By Oliver Bodden and Joe Odore, Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America
It is no secret that the healthcare industry has lagged behind when it comes to implementing digital strategies to help improve efficiency and patient care. In fact, in a recent survey, 75 percent of patients reported that they’d like to see more digital solutions used in healthcare settings. The same survey found that patients that already have access to and see these solutions in these settings feel that they are poor quality. With this in mind, hospitals and healthcare organizations are under growing pressure to provide higher quality care to patients, and those that implement them will be better off for it in the future.
Transitioning to newer technologies, like electronic health records, is poised to change care, however, healthcare professionals must overcome challenges to maintain communications without disruption to ensure patient safety and continued operation. That’s why it is important to ensure your organization has adequate foundational elements before undergoing a full digital transformation. Below, we’ve outlined the various situations where having an upgraded suite of office technology may benefit your healthcare organization.
Managing Health Records
Medical records explain the necessary details about a patient’s history, clinical findings, diagnostic test results and medication. They are one of the most important aspects in ensuring patient safety and care and need to be properly managed for that reason. HIPAA regulations established a framework for protecting patient information and focused heavily on the way healthcare organizations share patient information, but healthcare organizations can go beyond just complying with HIPAA to meet these needs.
Electronic medical record scanning is the critical juncture between paper-based records and paperless information management. Using technology to manage health records not only keeps everything in a secure location for ease-of-use, but it also helps save staff resources because they no longer have to go through paper files to find the information they need. Additionally, many of today’s document scanners are equipped with auto document feeders that can detect errors while scanning, enabling staff to set a stack of papers in the feeder and be more attentive to patient needs. Using these types of solutions help staff stay compliant, work more efficiently and ensure they treat their patients accurately and carefully.
Better Information Security
As mentioned above, HIPAA mandates certain patient safety and confidentiality rules that doctors, nurses and medical staff must adhere to by law, and one misstep can have life-threatening consequences.
With scanning solutions, healthcare organizations can ensure that all patient information is stored in one centralized place, which ensures patient information is kept safe and eliminates the loss of records that could occur if using paper files. Additionally, digital and wireless solutions empower caregivers to provide care more efficiently, from anywhere. The result streamlines the collection of information and allows for those who need it to be able to access it, all from one place.
Many organizations are moving different technologies to the cloud, including their unified communication solutions. In healthcare settings, in particular, cloud services can offer measurable value.
One of the main reasons organizations look to cloud solutions for their unified communications needs is the cost advantage. Today, it is very cost-effective to subscribe to a cloud-based phone service because businesses are charged on a monthly recurring basis instead of an up-front cost, which is the case when purchasing an on-premise system. This eliminates the need to pay for the necessary installation and maintenance costs that a traditional phone system would require. Updates to the service also occur automatically, enabling customers to quickly take advantage of the latest advanced features.
Additionally, because of the complexity of today’s communications systems, it can sometimes take an entire IT department or a third-party vendor just to manage the upkeep of a traditional phone system. Cloud-based communications can help alleviate the burden for healthcare facilities by eliminating maintenance, IT workload and some of the more costly internal infrastructure. Having a standardized point of contact and connectivity can streamline operations for healthcare IT teams, enabling them to focus on driving future business initiatives instead of maintaining current systems.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to advancing your healthcare organization from a digital perspective. The move toward a more digital workplace will transform the way you care for the patient, so preparing for that future now helps set your organization up for success down the road.
About The Authors
Oliver Bodden is Sr. Product Manager, Unified Communications and Joe Odore is Product Manager, Document & Imaging for Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America.