With even national health providers like the UK’s National Health Service moving more of their services online, the pandemic has seen a renewed push to digitize healthcare. You may have already begun moving some of your services and consultations into online platforms or only beginning to consider it. Wherever you are along the journey of digitizing your healthcare service, here are five things you should consider whenever you are moving to work online.
IT, when it works well, is a fantastic, time-saving resource. When it fails, it can be infuriating and even potentially dangerous if it results in missed appointments. IT reliability is why any health care provider should ensure they are working with up to date technology that can meet the demands of their workload. If you are planning to use IT as a long term solution, then consider Managed IT Services. This service simply ensures your IT is consistently supported by IT experts who take care of security updates and are on hand whenever you encounter difficulty.
As with any healthcare service, patient confidentiality needs to be prioritized when implementing a new system. Cybersecurity has to be risk assessed to ensure that you have protocols in place to prevent data breaches. Hackers, malware, and online viruses can create havoc if you have a system that is not secure. Specialists should advise you on cybersecurity wherever possible before you launch a new online service.
According to the US Bureau of Labor, small businesses in less than half an hour of management training for every year worked. This statistic is shocking and needs to be addressed if you expect employees and managers to implement new IT procedures or use your company’s technology to its maximum efficiency. If you want to move consultations or other services online, you should expect that IT knowledge among staff members will differ wildly. Some may pick up the new process easily, while others may take more time. Give time to those who need it to ensure they are confident in the system.
Your staff will need to adjust to changes, and so will your patients and clients. You will need to carefully consider what your patients may expect and what you can deliver. An IT consultation may offer patient benefits, such as reduced waiting times or flexibility in booking an appointment slot. These should be highlighted, but if the service has any drawbacks or results in a reduction of service, patients need to be aware of this. It would help if you considered what measures you could put into place to bolster any IT healthcare service. For instance, you may need to increase your allocation of follow up appointments as there may be some appointments that need to be carried out face to face to give a confident diagnosis.
Prepare for The Unexpected
Finally, any new system will have its share of teething problems. Do not expect to assess the efficacy of any new IT system immediately fully. It will need time to become established and for staff and patients to grow confident in its use. Only then will you comprehensively analyze how a new system has benefitted your care delivery procedures.