Technology has become a central part of people’s personal and professional lives. Healthcare industry workers rely on technology across almost every role and specialty. While technology is incredibly useful in healthcare, it also has downsides that sometimes become a burden to healthcare employees. The following discusses technology in the healthcare industry and solutions to some tech-related headaches.
How technology has changed healthcare
Whether entering patient data or performing robotic surgery, healthcare professionals must have excellent technical skills. At a standard office visit, you can see technology in use. Front office staff use computers to check in patients. Physicians and their assistants use computers to input health information, and sometimes, other tech gadgets are used in evaluating and treating conditions.
Experts believe that the healthcare industry has only begun to use emerging technologies. It is predicted that artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D printing, wearable devices and prescriptive analytics will be improved and used more frequently in the near future.
Technology now allows nurses and doctors to connect with patients who are home-bound and living in remote areas so that they can access healthcare professionals via telehealth services. Telemedicine is a service where medical staff monitor, diagnose and expedite treatment over the phone, typically for chronic health conditions. These programs save money by reducing on-site staff and acting as a virtual doctor’s office and emergency department.
Innovators are reinforcing the shift to digital healthcare by creating apps, cutting-edge medical devices and predictive diagnostic systems. With wearable sensors and automated diagnoses on the rise, measuring blood pressure and other symptoms related to chronic health condition management is made easier. Predictive analytics, which uses statistics to sort data for outcomes of patients, might be key in the future of more effective patient treatment.
With the rise of new digital innovations and services, it is possible to use drugs less frequently for treatments. An app or wearable device reminding diabetic patients to walk daily is more affordable for insurers than long-term medication use and doctor’s office visits. Other apps save patients’ lives and nursing staff’s time by identifying health issues early, such as a fatal loss of kidney function.
Identifying technological burdens and solutions
Technology has come a long way in improving patient care and daily tasks of medical staff. However, there are times when medical professionals experience problems and unnecessary burdens caused by the technology that is intended to help.
Some large healthcare systems employ IT staff members, while others contract out this type of work. When IT issues arise at healthcare facilities, the existing staff are not typically highly skilled in troubleshooting. Even tech-savvy employees have to take the time to research and tend to a variety of tech problems that arise. Not only is this above their education and job duties, but it also interferes with focusing on patient care and customer service.
Hiring a skilled IT contractor can alleviate tech issues that are above the qualifications of most staff. Databases, email servers and complex computer and phone systems have to be kept running and secure. Data analysts require database querying language skills and analysis tool proficiency. In addition to these skills, IT contractors remove typical but unnecessary burdens so that staff can focus on their primary duties. Contractors registered with a company such as an umbrella PAYE can even receive help sorting their finances.
With the rise in technology-based healthcare, workers in almost every role will need to learn new tech skills. New and developing technology-based solutions in healthcare increase the need for day-to-day IT troubleshooting when issues arise.
Healthcare workers will have to be quick to learn new tech skills and willing to continue their education to learn to use new technology. Medical schools and residency programs offer training so that students are prepared to work with technology. Online medical courses, virtual reality training programs, tech-related continuing education courses and tech-oriented healthcare degrees are increasing. This growing need to keep up with a variety of new technologies is essential in the competitive healthcare industry, so allowing staff to focus on education and the operation of new tech rather than IT troubleshooting is a more efficient use of their time.
Technology is used across the healthcare industry to provide the best competitive patient care. New devices, treatments and services are often tech-based. Healthcare workers will be increasingly expected to have knowledge and experience in technological advances. Due to the overwhelming nature of keeping up with new medical technology, healthcare workers’ burden will increase. However, in the coming years, people will continue to see the benefits of new technology in the healthcare industry.