What Are the Implications of Healthcare Going Digital?

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Technology has done more than change how people manage their work and entertainment; it has shifted patient expectations regarding the delivery of healthcare services. This change goes beyond having the latest diagnostic and treatment equipment available in a medical facility. Patients increasingly desire access to health-related information in similar formats to those they use to read the news or purchase everything from clothing to food online.

To meet these expectations, healthcare services must embrace the technological solutions patients crave. And that means combining historical claims information with new clinical data. While this approach may initially be cumbersome on the backend, it also leads to a variety of new possibilities. Here are just a few of the implications of the healthcare industry going digital.

Legacy Data Management and Integration

The biggest hurdle to embracing a tech-based solution is integrating legacy data. While transitioning records from one healthcare information and management system to another can be complex, many professional services exist to help streamline these transitions. However, if your medical facility has not fully computerized their original paper records, this task can seem overwhelming.

First, it is hard to gauge whether you have the necessary infrastructure and resources to manage the final amount of data. Large medical facilities may find this even more daunting, though the concern is present at all locations regardless of size. Additionally, medical systems with multiple locations will need to be interconnected via the internal network to ensure every area can access patient information regardless of its point of origin.

Even if the process is time-consuming, it is worth the effort. Luckily, this information can be added in segments. Organize legacy data by prioritizing the records of those who are still currently patients, as they will allow you to provide more in-depth services to those you already serve. Then, add any remaining information in manageable intervals. Many hardware or cloud-based storage options are also scalable, allowing the system to adapt to changing needs should there be significantly more data than originally anticipated.

Patient Engagement

The ability to access their information digitally allows more patients to actively manage their health. They can review their health history, track efforts in regards to diet and exercise and monitor their progress. This allows patients to stay engaged regarding their treatment and may yield better results.

Similarly, the increased interest in prescription refill management through an online portal may improve medication adherence when combined with other tracking mechanisms. In many cases, patients are even willing to change medical providers to gain additional access to their records and helpful tools to let them manage their care online.

Security Concerns

While paper records are not the most efficient option, they are often easier to secure than their digital counterparts. The protection of patient data is a priority in most medically oriented facilities, but it requires numerous steps and the integration of multiple technologies to do well. Additionally, business continuity and disaster recovery plans must be created to manage critical systems during extreme circumstances. Even though the IT community works diligently to protect systems against threats, it is an ever-evolving landscape that requires constant vigilance.

Tackling Digital Demands

As more patients rely on technical solutions for their care, the need to embrace the technology is evident. Facilities that fail to keep pace with shifts in the industry will likely suffer as patients look for options elsewhere.

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