What is the Impact of Technology on Patient Healthcare?
As technology becomes more advanced and accessible, it's clear that the future of patient healthcare looks very different than the past. From online appointment scheduling to digital health records and even telemedicine—there are countless ways that technology can improve care.
This article will dive into a few ways your patients benefit from this wave of innovation in the medical field, while also touching on some drawbacks.
Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring
Technology is a tool to help improve patient care. While it's not a replacement for human interaction, it allows providers to communicate with patients outside of their office hours or when they are not available in person. This helps increase efficiency by reducing costs associated with travel time between appointments, and frees up time for doctors to spend more time with patients who need them the most.
Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring technology have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to provide efficient and effective healthcare services. Telemedicine allows patients to access medical care remotely, through video conferencing or phone calls, which can be especially helpful for those with mobility issues or those living in rural areas.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology enables healthcare providers to monitor patients' health status and vital signs remotely, using devices such as wearables or implanted sensors. This technology allows for early detection of health problems, which can lead to timely interventions and improved patient outcomes.
Technology Facilitates Better Communication and Information Sharing
Providers can use technology to rapidly share patient information with each other. This is especially important in the case of patients who have complex medical histories, who may have been seen at multiple locations, and who have been treated by multiple physicians over the course of their care.
For example, if you've been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor may be able to use an electronic health record (EHR) system to pull up all relevant test results from previous visits. This way, the doctor doesn't have to spend extensive amounts of time looking through old files when making new treatment decisions.
Technology Promotes Patient-Centered Care
Technology helps patients:
- Take an active role in their care.
- Know the benefits of their treatment.
- Understand their condition and what to expect from it.
- Manage their own health, which honors the holistic approach called patient-centered care.
Technology Fuels Research
Technology facilitates the collection of data, which can then be utilized for various purposes such as research, improving patient care and outcomes, and enhancing quality. In addition, data can aid in reducing costs, improving processes, and developing new products. This valuable information is obtained through a variety of sources, such as electronic health records (EHRs), apps, and remote patient monitoring devices.
Technology Improves Patient Outcomes
Technology can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve outcomes. The use of technology has helped to improve patient care by making it more convenient and accessible. For example, almost all hospitals have implemented electronic health records (EHRs) that allow doctors to access patient information from anywhere in the hospital or remotely via computer or mobile device.
Healthcare professionals can access all relevant patient data at any time, without interruptions from staff members who may need to hand over important case or medical history information. Such interruptions could take up valuable time, especially during appointments or in the emergency department.
EHRs allow data analysts to find gaps in care, billing, and door-to-treatment time. Qualitative and quantitative reviews are fast-tracked, allowing hospital systems to identify and correct issues more quickly.
Technology Reduces Medical Errors
Technology has played a significant role in reducing medical errors by improving accuracy and efficiency in healthcare practices. Electronic health records (EHRs) have replaced paper-based records, decreasing the likelihood of mistakes related to illegible handwriting, lost or misplaced files, or incorrect data entry.
Moreover, clinical decision support systems (CDSS) integrated into EHRs provide real-time alerts and reminders to healthcare providers, helping them make informed decisions and avoid medication errors or adverse drug reactions.
Barcoding technology ensures the correct medication and dosage are given to the right patient, reducing medication errors. Overall, technology has helped streamline healthcare practices, improve communication, and enhance patient safety, ultimately reducing the incidence of medical errors.
Cons to Pervasive Technology
As more and more people rely on technology, the risk of data breaches increases. There are many ways in which this can happen, including through hacking or malware infection. When an organization stores sensitive information about its patients and clients, it must protect that data from being stolen by hackers or other individuals with malicious intent.
Unfortunately, many organizations fail at this task--even those claiming to be cybersecurity experts! Even if you don't care about protecting yourself from malicious hackers (which is not recommended), there is still reason enough for concern when considering whether or not pervasive technology should be used within healthcare settings.
The impact of technology on patient healthcare is significant and seen in many different ways. From the use of artificial intelligence to diagnose diseases faster and more accurately than ever before, to wearable devices that monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels — technology has become an integral part of our healthcare system. With these advancements, however, come greater threats of data breaches. Healthcare businesses would be wise to bolster cybersecurity regularly to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology.
Be sure your organization is prepared to protect patient data and provide excellent care by taking advantage of HIPAA Exams course options for all healthcare and healthcare-adjacent roles.