone or other digital devices so that they can more easily identify relationships between their blood sugar levels, eating, and exercise.
Wearables and other remote patient monitoring initiatives can also help in the management of heart failure. For example, by using scales, blood pressure cuffs, and pulse oximeters to monitor blood-oxygen levels, perfusion index, and pulse rate, care providers may be able to recognize potentially severe changes and quickly intervene, helping prevent complications and possible hospitalizations.
These and similar devices can be used to enable senior citizens to live happy and more independent lives in their retirement.
Via patient portals, patients can now access their medical history, message their doctor, schedule appointments, view their medical bills, and make payments, all online. As a result, patient portals allow patients to have more control regarding their overall health treatment.
Patients can use their devices, such as cell phones or tablets, to create and save personal notes and receive alerts and notifications from their health care providers. For example, instead of waiting on the phone during their business hours to set an appointment, a patient can log in, check their doctor's availability and schedule a time for an examination that works for both of them.
Technology as a part of the workflow
New digital platforms can also improve healthcare providers' workflow and enhance their patient satisfaction by offering more personalized and data-driven clinical recommendations.
For instance, specific technology platforms can enable care providers to view patient health history, prescription costs, eligibility, and potential gaps in care to obtain prior authorization before the patient leaves the clinic.
This may help providers select lower-cost drug alternatives by providing cost information and equivalent medications before the patient goes to the pharmacy.
These are just some of the ways information technology can be used to enhance the care that medical professionals provide and patients receive.
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