Let’s Build Upon Healthcare’s Digital Foundation
For all the well-publicized problems of EHRs – and there are many – let’s acknowledge that the glass is half-full. Physicians have seen benefits from technology, too. For instance, not long ago consulting physicians had to spend the night in the hospital just in case their expertise was needed. Then came pagers, and consultants were able to come to the hospital only as and when needed. Fast-forward to 2017, and today’s technology allows providers to completely review up-to-the-second information about a patient and properly triage that patient directly from the provider’s mobile device.
In some specialties, technology is leading to care delivery transformation. As the treatments for stroke have become more sophisticated and effective, for example, it is now critical to have neurologists available immediately 24×7. For many hospitals, this isn’t practical or even possible. With a digital record, neurologists can work remotely and cover many hospitals, enabling more facilities to deliver world-class stroke care.
More creative and focused use of digital technologies also stands to benefit other clinicians and patients directly. For example, allowing nurses to leverage mobile technology would free them from the constraints of the desktop computer and the nurse’s station. Mobility enables nurses to spend more time with patients and communicate, document, and administer medications without dragging a workstation with them. We have known for a long time that more nursing time leads to better patient outcomes; streamlining each nurse’s administrative work through mobility is a cost-effective and logical way to accomplish this.
EHRs have laid a digital foundation for clinical information access and sharing within hospitals. It’s time to build on that foundation to produce a significant, positive impact on patient care.
Read more about this topic in PK’s e-book, “Healthcare IT 2017-2022: First Comes Change, Then Comes Value”