Current State of Healthcare IT
Health Information Technology (HIT) is huge in the healthcare industry. Times are changing and so are the ways we record patient data. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to be at the doctor’s office spending at least 10 minutes going through questions you most likely have gone over and over before. Scenarios where one doctor is not enough, and you find yourself in a new place, the repetition of answering the same questions becomes tiresome. Having been in and out of doctor visits as well as having worked in health care, it is safe to say that we are lacking in certain aspects when it comes to technology and its advances. Us at Renew Bariatrics, want to share a personal viewpoint on somethings our writer, Eula Fullerton, has experienced as a healthcare employee and current patient at the bone and joint unit, for her hip.
Personal health records (PHR) have shifted from paper to electronic health records (EHR). Electronic health records are great ways to collect medical records and consolidate them into a database for quick easy access. Going from paper to electronic has benefited health care in regards to time, finances, environment, and patient health. Electronic records allows for efficient access when paper copy is limited by location and hours of operation. It’s been a tremendous commodity when needing to access or transfer time sensitive records.
Issues I Have Personally Noticed as a Frequent Patient and Healthcare Employee
Lack of effectiveness, or ability, in transferring records between providers is on of the main issues I have personally noticed as a frequent patient and healthcare employee. Even if both doctors use electronic health record systems, their systems may not be compatible for sharing information. This is a big issue because sharing health information between providers is extremely important and sometimes dire to a patient’s health. An unreadable format is not the only issue either, you also have to account for the government’s guidelines for privacy and safety too.
Another big issue I have witnessed in the field is the user-unfriendliness of software. The other day I had an interaction with a flustered nurse practitioner who was lost between the drop down menus andl missing choices in the program. Software issues are relevant not only to employees but to the patient as well. Implementing new HIT and maintenance can cause lengthy delays during patient appointments. This is why user-friendliness and easy maintenance requirements are the number one thing that can make a day go from dreadful to smooth.
There are numerous vendors of software out in the market. With that comes the search for finding the right software, while also keeping in mind having time for all of the employees to learn and get accustomed to the technology. Therefore, it’s crucial for a workplace to have an effective software to use. Implementing new software takes time, however, taking the time to learn the software in your work setting is important for efficiency.
What to Look for When Finding Software
Software is not hard to comeby, knowing what is important to your employees, the government, as well as your patients is important when making your decisions.
Here are 10 features that you should consider when deciding on the right software:
Streamlining is used to improve efficiency by eliminating unnecessary steps through different approaches. This is when simplicity is key. Sometimes, having unnecessary steps in the system is detrimental to the workplace, as it can take up too much time. This is valuable in the interface and integration of systems where the architecture of the system is important .
Great automation allows for less time spent on administrative work and more time focusing on patient care. Looking at the automatic features that a software accounts for can make a huge difference in the workplace.
This is often one of the most time consuming tasks. Having a billing system can make transactions easier and less chaotic, especially when it comes to dealing with health care plans.
4. Patient Communication
There are numerous features that can help with patient communication. Patient portals help people view their information outside of the office. Some useful features of patient portals are medication tracking, e-prescriptions, patient messaging, and appointment reminders. It is also beneficial to have access to doctor notes and after care plans once an appointment is over too.
Constant, time consuming updates that last for hours, can be costly and cause huge delays in the workplace. Look into the effects of what future updates may bring in to your workplace. This is often underestimated, until you spend a whole day with the systems down.
6. Security and Privacy
Good and secure software is essential for reducing time consumed in protection, enforcement, and legal matters of the system. Many EHR systems have been hacked in the recent years, so finding secure systems is vital to protecting your patients. Making sure your software meets government standards and regulations concerning confidentiality are also of the utmost importance.
7. Functionality and Flexibility
Flexibility is the ability for the software to add, modify, or remove functionality without damaging the current system. Software evolution needs to be accounted for when searching for the right software. Being functional and flexible in order to keep up with changing times is important.
8. The Cloud and Scalability
Scalability benefits business growth without expensive changes and works hand in hand with flexibility. Scalability is important in that it your software can grow with your company growth. The cloud can be a huge asset to companies with multiple locations, since they can still be connected to the database.
9. Complete Deployment and Onsite Training
This is important when implementing new software. Complete software deployment ensures that the software is prepared to run and operate, since tasks like installing, uninstalling, and updating are time consuming. Onsite training can shorten the time spent teaching employees, and lead to a more productive day for your customers (health practice).
10. Company Stability
Choose a software where the company is stable and isn’t going to go out of business on you. Using one company’s software is important for the long term. A company should be able to maintain their software through beneficial updates that makes sure the software stays robust and continues to improve through time.
Researching is valuable when making the transition to and/or between Health Information Technology. Looking out for these 10 features will save you money, time, and deepen your appreciation for Health Information Technology.