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A Closer Look at Information Technology: Its Effects on the Healthcare Sector

The emergence of IT has greatly affected the healthcare sector, specifically in terms of service delivery. Patients now enjoy quality services which are delivered in a shorter amount of time. Hospital staff also no longer need to brush through numerous files while looking for a single document or even information. These are only some changes in the medical industry due to the emergence of IT.

Electronic Medical Reports

Electronic Medical Reports (EMR) has become synonymous with modern healthcare. Hospitals are continuously looking to digitize their records. Any such hospitals may rely on companies that offer healthcare IT services to assist them in their transition from their traditional manual patient records to the more advanced EMR systems. EMR systems increase the ease with which a hospital’s staff access the required patients’ records. They eliminate the need for physical files which not only consume a lot of storage space but also, require significant time to organize.

Additionally, physical files do not offer sufficient security to the data held in their documents. For instance, just by walking into a doctor’s office, it was possible to access the documents in the files. That made it possible for malicious parties to steal hospital records easily. Furthermore, these files do not safeguard information against physical damage. Backing up the information does not make the situation better since duplicating the files comes with accompanying costs and storage requirements. However, EMR systems have eliminated the need for these file types. It has become possible for hospitals to operate entirely without papers.

Patient Follow-ups

Woman using laptopThrough IT, it has become possible for hospitals to monitor the progress of their patients. For example, a hospital’s system may be designed so that doctors can regularly review their patients’ progress without the need for the patients to be physically present at the hospital. Patients may be asked to install an application on their phones through which they will be recording any changes in their symptoms. Additionally, a hospital’s system may be designed to give regular notifications to both doctors and patients regarding scheduled appointments. That reduces the chances of patients failing to show up or even doctors committing to other patients during when they already have scheduled appointments with specific patients.

Reduced Paper Costs

Consider the number of patients that visit a national hospital in a day. The figure is likely to be in hundreds or even thousands. Also, think about the number of inpatients whose progress is monitored on a daily basis. Assuming that everything is recorded on paper and then filed, the paper costs are high. That is without forgetting the receipts to be printed at the cashier’s office before a patient is cleared to see a doctor and later to go to the hospital’s pharmacy for medication. A significant portion of a hospitals paper costs may be eliminated just by digitizing its operations. A digital file may be created for every patient where all their information will be stored. It then becomes possible to retrieve and modify the data whenever necessary.

It is expected that the current state of technology will continuously improve over time. That will further improve service delivery. Therefore, hospitals and clinics should be ready to fully embrace IT as a commitment to deliver quality services to their clients.

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