The healthcare industry has seen rapid changes in technology and patient communication in the last few years.
Providers have realized that they can provide better patient care and reduce costs by adopting technological solutions.
Unfortunately, a good number are opting out of the latest trends in healthcare because new technologies can often generate unforeseen issues.
The adoption of new technologies in healthcare requires a careful balance. Some trends have been quickly picked up and adopted.
According to one report, nearly half of all doctors in the United States were using telehealth in 2022, up from around 18% in 2018.
Nearly 70% of patients are more likely to choose a medical provider who allows them to book and cancel appointments online.
If you are looking to get into nursing, you will find it easier to get employment if you are familiar with these technologies and how they work.
A DNP program, for example, teaches how to leverage IT to transform the patient experience and improve healthcare delivery.
You also learn about electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs), and patient portals for electronic medical records (EMR). You can enroll in an online DNP, which takes less time and offers more flexibility.
Learning the basics of IT in healthcare is important, but you still need practical experience to make the best use of systems like telehealth, so a DNP program that offers placement will make you more attractive to employers.
What is Communication Technology in Healthcare?
It is the use of digital technologies to detect, treat, and prevent disease, manage patient outcomes, and improve processes for patients and providers.
For healthcare providers, ICT is about introducing efficiencies, increasing capacities, and eliminating errors that affect patient outcomes.
A doctor, for example, will welcome a system that shows them a patient’s history on a computer rather than a paper file because it saves time and eliminates human error.
Nurses work more efficiently when they can access and update charts online; at the click of a button, they can see all the information they need to provide the right treatment and care.
The use of technology in healthcare presents an interesting dichotomy. A significant number of providers are happy to use systems that introduce efficiency, but they are reluctant to adopt them for diagnosis and treatment.
Although scientists have made important strides in using IT to detect and treat disease, many doctors are reluctant to use this type of IT. They would rather stick to the old methods of diagnosing and treating patients because they feel it is more reliable.
Nonetheless, certain technologies have proved to be popular among providers.
How Has Technology Transformed Healthcare?
Some inpatient facilities in America have seen a tremendous growth in patient numbers since adopting new technologies like telehealth. This shows that these new platforms come with tangible benefits. These include but are not limited to:
- New platforms have led to significantly lower costs for providers, and some of these savings can be passed on to patients.
- Healthcare workers are better able to share information, eliminating errors and inefficiencies and providing better care.
- These platforms are powerful educational tools for both providers and patients
- When patients have all information related to their health, they tend to trust doctors more, and this often leads to better treatment.
- Remote consultations have reduced travel time for both patients and providers. Patients don’t have to go to the hospital to get a diagnosis, and healthcare workers can provide diagnosis and treatment wherever they are.
- It is easier to monitor public threats with improved communication technology.
What Are Common Technologies in Healthcare?
In simple terms, telehealth is the use of digital media and communication technology to access and manage healthcare.
It can be done from a computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone, and it is accessible to anyone who has an internet connection.
A good example of telehealth is booking a doctor’s appointment from home or accessing a portal to see test results.
Healthcare providers use telehealth when they move around in a mobile van, diagnosing and treating patients.
When a patient comes to the mobile clinic, the nurse or doctor enters their information into a computer that is uploaded into a database.
If the patient is diagnosed with an illness, that information is entered as well, as are the various recommended treatments and advice.
Patients can log in and see their records, and if they should visit the actual clinic, the doctor or nurse will pull their history from the database.
Telehealth is all about information collection and access, and it makes life easier for all involved. Doctors and nurses can access critical information quickly, and patients are up to date about their health.
Telehealth is used for remote monitoring. It has evolved into different devices and platforms that patients can use to virtually communicate with their doctors and nurses.
Patients can now send their data through apps, devices that measure body vitals, wearables that collect and automatically transmit data, home monitoring devices for the elderly, and even devices that send reminders about the treatment.
Telehealth offers important benefits:
- It makes it easier to deliver healthcare for those who live in rural communities or in places that are hard to access.
- Telehealth is crucial when dealing with a contagious pandemic like COVID-19. Patients don’t have to visit hospitals, clinics, and treatment centers, and it helps keep infection rates low.
- It is a means to offer primary care for chronic conditions.
- Files are easily shared between specialists, allowing them to provide timely treatments.
- Telehealth has greatly improved communication between healthcare providers.
- It is a great way to provide advice to patients on self-care, diet, and how to manage their illnesses.
Electronic Patient-reported Outcome Measures (ePROMs)
One of the things you learn in a DNP program is the use and benefits of ePROMs. It refers to health outcomes that are based on self-reporting.
Patient reporting has become a popular way to conduct clinical trials and monitor chronic illnesses like diabetes.
ePROMs have three distinct benefits: they help reduce costs, they improve communication, and they make it easier for doctors and nurses to provide personalized treatments.
In clinical trials, for example, all a participant has to do is fill in online questionnaires and submit them as instructed. Those who are conducting the trial collate the data from all the forms and use it to draw conclusions.
It works similarly for those who live with a chronic illness. They can fill out online forms with their vitals over a given period, and the doctor or nurse can use that information to create new treatments and offer advice about how best to manage the illness.
ePROMs also allow healthcare providers to provide personalized treatments. A doctor or a nurse can observe a certain trajectory in a diabetes patient that they are monitoring remotely, and based on what they see, they can create a personalized plan that will help control symptoms.
Patient Portals for Electronic Medical Records
It is a common perception that patient portals are primarily to allow patients to access their records, but they do a lot more.
Doctors use them to improve the quality of patient care, and they are great tools for improving communication between healthcare providers and patients.
Patient portals allow patients control over their treatments. Patients can see their lab results, get prescription refills, update their personal information and insurance information, and also see how much they owe.
One of the main benefits of these portals is that they encourage patients to seek medical advice and treatment.
Because they don’t have to leave their home or office, they find it easier to consult a doctor. Many healthcare facilities have reported increased numbers of patients after adopting patient portals for electronic medical records.
Nurses and doctors also report increased efficiency and that patient cases are easier to manage. Signing up new patients, for example, is easier because all they need to do is visit the portal.
What is the Best Course to Learn About Healthcare Communication Technology?
Telehealth, electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs), and patient portals for electronic medical records are three examples of communication technologies that you’ll learn after you enroll in a DNP program. There may be others, depending on what you choose to specialize in.
It is likely that by the time you apply for a DNS program you are already a busy working professional. It is a good idea to look for online courses that allow some flexibility.
However, remember that these courses require students to be disciplined (they have a high opt-out rate because many learners underestimate their requirements).
The Daily Buzz provides useful insights on why you should pursue your nursing degree online rather than in-person.
Communication technology in healthcare is becoming mainstream. Most healthcare facilities use some form of technology that makes life easier for patients, doctors, and nurses.
One way to advance your career is to become conversant with these technologies.
The more you know about them, the more attractive you’ll be to employers. A DNP Program is a good way to familiarize yourself, and it allows you to advance to the highest levels of the nursing profession.
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