The healthcare industry is in the middle of what some have called the “Great Digitalization.” Healthcare facilities large and small have been implementing digital technology for years. From smartphones to cloud-based data storage systems and virtual care, new technology can improve efficiency in more ways than one. As of today, nearly all U.S. hospitals use electronic health records (EHRs).
While your practice or employer may be hesitant when it comes to investing in the latest technology, using outdated communicators and fax machines can actually drive up costs and reduce efficiency. It may even put the health and safety of your patients at risk. If you’re still clinging to paper records and manual tracking, learn how outdated workflow can put you, your patients, and your practice at a disadvantage.
Why the Resistance the Change?
The Hippocratic Oath states, “Do no harm,” and the same may apply to your beliefs about technology. Some smaller facilities and practices may be hesitant to digitize their operations for numerous reasons. Administrators and staff may not feel comfortable using the latest technology. Diminishing profits and limited financial resources may also hinder their ability to adopt digital healthcare platforms.
However, other facilities may simply be wary of the future. Older care providers may groan at the idea of using a computer all day long. These offices have used paper records for decades, and switching to new models of care can seem risky to some. If a system is working, why change it? However, updating to the latest technology is about more than just personal preferences and beliefs. Outdated technology can hold your facility back as more of your competitors embrace digitalization.
How Outdated Technology Can Put Your Practice at Risk
Many practices and facilities say they can’t afford to invest in the latest digital technology, but, in fact, the healthcare industry loses around $8.3 billion per year due to outdated technology. Using outdated charting techniques can slow down your operations, driving up the cost of care. Your facility will likely have to spend more time and money caring for each patient, limiting how many patients you and your team can care for throughout the day.
In addition to higher costs, using outdated technology can hurt your practice or facility in the following ways:
- Reduced Response Time
You and your team need to act fast in the face of an emergency. Consider connecting employee smartphones to a real-time locator system (RTLS), so you can monitor the location of your employees in real time. You can call or text employees based on their proximity to the facility to speed up response times.
- Poor Patient and Internal Communication
Communication is the name of the game in the healthcare industry. Outdated tech like fax machines, pagers, and paper records, to name a few, can make it harder for you and your team to exchange information in the heat of the moment. You can only send so much information with things like these, which can take several minutes to operate. Furthermore, paper records are difficult to send across long distances.
With an EHR system and smartphones, you and your team can send and share complete records with the touch of a finger. You won’t have to wait as long for a response as you would with outdated technology; and you won’t have to be near a computer to access patient information. If one of your patients requests access to their medical records, they can have it sent right to their inbox instead of waiting for a paper copy to arrive in the mail.
- Increased Competition
Healthcare is a business, after all, which means you need to keep up with the latest trends if you want to stay competitive. Unless you’re the only doctor in town, your patients have a choice when it comes to receiving care. Some of your patients may prefer to bring their business to some of your competitors if you continue to cling to outdated technology.
Updating your technology improves the patient experience. Patients and providers can use instant messaging to stay in touch. Patients can also schedule appointments online instead of having to call the office directly. You can also coordinate treatment with the patient’s pharmacy to improve medication adherence. You can send reminders to your patients in real time, so they remember to pick up their medication or schedule a follow-up appointment.
Patient reviews and ratings can also affect your overall standing in the healthcare industry. Your reputation may sour over time as you continue using outdated technology. Patient reviews can affect your facility’s HCAHPS scores, a direct correlation to Medicare reimbursements, limiting how much money you receive from the federal government.
The benefits of modernizing your technology are clear. You and your staff can get things done more efficiently, while improving patient outcomes. If your facility is still behind the curve, consider investing in digital technology today!