Digitization of Healthcare
healthcaretechoutlook

Digitization of Healthcare

By Mony Weschler, CIO, InnovaCare Health

Mony Weschler, CIO, InnovaCare Health

Healthcare organizations worldwide are facing increasing pressure to modernize their systems alongside the evolving technologies. The advancements in healthcare technology have shaped the way we communicate, store data, and conduct business. Electronic health records (EHRs) is one of the myriad of examples that has revolutionized the way care is delivered by making information more accessible and easily transferable. Thanks to these digital technologies, the healthcare institutions today have the potential to gather and store a vast amount of patient data effortlessly. These range from admissions, treatments and discharge data to online interactions between patients and providers. The collective insights represent a rich resource, which can be leveraged to drastically improve care delivery in a cost-effective manner.

However, the picture isn’t so rosy across the healthcare continuum. There are numerous healthcare organizations that are mired in their legacy culture. They are saddled with traditionally siloed healthcare systems, which extends the treatment cycle. As these conventional systems do not interact with other systems, healthcare organizations are lacking a holistic view of patient data. To address these impediments, the government decided to deploy the Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE) concept across the hospitals to get the single source of truth. Based on my experience, I strongly believe HIE platforms have the potential to bind all the healthcare systems, consolidate disparate patient data, and deliver meaningful insights that help physicians to make better decisions.

"By bringing the fragmented patient data to a single place helps hospitals function more efficiently and also cut down costs"

Nevertheless, the plan was not executed efficiently; as a result, hospitals failed to harness the complete benefits of HIE systems. The requirements for HIE vary from practice to practice, and the solutions available differ from state to state. Creating a successful HIE or connecting to other HIEs entails much more than simply choosing the right technology. There are significant governance and process issues to consider. The key is to be able to efficiently gather, analyze, and share information with other healthcare providers, with care quality and coordination—along with patient safety. The ultimate aim of the HIE platform is to seamlessly make the rich patient data available for physicians. We are striving to deliver excellent and value-based outcomes, by bringing the fragmented patient data to a single place so that hospitals can function more efficiently and also cut down costs.

A Path to Continuous Innovation

Healthcare technology is an opportunity to enhance the current system of delivery and change ourselves in how we approach personal care. These advanced technologies take healthcare to the next level by building an environment where patients get better treatment and are able to connect with their physicians no matter where they are globally. For example, previously when a patient went to a laboratory for tests, they had to come back after a few days to collect their reports. This approach was tedious and time consuming. However, with today’s technological advancements, healthcare organizations can access the lab information directly and ensure that the treatment needed is quicker and more precise. Also, different physicians can have access to a patient’s medical history, results, diagnostics, and achieve coordinated as well as enhanced care.

To top it all the introduction of mobile technology has completely transformed healthcare organizations by creating a new communication channel between the service providers and patients. Healthcare institutions can enable better coordination, improve communication and build a bridge of trust through the innumerable intuitive mobile apps. Physicians and nurses can now access electronic health records (EHR) directly from the patient’s bedside. Implementing these kinds of innovative systems gives patients access to online medical records and other information, which can enhance self-monitoring and patient convenience.

Setting an Example

In the wake of increasing digitalization and deeper technology integration in the healthcare landscape, the healthcare CIO’s responsibilities have only enhanced. Apart from taking the right decisions in selecting the equipment, the CIO in a healthcare organization needs to collaborate with various teams for effective technology decision making. Across the world, we see emerging technology trends such as mobility, predictive analytics, and machine learning grow steadily across the healthcare continuum. As CIOs, we have to be up-to-date with the recent technology developments to stay ahead of the curve and up our game significantly. CIOs also need to maintain a balance between their new initiatives with reducing IT budgets, which makes it hard to focus on innovation and next-generation technology adoption.

In the coming times, we are really focused on accelerating the consumerization of healthcare and giving patients and providers a new experience. The healthcare industry is going through a radical transformation by embracing computing technologies and data analytics to deliver effective services. This is an exciting time for us to adopt innovative technologies. Our very focus currently is on data and analytics and how we can take healthcare to the next level.

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