Businesses across the globe are under constant pressure to innovate. The evolution of technology not only adds to this pressure, but levels the playing field by creating more and more direct access to valuable data, on-demand talent, and innovation platforms like TARA.
Innovations in healthcare technology are no different.
When the efficiency of your technology affects not only your business’ success, but also the level of care provided to your patients, the impulse to innovate and advance becomes that much more critical.
Healthcare technology is rapidly advancing, and it is worthwhile to pay attention to new developments that could revolutionize the way offices function.
For the purpose of this post, we’ve divided healthcare innovations into three categories: those that promote better communication between patient and doctor, those that are for the sole benefit of the patient, and those that are for the sole benefit of the doctor.
Keep reading for some of the most common, yet disruptive examples of digital innovation.
Communication Between Doctor and Patient
Without a doubt, a large constituent of a doctor’s office efficiency is how communication functions between doctor and patient–that is, how appointments are made, how cancellations are handled, and how patients receive their care.
When relations between doctor and patient are smooth, organized, and flexible, the functioning of the office as a whole is that much more cohesive.
Here are innovations in healthcare technology that enhance doctor-patient communication:
Chiron Health explains how telemedicine functions to enhance a healthcare office:
“Telemedicine involves the use of electronic communications and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Telemedicine technology is frequently used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultation and a host of other clinical services that can be provided remotely via secure video and audio connections.”
The benefits of telemedicine lie in its ability to conveniently offer services to patients without the need for commute or exposure to ill patients, and it significantly quickens the process by which patients receive their care.
When specific patients’ needs are addressed through electronic communication, doctors are better able to devote time and energy to patients who more desperately need in-person care.
What’s more, telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to experience fewer appointment cancellations and ultimately enables doctors to provide an ultra-accessible, more convenient patient experience.
(Image via Healthcare Intelligence Network)
Important to note in the infographic above is the increasing prevalence of telemedicine, and how patients personally feel about it.
Evidently, 64% of Americans say they would be open to video doctor visits, 90% of health leaders are either working on or currently applying telemedicine, and 91% of patients’ health results through telemedicine were as good or better than in-person care.
These numbers mustn’t be ignored, and telemedicine is worth considering if for nothing else other than its growing pervasiveness.
Online Booking & Appointment Canceling Software
When it comes to efficiency in a healthcare office, the way appointments are managed start to finish–that is, scheduling, modifying, and cancelling–can make or break the care you provide.
When it comes to scheduling appointments, countless businesses–from restaurants to hair salons–have moved to some form of online booking.
Instead of having to call the office or book the next appointment in-person after the conclusion of the current one, online booking provides patients the convenience to schedule at their own leisure, without verbal interaction with a secretary.
Appointments can be scheduled at the patient’s convenience, and electronic reminders can then be set up to keep them aware of when their next appointment is.
Moreover, canceling appointments is a separate–but interwoven–beast that can benefit from technological upgrades.
When patients cancel appointments, time is often lost by doctors trying to fill the newly-opened time slots with other patients who need medical care.
Innovations in healthcare technology help solve these problems.
Healthcare professionals can leverage technology to help mitigate appointment cancellations and automatically fill newly opened time slots, open collaboration capabilities, push appointment reminders, create smart wait lists, and assist in the overall cohesion of the medical office.
By implementing these technological adaptations to your office, you can significantly cut down on time lost and better cater to all of your patients’ medical needs.
For the Benefit of the Patient
As we move on to other potential upgrades to consider adopting, it is arguably most important to consider what will allow for the greater benefit of the patient.
Working towards improving the care of the patient and overall patient experience will inevitably benefit the doctor as well.
Microneedle Blood Collection
When it comes to collecting blood from patients, the initial pain and potential length of recovery time makes the entire process quite undesirable.
While no patient should ever be expected to leap with joy at the prospect of needing blood drawn, it is worthwhile to consider ways to make the process less intimidating for them–especially when considering younger children who may be incredibly uneasy.
A microneedle-based device can make collecting blood quicker and more painless for the patient.
In fact, it “is more convenient and less painful than a fingerstick and venepuncture, and collects 100 µl of blood,” according to Nature.
Furthermore, the device is ostensibly straightforward to use and requires minimal training–all it requires is the push of a single button.
So, using a microneedle device to draw blood may not only quicken the process and reduce the amount of pain, but it also is simple to implement and may make the duties of the doctor that much easier.
NeuroAD Therapy System
This innovation is limited to patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, but the benefits these patients can reap through its implementation is substantial enough to consider.
According to its website, neuroAD “is a novel, non-invasive medical device which has helped many Alzheimer’s Disease patients achieve sustained cognitive improvement.”
Essentially, neuroAD uses Focused Transcranial Stimulation (TMS) “to stimulate targeted areas of the brain responsible for various cognitive functions that have been impaired by Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Through TMS, neuroAD therapy “induces LTP (Long-Term Potentiation),” which ultimately increases the receptiveness to memory and learning in these specific areas of the brain.
(Image via HK TMS)
For the Benefit of the Doctor
Although the innovations we’ve listed so far can significantly benefit doctors–either directly or indirectly–it is important to acknowledge specific adaptations healthcare offices can implement that will solely add convenience to the doctor.
With all of the different terms, conditions, aspects, etc. there is to consider in the medical world, remembering it all can become tedious and difficult.
One profound way to make this task more convenient is to implement a medical dictionary that can easily be accessed and referenced.
As LiberateHealth points out, “having a medical dictionary app can enhance interaction between patient and care provider; for example[,] a physician assistant administering care could share a tutorial video with the patient so they are better educated on the care they will be receiving.”
So, the added convenience of having direct access to nearly any medical term at your fingertips may not only help doctors, but doctor-patient relations may benefit from it as well.
When it comes to making more efficient use of a doctor’s time, the automation of tedious tasks frees up schedule and offers more convenience.
One of the main duties that can benefit from automation is the writing, sending, and refilling of prescriptions.
There is a term for the automatic functionality added to the prescription process–e-prescribing, or electronic prescribing.
As DrFirst.com, Inc. points out, the prevalence and efficiency of e-prescribing, with over 70% of U.S. physicians having electronically transmitted at least one prescription, according to their site.
Dr.First.com, Inc. goes on to explain the various benefits of implementing electronic prescribing.
In particular, e-prescribing “prevents prescription drug errors,” “speeds up the medication reconciliation process,” “track[s] patient fulfillment of prescriptions,” “reduces the number of lost prescriptions,” and “staff spends less time responding to prescription refill requests,” among numerous others.
Healthfinch, a software company that developed the Charlie Practice Automation Platform–which “automates routine, repetitive clinical tasks,”–says that last year, Charlie “saved providers and staff 8 million minutes,” “caught over 300,000 medication errors,” and “identified 1 million care gaps.”
While doctors may most directly benefit from e-prescribing, patients and healthcare offices as a whole will experience the advantages of its enactment.
(Image via King University)
As visible in the image above, the expansion in use and overall widespread presence of technology–inevitably, innovative technology–in the world of healthcare is undeniable.
Implementing even just one of the innovations we’ve mentioned in this post may substantially benefit your company, without much effort needed at all.
Ready to disrupt healthcare by way of digital innovation? Let’s talk.