Imagine you’re not feeling well. You schedule an appointment to see your doctor and after a check-up, he recommends you see a specialist. You arrive at the specialist’s office and she has all the information she needs to treat you – the nature of your injury, your vitals, your allergies, and your x-rays—all on her tablet, even though the two doctors don’t work in the same office. Wouldn’t this be amazing? This is the world we’re about to live in.
There are amazing things happening in Healthcare IT. Healthcare providers are using technology to become more efficient and provide better patient care. Mobile devices are prevalent, for both clinicians and patients. #GenMobile means connectivity from everywhere, even the exam room.
Source: Image from insight.com
At the HIMSS 2015 Conference in Chicago in – the must-attend destination if you work in Healthcare IT - there were a record-breaking 40,000+ attendees and 1,300 exhibitors. So many different solutions were on display, but most of them focused on three key topics: Interoperability, improving patient care, and patient experience.
In our example, the doctors relied on Electronic Health Records to ensure that important information was shared between them, accurately and quickly. Notes were entered right in the record, images were stored, and medical histories were recorded. The current challenge is to make sure that the system your primary doctor uses is compatible with the specialist’s, even if they use different software and devices. To provide the best patient outcomes, everything has to work together seamlessly. It doesn’t matter who makes the devices, which software is on it, or who operates it – patient information must be available when needed. Both the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the eHealth Initiative have outlined plans for EHR interoperability within 10 years.
Improving patient care
Patient information at the doctor’s fingertips means they can make the right decisions about your care. If a doctor prescribes a drug, systems automatically look at your past history to see if there are any interactions. Communication via text, voice, or video, allows for real-time consultation between clinicians, regardless of their location. Wireless devices monitor patient vitals, and appropriate alerts are sent instantly. At HIMSS, Yale New Haven Health presented their application, which gives clinicians secure access to information and secure communication between clinicians, all via smart phones. This application has improved communication between clinicians –a major component of improving patient care –by a factor of three!
Most of us can choose which hospital we go to, and our overall experience influences our opinion of the hospital. Insurer payments are actually impacted by HCAHPS scores (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems); hospitals have a financial incentive to provide good patient care and guest services. Connectivity allows patients to stay connected to the outside world and is a key component of patient satisfaction.
HIMSS 2015 showed that technology, especially secure wireless network access, will be the foundation to the continued improvement in the overall healthcare experience. Mobility and ubiquity of access will be key to improving the overall patient experience, just like Keerti showed on stage at Atmosphere 2015 with the Connected Patient Care Concept.
What do you think about technology improving the patient experience? Do your healthcare providers use mobile devices yet?
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