Healthcare systems are necessitated by the need of healthcare information. The systems would not be complete with the input and analysis of data, information that they are designed to support. Information technology enables an organization in management of functions like planning, developing, designing, implementation of systems and providing services. These are essential in capturing, storing, processing, and communicating data, information and knowledge. The same goes for the healthcare industry. Healthcare IT industry has evolved over the years with many changes. In hospital care practice today, there is a greater shift away from paper documentation and towards computer database maintenance.
Information technology is becoming so important to the healthcare industry in recent decades, that any up gradation affects a hospital’s operation immensely. Healthcare organizations are finding it challenging to keep up-to-date. They have to deal with rising costs due to an aging population, increased chronic illness, industry and government regulations, and rising consumer demands for improved services and patient care.
To improve cost efficiency and accountability in healthcare systems, international governments are putting pressure on hospitals and healthcare service providers to increase their use of healthcare technology using globally recognized standards. These regulations and initiatives are inspiring many hospitals to upgrade their IT systems by adopting IT convergence. It involves combining multiple IT systems and applications into a centralized window. For example: the low-voltage cabling system supporting the facility’s wired and wireless voice, data and video communications.
Explosion of technology and the information revolution has greatly impacted our healthcare system for the better. Not just at the level of treating diseases, but the fact that a greater number of people are now inside the healthcare network is a testament to the improved and increasing presence of technology.
In the not so distant past, people still had to physically be available for consulting a doctor but information technology and communication has now made remote patient consulting and tele-medicine common place. The barriers of time & distance are increasingly shrinking in our times and this means that more & more patients can have access to quality healthcare.
Communication technologies are also greatly improving patient experiences; besides improving hospital response times. Response time is critical for emergencies, someone in distress is least likely to be willing (or be happy) if he or she is made to wait endlessly. The role of technology is not just limited to reducing response times but also towards improving overall patient-care experience.
Some of the ways wherein patient-experiences can be improved with better communications & technology are outlined below:
Provide call handlers with complete patient information to help them better response or offer advise
Send or receive multimedia files such that it is easy for the patient to send investigative reports etc.
Call forwarding or remote calling facilities to enable the same consultant to be available for a patient irrespective of his or her location.
The advancements in communications have expanded the horizons of consumer expectations are it is imperative that healthcare providers are able to embrace these technologies to better serve their patients.
Real-time connect with the patients helps provide preventive services, consultation on prevalent health hazards and nutritional information. As healthcare providers work increasingly on the preventive model of healthcare dispensation it is imperative for them to seek real-time patient information. Patients, on the other hand, need to know that the healthcare provider will be available whenever required and that all emergency situations are well-catered to.