5 Recurring Issues in the Healthcare Sector that Technology Can Solve
Healthcare providers face constant pressure to innovate quickly to improve patient care and increase operational efficiency.
By: John Eatmon
Healthcare providers face constant pressure to innovate quickly to improve patient care and increase operational efficiency. That’s why many in the healthcare sector are increasingly relying on modern technology. Choosing the right solutions and having access to the expertise necessary to implement and support them offers a host of benefits to healthcare organizations. Here are five ways IT can help overcome the recurring challenges plaguing healthcare:
1. Information sharing
In a hospital environment, the availability of information can quite literally be a matter of life and death. Information silos can lead to crippling administrative inefficiencies and delay healthcare practitioners from providing treatment. By moving to the cloud-based environments, these issues become a thing of the past.
Users can share data amongst each other with a tap of a button, provided they have a reliable and secure internet connection. This also means medical records and other administrative paperwork are quickly sent to the right people so they can focus on doing their jobs, and spend less time sifting through stacks of outdated folders.
2. Managing data
In the early days of IT, data was scarce. Today, the opposite is true. As organizations become more reliant on technology, the amount of data being generated is increasing exponentially. It’s not just the data generated by your own systems either, there’s also that being delivered by labs, pharmacies, and patients themselves. All this data needs to be stored, protected, and made useful in some way to maximize the sustainability of your operations. Again, the cloud has the answer by providing access to a highly scalable storage infrastructure with mobile app portals that provide real-time access to patient information like medical history and diagnoses.
3. Remote access
While the cloud presents the obvious destination for medical technology infrastructures, it does present some challenges of its own. The growth of telemedicine and mobile healthcare, as well as emerging technologies like wearable devices and augmented reality, increase the likelihood of cyberattacks.
With mobile device management (MDM) software, organizations can experience the benefits of mobile healthcare without any of the risks. MDM enables healthcare providers to monitor and track company-registered devices to ensure they’re being used appropriately. If devices are lost or stolen, system administrators can wipe mobile devices remotely so that sensitive records don’t fall into the wrong hands.
What’s more, end users can ensure their telehealth apps are adequately protected with multifactor authentication and full data encryption. These dramatically reduce the risks of data breaches caused by mismanaged accounts, network-based attacks, and social engineering scams.
4. Supply management
Patients might not think much about the logistics that healthcare services depend on, but they do form the backbone of dependable service. With inefficient logistics and poorly optimized supply chains, healthcare practices can easily end up with inventory shortages and problems with equipment, both of which have a knock-on effect on staff productivity and patient care. To mitigate the risks and reduce costs, healthcare providers should implement an inventory management system tailored to the needs of the industry. Again, all data should be stored in the cloud to ensure it’s immediately accessible from in-house terminals and mobile devices.
5. Regulatory compliance
Data compliance is one of the biggest technological and administrative challenges in the healthcare sector. Since healthcare organizations manage large volumes of sensitive data, they’re often prime targets for cybercriminals. It also doesn’t help that many of the rules and regulations are lacking in details of what constitutes a sufficient information security and privacy infrastructure. After all, HIPAA was enacted 23 years ago, when the technology environment was very different.
To overcome these challenges, it’s best to work with a technology partner and consultancy firm that are also compliant with HIPAA and other industry best practices. These organizations have a thorough understanding of healthcare IT-related issues and know what solutions are required to fix them. Essentially, technology partners allow you to outsource compliance and alleviate the headaches caused by cybersecurity.