Going wireless and adapting to technology feels like something that, for many, happened ages ago. The same is true for many fast-paced companies. The benefits of rapidly adopting useful tech was quickly realized and take advantage of. Regardless of how fast most were able to incorporate technology, there are still a number of industries that are playing catch-up.
Perhaps the largest, and most impactful of these industries is healthcare, which has been struggling to incorporate major technical advances for years.
It has been a slow process, but we are finally seeing some of the ways in which the healthcare profession is benefiting from technology. Many of these advances are small things that many of us tend to take for granted; but they are making major waves in the quality of our treatment when we visit healthcare facilities.
Many of us, especially younger generations, have had a hand-held device for at least the past decade. But for a number of hospitals, the utilization of hand-held devices at work is a newer idea. However, they are having a pretty profound impact on care and organization. For instance, doctors and nurses can easily move between patient profiles on one device and reading illegible handwriting is much less of a problem.
Hand-held devices are making such an impact that a number of nursing colleges are incorporating them into their curriculum. A study from Ohio University Nursing program found that the use of PDAs in nursing student classrooms greatly reduced the number of errors made. Furthermore, most of the surveyed students were very satisfied using the technology and even preferred it over traditional methods.
Electronic Data Management
The use of hand-held devices has been just one small part of the much larger movement to advance towards electronic data management in a healthcare setting. Electronic health records (EHR) are being incorporated to streamline the healthcare process. They are supposed to combine patient paperwork with billing information and prescription data, which can help limit errors and speed up a number of processes.
EHR is being implemented across the country as part of the Affordable Care Act with varying degrees of success. Many clinics have experienced a great deal of success with implementation, but just as many have felt quite a lot of difficulty. There are still numerous kinks to be worked out in implementing EHR, but the transition is underway.
Beyond EHR there are some aspects of healthcare information that are even being stored in the cloud. Cloud storage provides a great deal of flexibility with documents and much more storage space, which can further help hospitals streamline health services from the time patients schedule an appointment until the time they’ve paid their bill. However, there are reasonable fears about personal healthcare information security within cloud networks.
Much like EHR, this is an area of healthcare technology that is still under development and transition. Cloud data storage is likely the future of healthcare, much like it is has become major storage center in multiple other industries. However, it is likely to be a few years before we see widespread use and support.
Technology is still playing a significant role in shaping healthcare today. The size and complexity of the healthcare system makes implementation of many efficiency-improving technologies sluggish at best. However, as these technologies are being incorporated, we are seeing a steady improvement and have much to look forward to in the future of healthcare and tech.