Healthcare providers are under constant pressure to improve care while making operations more efficient and cost-effective. Today’s strained healthcare system presents a variety of challenges for healthcare providers.
This is the first in a series of articles we are running to highlight technology innovations that are transforming healthcare.
Healthcare providers are under constant pressure to improve care while making operations more efficient and cost-effective. Today’s strained healthcare system presents a variety of challenges for healthcare providers. Faced with shrinking budgets and chronic shortages of trained personnel and specialists, providers struggle to meet growing demands. Physicians and medical staff are overwhelmed by case loads. Patients are demanding increased access to services, higher-quality care, and lower fees. And payers of healthcare services constantly push for lower costs.
Providers look to information technology to enhance services, improve productivity, and cut hospital operating costs. Organizations that implement automated healthcare information systems, such as electronic health records (EHR) systems and picture archiving communication systems (PACS), see lower mortality rates, fewer complications, and reduced costs. After implementing EHRs, hospitals can potentially improve efficiency and cut costs by replacing paper medical charts with electronic records. And just as importantly, the use of certified EHRs enable health organizations to make progress on achieving government mandates for Meaningful Use.
EHR applications improve:
- Speed – provide instant access to medical records
- Integrity – eliminate misplaced records and reduce errors
- Convenience – enable access to records from any location and at any time
- Security – tightly control access and protect patient privacy
- Efficiency – eliminate manual processes to save time
- Compliance – meet the requirements of legal, regulatory, or accreditation standards
- Costs – improve productivity and reduce healthcare delivery costs
- Convenience – allow for diagnoses from remote locations at any time
- Collaboration – share images across teams
- Speed – facilitate rapid access to medical images
- Productivity – allow healthcare providers to treat more patients per shift
- Coverage – reach underserved locations, remote areas, and rural populations
- Outsourcing – leverage outside radiology resources (distance radiology)
- Security – store images so they are never lost
EHR applications and PACS require high-performance networks to connect all of the necessary services and transmit very large files. There are options, such as Ethernet, that can flexibly support the needs of these systems and enable large hospitals and small clinics alike to take advantage of the benefits they offer.
Tomorrow: healthcare informatics