Technology can offer ways to make daily challenges more manageable so those in the healthcare industry can spend more time focusing on what you do best.
Remember when the healthcare business was all about healthcare? Those were the days. Now it seems like much of any healthcare leader’s time is monopolized by onerous paperwork and meetings.
Add to that the challenge of facing patients who come in excited about the latest thing they’ve read on the internet, and it is no wonder the lives of those in the healthcare industry have become more stressful.
Fight Internet with Internet
The internet has provided healthcare workers with many benefits. Faster access to patient records, online supplies ordering, and faster communications have made life easier for many people in the industry. At the same time, this has created new security risks and changing patient expectations.
1. Competing with “Doctor Google”
There is no shortage of experts on any possible medical issue, just ask the internet! This deluge of information is often both helpful and stressful for patients as well as medical professionals.
For each patient who might be reassured by material from the internet or heed its advice to visit their doctor, that same doctor might meet with three more patients bursting with questionable information. Rather than making life easier for doctors, this can fill their waiting rooms with patients convinced they have rare diseases or urgent needs.
There are a few ways technology can help deal with the problems created by online information. Doctors and other medical professionals keep up with illnesses and treatments, but to address the misguided advice available on the internet, they may need to see what their patients are seeing.
For example, providing internet access could enable an odd request from a patient to be quickly addressed and resolved. Often simply telling a patient the information they have is wrong or not applicable isn’t enough. Being able to bring up the website or article the patient read can allow a member of your healthcare team to quickly address each of the issues raised while making patients feel heard and reassured.
2. Better Portals, Better Impressions
Shallow as it may seem, your company’s online presence has a huge impact on how your company is viewed—even in healthcare. It is no longer enough to have a simple, clean website.Now patients expect a fast, well-designed online interface where they can make appointments, access test results, and/or learn more about your healthcare team and facilities.
This means you need a great website that will smoothly interface with your company’s systems from appointment calendars to patient data. Then all that information has to be kept accessible to only the right people. Maintaining those records will be key to protecting your patients but also to protect your company.
Seek out backup management and security management providers with experience in keeping information safe. Additional I.T. solutions like server support and cloud computing can make sure your system remains online, accessible, and operating quickly, even from remote locations.
3. Right Information with Information
It is wonderful that so many patients want to keep up with their health and become more educated. Sadly, their efforts can be led astray by random web searches. You can help provide a better experience for your patients (and speed their appointments with your team) by making more information available online.
That could include specifics like their medical test results or upcoming appointment schedule, but don’t skimp on general information. Details such as what to bring to their appointment and the insurance paperwork process can clear up questions they’d otherwise call your office to ask. Posting forms can allow new patients to complete them ahead of time. This can reduce waiting room crowds and chaos while giving patients time to gather the detailed information requested on the forms.
Offices that have a particular medical specialty might want to post comprehensive details on the associated medical issues. To address a broader range of medical issue, links can be provided to reputable websites, so your patients are less likely to be misled by questionable sources of online information.
Make Molehills Out of Mountains
It often feels like the paperwork is winning. Regulatory reporting, insurance paperwork, inventory tracking, and more can mean that each day is a battle against growing stacks of paperwork.
Finding new ways to manage paperwork can make life easier for you and your staff. This can provide your medical teams with more time to see patients and less time trying to remember why they went into medicine in the first place. Paperwork is not only a time-waster for you and your staff, but it can also lead to increased staffing costs and more employee stress.
For help with digitization and moving toward a paperless world, a managed services provider (MSP) with experience in healthcare can provide I.T. solutions specifically designed to reduce the time you and your staff need to spend on paperwork.
4. Mobile Tech
Tracking billing information and medicine and supplies usage takes a considerable amount of time. Allowing employees to have mobile tools like smartphones and tablets can greatly speed this process.
Imagine them being able to quickly scan each item as it gets used so that the information can immediately update patient records and billing information as well as your inventory management system. A scanning app can enable them to scan the patient’s barcode information so that the information automatically goes into the correct record along with the time and date the supplies were used. That, in turn, means that the rest of your staff will be able to track the patient’s current status along with the time the medication was administered.
Setting up the system to automatically remind your staff when the next dose or other treatment is due, can further reduce their time spent manually tracking information while ensuring that medications are administered promptly.Mobile technology can allow your staff to update records immediately from hospital or examination rooms, without needing to return to a centralized nursing station or office to access a computer. Instead, your staff can quickly provide patient services, update the relevant records, and make any needed notations. Then they can move on to the next patient without delay.
5. Speed Information Access
Reading through paper patient records can be time-consuming, and there is always the chance of missing an important note in the file. Making these records easy for your doctors and nurses to access on their handheld devices can make patient rounds go more quickly while keeping the most important elements of each patient’s information front and center.Scanning a code for the patient’s record can quickly allow access when your medical team is onsite. Being able to view the most recent information for patients remotely can help doctors keep better track of patient status.
Offsite, being able to view the most recent patient information can allow doctors to more quickly respond to questions from other doctors, nurses, or patients.
6. Data Where You Need It
Traditionally, one of the barriers to giving doctors and the rest of your team offsite access to patient information has been server and network limitations.
That is where switching to cloud computing systems can make a huge difference. Not only will your company free up space that had been occupied by on-site server equipment, but through cloud storage systems, your team can gain the ability to quickly view critical patient information whenever and wherever they need it.
Doctors called in for emergencies or consultations can view patient medical information remotely. Then they can provide assistance over the phone or make sure the staff and equipment they need are ready and onsite when they arrive. Faster care can improve patient outcomes while streamlining work for your most senior staff to make them more productive.Remote access to patient information has become increasingly important in today’s competitive environment. Many healthcare providers are finding tremendous benefits in facilitating offsite medical care. That might include allowing doctors to view patient vital signs and other key information remotely to monitor their progress, or it could be a more robust program.
Combining video feeds with patient data can allow your staff to provide online patient consultations, monitor patient status while they’re in the hospital, and/or consult with other medical specialists. That could include remote monitoring of hospital room videos and patient vital signs to provide round-the-clock patient monitoring.
Look for an I.T. provider with plentiful experience and network expertise to facilitate these types of services, which could provide your company with long-term staffing cost savings.
7. Integrative Technology
Patient monitoring systems, insurance tracking, and other information systems are often not compatible with each other. This creates additional work for your staff and increases the risk that bits of important information could be left off paperwork.
Outsourced I.T. management and support can work with your company to integrate software systems and provide automated updates across software platforms. That can significantly reduce data entry staffing requirements while improving records accuracy.
Regulations have created even more extensive reporting requirements. That makes automating the compilation of this information more important than ever. Your MSP’s policy & compliance management team can make sure essential data is recorded and prepared to meet regulatory requirements.
This process starts with having the hardware and software/apps that will help make work faster and easier for your employees. Next, make sure the best policies are in place and employees are given clear guidance for complying with the necessary requirements. Then make sure the information in one system is being uploaded into other systems and forms whenever possible. Finally, security experts can create the network and user security systems to keep that information safe from hackers.
8. Portable, but Not Too Portable
One of the biggest reasons companies are hesitant to use handheld technology is concerns about tracking it.
Obviously, it is important to ensure that smartphones and tablets stay with your company where they belong. However, that doesn’t mean additional work for your team.
With a mobile device management solution, you can track devices to ensure that each of your team members has the technology they need. New employees can have their personal devices loaded with the correct software and apps, and then each device can be tracked to make sure the devices don’t go astray. A lost or stolen device can have all sensitive information wiped while not affecting the employee’s personal data. So even if the employee departs, sensitive data remains with you.
While employees are using their mobile devices, an outsourced help desk can give your staff access to U.S.-based technical support whenever and wherever they need it. That includes getting new employees up to speed and assisting current employees when they need help.
These services can allow you and your teams to have the tools they need without requiring you to hire additional employees for tracking, service, and support. That way, you can make sure your team members have the technology and expert assistance they need so they can spend their time more efficiently.
Take Security to the Next Step
Cybersecurity has never been a greater issue than it is now. Healthcare leaders face particularly massive challenges for several reasons.
Their access to a broad assortment of personal patient information makes healthcare providers prime targets for hackers interested in I.D. theft. Insurance fraud and Medicare scams are another reason for criminals to try to access patient information.
With everything from Social Security numbers to addresses to credit card numbers, patient information can be difficult to protect while still ensuring that your employees have the patient data needed to do their jobs.
9. Build the Right Protection Plan
Protecting confidential patient information while reducing liability risks is where an experienced policy and compliance management team takes center stage. They can even look at permissions to ensure that employees only have access to the information they need for their specific roles within the company.
Protecting your company from hackers and other bad agents requires a multiprong approach. Overall server security is obviously a priority but, with so many employees having access to patient data, many extra steps are required.
There are several challenges with increasing system security. One is the equipment and expertise to keep up with the latest security problems. An I.T. provider with extensive security management and support credentials can make sure you have the right equipment and the right plan to continuously protect your entire system from hackers and other types of data loss.
10. More Security, Less Time
Creating onerous login requirements with long passwords that are changed frequently won’t keep your system safe if these requirements are impractical for your employees. This is why it is important to have a security plan that takes into consideration where and how your employees work. Otherwise, a poorly designed system can end up creating more vulnerabilities instead of making your systems secure.This is why having an I.T. partner with experience serving the healthcare industry is vital. Instead of cookie-cutter solutions, they will look at the physical settings and types of work within your company to make sure the security solutions fit.
Thumbprint logins can enable workers to quickly access computer systems without needing to memorize and input complicated passwords. Scanning barcodes off employee I.D. cards could be another option. Depending on the setting, it might also make more sense to issue portable devices to many of your workers rather than run the risks of computers sitting in workstations that are frequently left unmanned.
Remember, solutions to technology-related healthcare issues can be easier than you think, as long as you hire the right company. JMARK’s range of expertise makes it easy to build a comprehensive plan that works across your whole company, and that can grow and change as your company does. Contact JMARK today to discuss how our healthcare-based system solutions can keep your company healthy, too.
844-44-JMARK or [email protected]