Is Your Hospital Information System Failing Your Patients?

Nov 16, 2016 11:00:00 AM

There’s a growing divide between technology that enables healthcare providers to do their jobs better and technology that creates an obstacle between a physician and great patient care.

 

Healthcare technology has gotten a lot of attention in recent years with the mandated use of electronic medical records. Add this to the growing app culture and you can see how important it is to introduce the right technology that helps - not hinders - physicians looking to deliver a higher quality of care.

 

Hospitals and healthcare groups are rolling out hospital information systems in an attempt to streamline every facet of their operations, from medical to administrative. But too often these systems are contributing to the problems they’re supposed to be addressing.

 

Implementing the right medical technology platform can dramatically improve not only a hospital’s internal operations, it can also streamline patient care and improve patient satisfaction.

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Is Your Technology Hurting Patient Care?

 

While hospital information systems are designed to be a comprehensive solution to the many different pieces of healthcare management, they still fall short. Healthcare administrators should consider these five key areas when evaluating their current medical technology platforms and determining how their technology solutions are impacting their patient care.

 

Is Your System Creating Operational Efficiencies?

The simple act of updating patient files and manually re-entering data eats up countless hours in a clinician’s day. Add in the time spent on other administrative tasks such as time tracking and adding in patient data for billing and insurance purposes and it’s easy to see why many healthcare providers are losing valuable time they could be spending with patients.

 

Health Partners, a well-known system in Minnesota, successfully revised its online appointment scheduling, streamlining its appointments types from an unwieldy 800 different types to less than 30. They were also able to re-engineer physician workflows, dramatically reducing patient wait times from 17.8 days to 4.2 days, a reduction of 76 percent.

 

Improving these patient-facing aspects of health care - appointment scheduling, billing and insurance payments - need to be as much of a priority as clinical advancements. The right hospital information system can revolutionize operations, reducing costs and improving patient satisfaction.

 

Is It Easy To Integrate New Solutions?

While many hospital information systems are designed to be a comprehensive solution, it’s rare that any one solution can handle all aspects from medical and administrative to financial and legal.

 

Often hospitals look to more specialized solutions to meet the needs of specialized user groups, such as Nursing Information Systems or Physician Information Systems, or specific departments - such as Radiology Information Systems or Pharmacy Information Systems.

 

When integrating these new systems or adding apps that facilitate mobile access, diagnostics or other clinical support tools, integration can quickly become a complicated undertaking.

 

Designing systems with modular architecture makes integrating new systems and apps much easier and faster, requiring less work up front as well as less ongoing support and maintenance.

 

Are New Features Adding Value?

Often hospitals will remain with a specific medical technology platform because the prospect of migrating to a new system is too expensive and time intensive. But this too often locks healthcare organizations into a system that places a higher priority on releasing new features that are cheaper to develop, instead of features that busy healthcare providers actually need to be successful.

 

As we mentioned earlier, trying to address this deficiency means buying and integrating new systems and apps. Not only does this drive up IT budgets, it also introduces more complexity and maintenance costs.

 

Look for hospital information systems providers that will spend the time to understand their users and invest time and resources into producing new features that deliver value, not just new features to justify an update.

 

Is Your System Keeping Up With Healthcare Developments?

Ever-changing regulations and rapidly evolving healthcare practices make it difficult for hospital information systems providers to choose which features are most valuable for physicians. Couple that with the long development cycle and many platforms, features and apps can be outdated before they’re even launched.

 

Working with technology providers that use an agile approach can help them deliver new features to the market faster, keeping hospital information systems relevant and users happy.

 

Is Your System Easy For Users To Operate?

Even the most useful app or system will fail if the user interface isn’t intuitive and easy to use. Often systems developers are focused on the back end without taking the time to really think about how the app or feature will be used in a hospital setting.

 

Spending the time to think through how each app or feature will be used and incorporating that knowledge with a user-friendly design will promote user adoption and help hospitals get the full value from their medical technology solutions.

 

Is Your Medical Data Protected?

Hospitals, like retail and banking organizations, face a growing threat from hackers. Ensuring that your hospital information system is designed with the proper cyber security measures and is regularly updating its cyber security protocols to promote against new threats is key to protecting patient data.

 

Data breaches can cost hospitals an average of $355 per record, according to a new survey from Ponemon. They also found that the average total cost of a data breach rose from $3.79 million to $4 million in the current study, according to an article on healthcareitnews.com.

 

Technology That Empowers Physicians To Deliver Quality Care

When the right technology platform, apps and features are implemented, healthcare providers reap the benefits of streamlined workflows, easy access to information and a centralized source of data.

 

Medical technology platforms have the ability to transform healthcare, but only if the hospitals are taking the time to implement the right solutions. Following that up with proper training and user adoption programs will make sure that healthcare systems are getting the full value that these solutions can offer.

 

How does your healthcare organization’s medical technology stack up? What areas would you like to see improved? What features are most effective at reducing costs? Share your experiences with us below.

 

Ready to learn more about using medical software and apps to improve clinical care and improve patient satisfaction? Download our free guide to see how the right software and apps can revolutionize patient care.

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Brian Geary

Written by Brian Geary

Brian is a true believer in the Agile process. He often assists the development process by performing the product owner role. In addition to his technical background, he is an experienced account manager with a background in design and marketing.

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