Technology is getting advanced by the day. Even in the past five or ten years alone, there are so many new automated processes today that were previously unheard of. When you come to think of it, it may be impossible to imagine a life going backward since we are to live without the ease and speed brought about by technology and automation today.
Society is greatly shaped by advancements in technology and automation. It’s safe to say that almost every aspect of any sector has changed the way they do things, all thanks to automation. Fortunately, these changes are for the better. Particularly in the healthcare industry, the advancements have brought many benefits that patients in the past weren’t able to enjoy.
That said, here are some of the ways that the healthcare industry has enjoyed the advantages of automation:
1. Health Records Are Digitalized
In the past, patient health records were all just kept in physical forms (through a folder). With automation, health records are now digitalized. This means that in lieu of a physical folder, these are kept in a unified hospital database and that of the specific physician as well.
Having digital records is more efficient because it’s easier to pull out any information that you may be looking for. If there’s any information that needs updating, this is also smoothly done and achieved across all records. This means that there’s a lesser margin for human error. And it also prevents medical records from getting lost due to misplacement.
If you’re looking to get started on an electronic patient record system, there are certain things you must also remember. That way, you can avoid error or, worse, data or identity theft.
Here are some of the best tips to apply:
- Make use of templates for documenting as these can simplify the data entry process and also make it easier for you to organize patient data.
- Make an effort to improve your computer skills so these technological advancements can speed you up rather than confuse you and affect your data entry abilities. Additionally, make sure that everyone in your clinic is on the same page as you are. This means that your team should improve their digital skills, too. In doing so, the entire clinic functions efficiently as a whole.
2. Increased Focus On Patients
An automated process means that doctors and their secretaries and even nurses will spend less time manually writing down things. This buys them more time to focus on their patients.
While collecting patient data is important, this shouldn’t be so time-consuming to the point that it eats up time that would’ve otherwise been spent listening and observing patients. Because physicians and nurses can now focus on their job, better quality is also provided.
On the side of the patients, it also helps them feel better and more relaxed when there’s that improved one-on-one interaction between them and their healthcare provider. The clipboard no longer gets in the way of proper conversations, whether on the phone with an Auto Dialer, other software, or face-to-face.
Along with employing the automated processes during your consultations, here are other helpful tips for you to better focus on your patients:
- Learn to delegate any administrative task that you don’t really have to do yourself. This way, you’ll have more time within your working hours not just to tend to your patients’ concerns but also to learn more on updates in healthcare, medicine, and whatnot.
- Establish rapport with your patients by not rushing the interview and consultation process. Now that there’s someone else on your team making all the records through your automated processes, you can focus on getting to know more about your patients. Especially if this is still the first time that you’re seeing each other, make your patient feel comfortable by talking to them as if they’re talking to a trusted friend. Don’t center the conversation too much on their health concern.
- Improve patient flow by practicing an efficient schedule. You can also make use of a ringless voicemail, like Drop Cowboy so you can get got most out of your day plotted out. In doing so, you wouldn’t have to rush the consultation process. Plus, just in case an emergency patient arises, it’s also easier for you to free up time to give way to these concerns.
3. Prevents Progression Of Patients’ Health Threat
Many years back, it was harder to have an early diagnosis of some health issues. In effect, the health threat may have already progressed to a great extent before this is even addressed by a doctor.
With advancements in technology, the progression of patients’ health threats is reduced. Early diagnosis is now more possible through more advanced screening methods. Plus, patient records and information are more systematic from one doctor to another. This enables a team of doctors to be unified in their treatment plan for every patient.
Advanced and early health screens give patients a better shot at recovery. It brings about benefits to people’s lives through the following ways:
- Patients can be more proactive at creating lifestyle changes way before the disease progresses to a terminal or hopeless phase. This gives patients an opportunity to create positive steps towards the overall and more holistic quality of life.
- Patients will now have access to more up-to-date developments on their health concerns, which also gives them a more proactive approach towards their recovery. This may empower the patients because they now have a choice; they no longer have to feel so hopeless as if they’re stuck in a situation that sees no hope for improvement.
Some of the most common screening tests that can possibly reduce the progression of a patient’s health condition include:
- Colorectal cancer test, which is usually recommended for those beyond 50 years old and have polyps and inflammatory bowel disorder;
- Cholesterol tests, usually done on patients that are overweight or is a binge drinker and frequent smoker;
- Prostate cancer tests, which is recommended for males who are above 50 years old and have high testosterone levels;
- Blood pressure test, is one of the most important routine examinations conducted by physicians to help determine heart health;
- STD tests, which are needed for those who are sexually active and have more than one sexual partner.
4. Improves Public Health
Information is key for the general public to have a better understanding of how to live healthier lives. Whether there’s a disease outbreak or not, the public continuously needs to be informed on various health updates for them to stay in the loop with medical concerns.
For instance, with the pandemic that people are currently facing, automation is helping establishments and businesses trace those that come in and out of their stores in a day. That way, should one of these people test positive for the virus, it’s easier to trace every single person that was in close contact. This can help stop or slow down the spread of the virus in local areas.
Imagine how tedious it would be if every establishment had to manually write down the names of every single person that walks in their door.
Public health is very important to protect for the following reasons:
- Improves the mental health of people in the community. Remember that good health isn’t just about the physical health per se; mental health is just as important. Unfortunately, patients that suffer from mental health problems experience poor quality of life, may have destructive relationships, or may even cease to be a productive employee. This can bring down local industries and break families.
- Enables better attention and care to poorly represented sectors or perhaps those who don’t easily have access to regular health checks. Without information dissemination to the public, residents may not even know that they’re already experiencing symptoms of a disease. Or, who knows, there could be a disease outbreak that, unfortunately, this locality wasn’t able to keep themselves protected from.
5. Shortens Patient Hospital Stay
Another important benefit of automation in the healthcare industry is that patients no longer have to stay in the hospital as long as they might have done so in previous years. In fact, with automated doctors’ consultations, for instance, those patients who don’t necessarily need to see a doctor physically can stay at home. This can help decongest hospitals that may already be too crowded.
That’s only the beginning. There are many other factors surrounding automation that led to a shorter patient hospital stay. To wit:
- Shorten stays at the emergency room as patients can immediately have their diagnostic tests done. And, the results are automatically emailed or sent digitally to the attending doctors.
- Discharge orders are faster since time-consuming and manual writing of both discharge and doctors’ orders are reduced.
- Discharge orders are now possible even on weekends since there are still some hospitals with offices closed on weekends. This is unfortunate as, for instance, if a patient could’ve been given the discharge order on a Friday, they’ll have to stay an extra two days in the hospital simply because they have to wait for a Monday. This can be both financially draining and exhausting for the patient. Plus, those two days spent waiting could’ve been given to other patients in the emergency room who would’ve needed that room more.
- Documentations made by nurses and physicians are more consistent, reducing delays due to inconsistencies.
Decreasing patients’ hospital length of stay leads to tremendous benefits not just for the patient themselves, but also to the hospital. Hence, the need for other intervention practices alongside automation that can bring patients back home faster.
6. Lowers Likelihood Of Overworked Medical Employees
Automated tasks mean that there might be some functions in the hospitals that can be completed faster because not everything has to be done manually all the time. This provides medical employees, such as nurses, aides, physicians, and caregivers more time to rest. Overworked medical employees are very common because they just have too much in their hands to do. Unfortunately, this could be very dangerous not just to their health, but also to their productivity.
When the current pandemic struck, medical employees have been working too many overtime shifts. It’s not an understatement to say that they’re truly exhausted way beyond what their bodies can even handle.
With automation, these healthcare workers can have more time to rest. This works to be beneficial as well to their patients because they can stay more focused and provide better patient care to them as well.
That said, here are some of the dangers that could be avoided when healthcare workers are no longer overworked:
- Risk of patient death due to unfocused and overtired attending medical employees;
- Improved mental health of medical staff since they can now have better work-life balance;
- Reduced chances of decreasing motivation at work.
7. Faster Data Retrieval
In the past, it may take a day or two before test results can be retrieved. The more complicated the process, the longer it’ll also take. Today, this time is significantly reduced.
With the help of automation, data can easily be extracted. This means a faster waiting time for patients of their results after they’re asked to undergo tests.
Moreover, patients will no longer have to travel far just to get the results of their diagnostic tests. It’s time-consuming and also expensive if patients need to travel back and forth just to have tests done, and then to pick up the results later on. Especially for those who are immobile or who live far. This can be an inconvenience.
When data retrieval is faster, this also means that pressing health concerns can be given attention to immediately. Therefore, treatment can be started as soon as possible.
As you can see, when it comes to healthcare, automation can mean virtually anything–from sending a daily batch of messages or reminders to patients for their schedules and appointments to more advanced processes like teleconferences and automated warning systems for contraindications. It’s safe to say that the healthcare industry is able to increase the prognosis of patients and even improve their overall quality of life because of the advancements that automation brings.
If you work in the healthcare industry and you haven’t taken advantage of technological advancements yet, then it’s about time that you join in the bandwagon as well.