As much as the World Health Organization, governments of scores of nations the world over are now moving in a direction where they can provide sustainable healthcare to their citizens. The healthcare industry, thus, comes to the limelight. As healthcare providers and professionals work day in and day out in this direction, there are certain problems they face. This blog post is all about these problems and how healthcare technology can resolve them.
According to the 2019 Global Health Care Outlook analysis by Deloitte
“Global health care expenditures are expected to continue to rise as spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 5.4 percent between 2017-2022, from USD $7.724 trillion to USD $10.059 trillion.”
As medical technology is making advances that are commendable, we also see the rise of technology to manage healthcare at the backend. We see healthcare technology trends in the industry that are not only meant to make the lives of the patients easier, but also solve some massive problems at the providers’ end.
Let’s read on to see what the top 5 problems plague the healthcare industry and how technology can be the answer.
Problem #5: Inefficiencies and Errors in Data Sharing
In an age, where medical science has made marvelous advancements, inefficiencies and errors in healthcare are still persistent because of low-key technology that the healthcare industry adopts for management. The pen-and-paper approach is still followed largely around the world, even in a developed economy like the USA.
This is not just a hurdle in the way of medical science; it causes regression because of the waste it causes. Not only do patients pay the price in the form of inconvenience and health, but also do we see a rise in administrative expense and litigation because of these inefficiencies and errors.
One specific area of concern is the exchange on patient data in case of patient transfer from one department or one hospital to another. Patient record sharing, when done the traditional way, is not only time-consuming and inefficient but also exposes the patient information to the risk of breach. Incomplete or inefficient exchange of this data can prove to be extremely dangerous in case of patients in need of urgent or complicated treatment.
The Technological Solution
To be able to deliver a holistic healthcare experience, different parties involved in healthcare – doctors, healthcare scheme providers, insurance providers, doctors, and patients – should be able to exchange the information among themselves securely.
Using cloud-based data management systems can be one stable solution to solving the inefficiencies caused by the traditional pen-and-paper way of managing data.
The most up-and-coming solution to this healthcare management problem is the use of a blockchain-based database to store and share patient records. This healthcare technology trend can not only permit quick and complete transfer of data but also in security, thus maintaining the privacy and integrity of patient information.
Problem #4: Managing the Massive Volumes of Patient Related Data
“Vast amounts of data are generated from health care providers, public and private payers, ancillary service providers such as labs and pharmacies, and healthcare consumers alike. The challenge is not just in storage and access, but also in making this data usable.”
– John Glaser, Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine.
Patient-related data is one of the most overwhelming aspects of healthcare. With each new addition to the patient database, the existing big pool of data becomes bigger still. Consequently, it becomes even tougher to manage this data. As much as we may expect the existing traditional infrastructure to manage and secure this data, it is only an unrealistic expectation.
Not only the storage but also the retrieval of this patient data, when needed, is also a challenge that the hospitals need to address. Data overload and mismanagement often lead to situations like wrong diagnoses, compromise in data security, improper treatment, lapsed appointments, and failure to keep up with the changes in progress or regression of the patient’s condition, etc. The implications can be catastrophic for both, doctors as well as patients.
The Technological Solution
The healthcare technology solution to this challenge lies in cloud-based data systems and mobile portals. These solutions provide healthcare professionals with real-time access to patient-related data like registrations, medical history, diagnoses, treatments, appointments, and more. And since the storage and retrieval are cloud-based, the records are updated in real-time and secured properly.
Mobile portals or mobile healthcare applications that help you maintain patient database are also a handy option that provides access to this data both on the patient and the doctor side. Healthcare mobile app development and integration of these systems with apps based on iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms provide even more flexibility for doctors and other practitioners that are on-the-go throughout the workday.
Problem #3: Wastefulness and Unoptimized Supply Management
As patients, we probably never think of the logistics that lie behind healthcare services. But, they form the backbone of the industry. Efficient logistics practices ensure uninterrupted healthcare services. Managing these logistics, is, nevertheless, a tricky task.
While it may sound more like a supply chain mismanagement problem, it very well creates troubles like mismanaged medical inventory, equipment or drug shortage at the backend. On the frontend, that is, at the end of the doctors, it causes inefficiencies; on the patients’ end, frustration and of course danger to their health.
Traditional supply chain management is often wasteful and inefficient. The money wasted on lost and damaged inventory, on untimely delivery of equipment or medication, and on the damage caused to patients due to all that, amount to massive financial losses for healthcare services.
Supply shortages, misplaced inventory, and less than stellar preventative measures regarding shrinkage, all play into the reality that hospitals are epicenters for wasteful operations without a proper supply management system in place.
The Technological Solution
To stop incurring substantial amounts of losses and enacting unnecessary spending, it’s imperative to turn to digital healthcare technology providers for a powerful and effective solution.
Invest in an inventory management system, or a warehouse management system, if you may, to be at the higher end of supply chain management.
A strong data management system is one that is not only constantly updated and operates within an easy-to-use graphic user interface (GUI), but also operates across in-house terminals and mobile platforms. This way, administrative and medical professionals alike, have immediate access to accurate inventory numbers and current budget allocations.
Problem #2: Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement
As the procedures for filing and receiving Medicare and Medicaid undergo a change in most nations, it’s just one more thing on the to-do list of healthcare professionals. The regulations now oblige them to store and record patient records for the services rendered in a particular format.
Whenever treatment is availed under Medicare, the doctors need to fill out the prescribed electronic forms as proof that the patient has, in fact, received the healthcare service. The tightening of these rules and regulations have made it mandatory for healthcare professionals to comply with these procedures in order to get paid.
The Technological Solution
Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are one of those healthcare technology trends that the industry is coming to widely embrace in order to simplify health record-keeping as well as Medicare and Medicaid filing.
EHR systems facilitate appropriate electronic forms for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement from the government. It is easy for healthcare professionals to keep the patients’ health records and fill out the forms for reimbursement when the service has been provided.
These systems also help improve the transaction of information from the doctors to the government and vice versa. They also standardize the format of information as needed by the government to disburse claims, apart from speeding up the process of submitting patient files and requesting payments for the services rendered.
Problem #1: Remote Access to Telemedicine and Mobile Healthcare
Making telemedicine accessible remotely is a challenge that is substantial enough to deserve the first position on this list all to its own. In fact, telemedicine together with mobile healthcare, are endeavors that aim to raise the level of health in an age where wearables and smartphones are used to track and improve health. However, as promising as it sounds, it does present us with some mobile healthcare challenges we need solutions to.
Of course, any time that you incorporate two-way video services, email, wireless connectivity, and expansive geographical distance into the patient care process, it’s only natural for issues and problems to enter the picture. Device reliability, timely access to professionals in different time zones, and even dealing with the rigors of providing access to remote locations are all primary issues that hinder the effectiveness of telemedicine.
The Technological Solution
If you’re wondering how digital technologies can improve the functionality of telemedicine, you need to look up to the web and mobile healthcare applications that are getting better each day in providing a platform that connects the two parties seamlessly.
Developers continue to expand the consistency and performance abilities of these remote-oriented platforms, thereby creating a more accessible and reliable experience for medical professionals who provide patient care and advice from miles away, or from a different nation or continent for that matter.
As long as an emphasis on improved streaming functionality and real-time communications continues to dominate the discussion, the limitations of telemedicine are sure to fade into the past.
The Future of Healthcare Technology
There’s no denying that the healthcare industry has come a long way as technology continues to take on a role of prominence in this industry. From dealing with data overload across various institutions to connecting doctors and patients from opposite ends of the globe via mobile apps, healthcare technology continues to enhance the effectiveness of these endeavors.
However, we may presently be viewing just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these apps, cloud-based services, and other digital assets have to offer to healthcare professionals. As exciting as these past few years have been in terms of growth and development, the future looks to be even brighter and more innovative. The only question left now is to figure out where your business fits into this constantly evolving picture.