A mix of government regulations and a need to reign in healthcare costs have pushed healthcare providers to harness technology. Obviously, technology has been a big part of healthcare for decades, and this doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Everything from the patient experience and comfort levels to data privacy and security, procedures, and energy efficiency are all improving at an impressive rate as new science and advancements come into use. The below innovations represent some strategies that clinics and hospitals should be able to put into practice in the near future, and how their patients can benefit from these new innovations.
A patient complains about pain in a particular region of the body. Another questions you about the effect of a food item on your blood sugar or cholesterol. But the patient won’t have to come all the way into a hospital for you to diagnose the problem.
Through telehealth, patient concerns are delivered via an email, text or video-conference session. You deliver real-time live, email or text diagnoses, recommendations for follow-up examination (often in-person), prescriptions and answers. Patients may avoid travel and wait times, while you can more efficiently schedule their appointments and handle their treatments. If you practice out of an office, you’ll need less space, especially in waiting rooms, and can reduce overhead.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records are digital versions of patients’ medical records. They can mean significant cost savings, between $37 million to $59 million over five years for large hospitals. There’s no questioning the importance of keeping these records accurate and private, but sometimes the bookkeeping process can be inefficient, especially if clinics are still using paper to keep them.
At the heart of electronic health records lie portability and instant access to and delivery of patient and family medical histories, diagnoses, treatments and prescriptions. The fruits include faster receipt of lab results, quicker submission of prescriptions to pharmacies, accurate coding and requests for insurance approvals and reimbursements, and reduction of the risks of medical mistakes.
For your practice or hospital, the features of electronic health records translate to an increased and prompt receipt of revenues, especially payments from insurance companies. You and your staff save time having to resubmit or challenge insurance denials. Fuller knowledge of your patient’s medical status can lower the prospects of malpractice liability and unnecessary duplication of patient tests.
Lighting and Energy
Your facility can reduce energy costs through advanced lighting control systems and increased reliance on natural light. As to the latter approach, your hospital might have wall-to-wall windows that allow substantial natural day-time light into a patient room or waiting room. With more natural light, there arises a smaller need for ceiling and lamp bulbs and use of electricity. Your patients and their loved ones may find a more optimistic or inviting outlook during their stay.
Advanced lighting control systems adjust brightness and energy output based upon the time of day and occupancy, especially outside the premises. Photosensors and time switches can lower the output to luminaries at a particular time of the evening, but increase it when occupants are detected. A combination of these control systems could slice energy costs by as much as 75 cents on the dollar.
Technology brings better imaging of patients and more parameters by which physicians can assess them. A student pursuing a degree in radiology will learn about nuclear, sonic, radar, optical and other imaging techniques. These methods and the empowering technology can allow radiologists and radiological technologists in your practices and hospitals capture molecules, cells and even diseases or conditions at early stages.
X-rays may require smaller doses of radiation and energy usage due to methods involving phase contrast X-ray imaging. In this approach, the equipment detects the effects of an X-ray’s passage through tissue on its wave length. Phase contrast X-rays hold the promise of telling tissue and fat from the matter, including iron levels in blood, that may foretell the development of cancer.