21st Century Hospital: How Healthcare Is Modernizing
Healthcare is lagging behind. There’s no easy way to say it – people are not getting the best care possible because, among financial difficulties, hospitals are finding it incredibly hard to modernize and utilize the tools available today to better serve patients. It’s not anybody’s fault – it’s a fact within in the industry.
According to HealthData Management, a survey organized and analyzed in 2014 by the American Health Information Management Association showed that only 11 percent of respondents characterized their hospital or clinic’s information governance as “mature” in design – and as much as 35 percent didn’t even know if their organization recognized the need for, or had begun implementation of any sort of information governance programs.
But the facts are beginning to change. Telecom companies and IT companies alike are tapping into the healthcare market, helping hospitals and clinics modernize in different ways – not just in information technology.
Juggling Between Efficiency and Quality
Among the more pressing matters for hospitals considering modernization is the actual transition period itself. Modern technology focuses on prioritizing efficiency and eliminating a lag between diagnosis, treatment and recovery periods within patients – increasing a hospital’s annual capacity for patients and thus their profit margins, as well. But it isn’t that simple. On the ground level, hospitals have to decide what services and partners will focus on patient care and put care quality over hospital efficiency – especially in outsourcing.
But the need for modernization in data management is glaringly obvious. A study by HIMSS Analytics on Electronic Health Records (or EHR) showed that less than two-thirds (60 percent) of respondents had a formal EHR governance structure in place. Efficient records don’t endanger patient care, and can only benefit both patients and doctors by making it easier to access and manage patient information.
RELATED ARTICLE: HOW A BARBERSHOP CAN IMPROVE HEALTHCARE FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS
On the Topic of Upgrading Data Infrastructure
Going from paper to electronic comes with a few dangers, however. For one, cyber crime rates are up. According to Statista, the six-year average annual loss for the healthcare industry due to cybercrime is $6.7 million – last year, it was $9.8 million. Global telecommunications giant Cisco published a paper concerning the measures healthcare professionals have to take to avoid cyber criminality is to focus more specifically on the different aspects of technology within the healthcare sector.
Most competent IT services branching out into the healthcare sector are making cyber security a priority, specifically because of the dangers of stolen patient data. Privacy is a hotly-debated issue today, on all levels of consumer data – but keeping medical records confidential is a crucial point for ensuring patient safety.
A fast-growing and very capable technology in the world of data management is the cloud. It allows hospitals to very easily outsource server space and protection to reputable, highly-regarded companies and data centers, cutting their in-house costs by partnering with a data center, while maintaining the sort of connectivity today’s top tech companies are working with.
Everything from patient data to hospital schedules can be managed and updated centrally and on everyone’s individual devices through a cloud-based network, without costing the hospital as much as managing a huge in-house data center with all the security issues and technological infrastructure that requires.
Outsourcing Medical Services
A major way all hospitals are rapidly modernizing is by outsourcing some of their more basic tasks to specialized and dedicated companies and facilities. Data management, for one, can be outsourced to a cloud-based partner, but even EMR transcription services can be outsourced to reputed companies like Eyered Transcription before being categorized and stored in a separate system.
Outside of the technology sector, pharmacy and medicine services are being outsourced to community pharmacies, both as a way to cut the costs of an in-house pharmacy, and to avoid the value-added-tax necessary on medicine sold within a hospital.
Even catering and laundry services can be outsourced to more efficient, dedicated companies with reputable local references for serving hospitals with great quality. Hospital food has been criticized in the past as being counter-intuitive to the whole point of health, as the food considered standard in hospitals isn’t healthy by any measure, whereas the risk of low-quality in-house laundry services can potentially lead to a skyrocketed rate of post-operation and healthcare-associated infections.
Clinical services like laboratory tests and diagnostic imagery can also be delegated to more modern facilities, with the kind of funding hospitals cannot access. That way, hospitals can still get access to modern diagnostic tools like the latest MRI machines without having to have the kind of budget to buy the machine from scratch.
The modernization of the healthcare industry is still in its infancy in many stages, but the IT market is making a point of targeting the healthcare industry to make it easier for hospitals and clinics to implement today’s most modern data and healthcare technologies.