The healthcare market is undergoing significant change, driven by greater demands from government and the rising expectations of citizens, both public and private healthcare organisations have never been under more pressure. Using digital transformation to improve the patient experience, create an efficient workplace, ensure cost reduction, enable staff productivity, and secure data are critical priorities for any healthcare provider.
Take the NHS (National Health Service), for example. The public service placed an emphasis on digital transformation in April 2019 by forming NHSX – a unit with responsibility for developing best practice for National Health Service technology, digital and data. From websites and apps, to connected computer systems, NHSX are engaging on a tech plan for health and care throughout 2020.
In this blog, we consider five ways that technology can add value to healthcare organisations:
1) Transform the patient experience
A positive patient outcome is critical for any healthcare organisation and there is increasing pressure on healthcare services to improve the patient experience. Interactions are often paper based or require one-to-one communications with an administrator. This leads to error, loss of important information, duplication, and increased staffing requirements. Technology can help to enhance the patient experience by increasing the efficiency of those interactions, allowing quicker rescheduling of appointments, better bed utilisation, and faster sharing of information. Efficient provision of information, good communication with staff, and timely guidance can all drastically improve the patient care.
Patient experience can also be improved by enhancing the efficiency of the touch points patients use to access care. Providing non-intrusive technology which removes unnecessary interactions with healthcare services can reduce pressure on staff and speed up patient care. Utilising modern digital communication systems that can quickly provide information, handle calls efficiently, and integrate online and on-phone communications, can significantly improve the healthcare experience for both staff and patients.
2) Create a digital workplace
Digital technology can improve the healthcare experience and enable more efficient interaction between staff and patients throughout the workplace.
Technology can help drive productivity; from reducing routine tasks and administration, to improving the availability of information and ability to communicate with colleagues. Using technology and digital tools can also provide quicker access to critical patient data and enable staff to be productive and engage effectively, which can have a huge impact on their workplace experience.
Healthcare providers need to transform their communication and collaboration systems if they are to continue to meet the needs of their staff and more importantly, their patients. Patients generally want to spend as short a time as possible in healthcare facilities and therefore anything that can ensure a rapid and effective visit is welcome. An effective strategy is to work with expert partners that, not only understand the available innovative and relevant technology, but can also translate it into practical solutions that can be readily implemented.
3) Protect your sensitive data
Using technology can also increase the overall efficiency of any healthcare organisation by providing secure, seamless access to critical data. Extremely personal data, the loss of which could affect people’s lives, is entrusted to healthcare organisations and by necessity must be shared between professionals to deliver effective patient care.
Using technology products and services to make data easily accessible, whilst also protecting from data loss and detecting intrusion, is therefore essential for any healthcare organisation. Healthcare providers should implement security processes and procedures that can both protect and distribute relevant patient data efficiently. Ensuring accessibility of information can help improve both patient and staff experience. Securely protecting data prevents loss of information and potential negative exposure for the service.
4) Optimise technology expenditure
Healthcare organisations can benefit from using technology such as unified communications and collaboration tools to streamline processes and reduce costs. Cost optimisation is essential for ensuring the efficient delivery of any healthcare service. Extracting the maximum value for the lowest cost from every asset reduces operating cost and enhances employee productivity and is therefore critical for healthcare services.
5) Increase operational productivity
Hospitals face a myriad of day-to-day challenges including lengthy patient waiting times, frustrated staff, poor patient care, outdated technology, and aging facilities. Finding innovative ways to increase efficiency, replace cumbersome paper processes, and enhance clinician productivity by embracing the latest digital technologies are top priorities. Technology enables clinicians to be more productive by allowing them to prioritise patient care, substantially improving the productivity of staff. Enabling staff to deliver more services in the community and providing clinicians with access to the right tools to operate and improve communication flow, can transform the healthcare experience.
Additionally, technology can improve employee productivity by supporting clinicians working from home and enabling remote team-working across different locations, which speeds-up decision-making. Also, instant chat and document-sharing can assist teams in working together more effectively. Such tools help to ensure the right staff are at the right place at the right time during emergency situations, increasing staff availability and improving patient outcomes.
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