By Dan Waldinger
Medical professionals do heroic work every day and the demand for their skills is only increasing, but at the same time, it’s been widely reported that the United States is facing an increasing shortage of physicians. So how do the remaining providers make up this shortfall?
The answer is twofold: first is clinical mobility, the use of devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and second, usage of mobile printers by doctors and nurses at the point of care to optimize workflow and revolutionize the health sector.
Another important innovation is telemedicine, or remote delivery of health services through video conferencing. With this efficient technology, patients can get almost immediate medical attention without going to a doctor’s office or hospital.
Each field is lucrative and growing fast: the healthcare mobility solutions market will be valued at $227 billion globally by 2025 and the world telemedicine market will be worth $113 billion in the same period. These tools are both clinically and economically responsible, so here’s what the industry needs to know.
Improving Workflow Optimization
All medical personnel must comply with rigorous Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations—and thanks to new advances in mobility, it’s easier than ever to protect privacy while simplifying workflow.
One simple solution is to convert confidential documents like admitting forms and care instructions into electronic health records (EHRs) in accordance with HIPAA privacy laws. This modern process helps reduce costs and increases efficiency by capturing, archiving, and sharing all of a patient’s information and making it easily available in real time.
Health professionals can then use pragmatic printing solutions on desktop or mobile to securely transmit files and prevent unauthorized users from accessing digital data or paper forms. Brother International Corporation, for example, offers HIPAA-compliant, password-protected printing combined with secure cloud storage and document encryption.
This process also helps decrease preventable medical errors, which are the third leading cause of death in the United States according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Providers now scan barcodes on hospital bracelets when they complete steps in the care process, ensuring they distribute the right medications in the right doses at the right time.
As such, these mobility tools will be an especially crucial resource for nurses, who can sometimes walk miles over the course of a shift. But now, instead of going back and forth to the nurse’s station, these hard workers can prioritize the most important cases and spend more time at patient bedsides, where they’re truly needed.
The Doctor Is On…Your Screen
New technologies are also making medical appointments themselves more mobile. The biggest innovation is HIPAA-compliant teleconferencing, which is perfectly suited for non-emergency consultations and follow-up appointments that don’t technically require office visits.
Telemedicine is an efficient way for providers to see the highest possible number of patients at a lower cost with shorter wait times. Doctors can block out an entire morning or afternoon and schedule more appointments than they would during normal rounds, maintaining a quality practice that still offers individualized attention to each case.
All telehealth visits are recorded, allowing clinicians to document progress and share information with relevant specialists on the go. The videos are also encrypted end-to-end to protect privacy and ensure only authorized physicians can access confidential data.
Telemedicine tools are also a time-saving and cost-effective way for hospitals and health centers to stay informed while connecting easily and safely. They foster collaboration by combining high-speed internet and high-definition video with end-to-end cloud encryption installed behind an airtight firewall.
Mobility is essential in healthcare, and providers are implementing new workflow optimization procedures while safeguarding patients’ personal data and helping reduce preventable medical errors. Doctor visits themselves have been impacted by this shift, with more appointments conducted via secure teleconferencing. Physicians and nurses who take advantage of these digital tools will work more efficiently and create a truly modern practice.
Dan Waldinger is Senior Director of B2B Strategy, Brother International Corporation.