Healthcare is currently a challenging place to be. With an ageing population and a rising number of chronic cases as a result, the Government also faces pressure to reduce healthcare costs, comply with stringent regulation and do more with less. Michelle Nicholas, Customer Marketing Manager, Canon Europe, argues the case for a new generation of technology tools.
Today, many organisations are experiencing difficulties in managing both digital and paper documents across siloed service providers. Integration and automated workflows are seen by many as a potential reliever to huge administrative pressures, and a way for budget to be reinvested into innovation projects. The first step to overcoming this challenge is improving the flow of communications between points of referral – from GP, to hospital practitioner and back again. Demand is steadily rising for a new generation of technology tools which can facilitate this flow in the most productive, least invasive manner possible.
Luckily, the shift to more sophisticated technologies, including mobile and big data analytics, is already being adapted from major hospital facilities to smaller doctor’s surgeries. With better mobile technology, doctors, nurses and other staff are able to access critical information on-the-go, which is invaluable for making treatment decisions quickly.
Big data analytics is also already a known as a tool for creating personalised data pathways and bespoke treatment packages for individuals. As a result, integrated IT functionality is moving from an episodic encounter-specific view to a recurrent and long-term view of patient records. In a more personalised, more tech-savvy and more integrated health ecosystem, care processes will no longer be a one-size-fits-all model.
The potential benefits are many; prescriptions can be electronically checked to conform to sensible drug quantities, interactions with other medication and clinical patient conditions in mere moments. Consumers can even download healthcare apps to record and keep a tab on their own medical histories. But for such a model to flourish, healthcare providers must invest in the best possible technology solutions and services. Whether this is electronically capturing patient information or automating a manual process or workflow to remove human error, they are small steps to a big change.
IDC predicts that IT investment by the Western European healthcare sector will grow by 8.5% (nearly €1bn) in 2017 . But to ensure those investments are not misplaced, technology providers need to understand the patient journey, how to digitise workflows and optimise processes so that they can transparently report on performance and productivity on departmental level. All information-led systems need a robust technology infrastructure behind them. Better technology can afford healthcare organisations the opportunity to enhance data capture and subsequently improve patient outcomes.