Long gone are those years when information technology was primarily a thing of the cyber world. Information technology is influencing virtually every environment today, and health and information technology go hand in hand right now. Healthcare is one of the top industries that increasingly utilize technologies to manage staff, track patient treatment, store data, send blood test results to patients digitally, access medical profiles, and many more.
The healthcare industry has really experienced a significant transformation due to information technology, and it’s estimated that by the end of 2027, the HIT market will reach an incredible $974.5 billion (growing at a GAGR of 19.8%). HIT is the catalyst for change within the healthcare space. And below, we’re going to reveal what benefits information technology can bring to both medical professionals and patients.
What is Health Information Technology (HIT)?
Whereas IT basically stands for the use of computers to store, retrieve and share data, HIT refers to the use of technology to manage health-related information. Among the most common examples of HIT, we can list computerized disease registries, e-prescriptions, electronic health records, health-related mobile applications and information platforms, telehealth, as well as many other tech tools that somehow help patients.
Though healthcare information technology is really vast in forms and functions, at its core lies the ability to store and transmit information, while maintaining the privacy and improving patient care.
The Main Advantages of Health Information Technology
The benefits of using information technology in the health industry are numerous. Yet, if you’d like us to pinpoint the main ones, we’d definitely highlight the following ones.
Increased Patient Safety
HIT systems can not only store patient data but also synthesize it. So, healthcare professionals can even pre-program security health-state checks that would alert them of adverse effects the patient may experience on certain pills prior to prescribing medication. The ability to store and process all of a patient’s information (including laboratory test results, X-rays, clinical records, etc) in one place can also prevent big mistakes that may arise if not all relevant information is accessible during decision-making.
Quick Access to Patient Medical Records
The system collecting patients’ info is called Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Electronic Health Record (EHR). And the transition to such systems elevates the healthcare ecosystem into a unified process that provides a better network of services. Thanks to EHR, medical providers are able to mine out patients’ information in a matter of minutes. And when it comes to healthcare, sometimes, every minute matters.
Efficient Care Coordination
EHR systems also allow multiple doctors to create patients’ records and disseminate them simultaneously, as well as share updates, logs, and findings. And it goes not only for medical staff in the same facility. Actually, healthcare providers all across the globe can add information about the same patient.
Not only providers! Digital versions of patient records (including their entire EHR) can be accessed by patients from anywhere in the world at any time too. Thus, patients can be more involved in their treatment and be more informed about their conditions.
It’s already proven that such a way of cross-disciplinary data sharing has significantly improved patient satisfaction and provided a more seamless experience for both caretakers and patients.
Better Patient Education
From the above point, it’s also easy to see that health information technologies can increase the patient’s awareness. Actually, patient education now takes on a major role in healthcare, and medical specialists are vastly embracing technologies to engage their patients. According to the research conducted by Digital Health Coalition, more than 75% of surveyed physicians believe that leveraging patient education can improve the care experience. 95% of respondents also noted that they were increasingly using engagement tech tools to educate their patients. Hence, better medical adherence and self-awareness.
Greater Patient Care
The technologies can increase patient engagement by providing insights as well. Wearables like fitness bands, trackers, smartwatches, and other wirelessly-connected devices can monitor one’s blood pressure, pulse, sleep quality, and other stats to give patients and their healthcare providers access to personalized information. This way, specialists can keep track of a patient’s health more effectively and create/modify personalized treatment plans depending on the fluctuation of the metrics. This is especially relevant for seniors and patients living alone – doctors can be promptly alerted when any abnormality is detected to ensure timely care.
Enhanced Performance Analysis
HIT can also help improve medical personnel performance and healthcare efficiency. Patients can simply submit anonymous feedback about their level of care, providing administrators with an overview of their staff work. And governing bodies, in their turn, can use those performance metrics to analyze the effectiveness of particular facilities.
Reduction of Medical Errors
Unfortunately, medical errors are inevitable when it comes to human performance. According to the Johns Hopkins study, medical errors in US medical facilities are the third main cause of death and about 98,000 patients die annually due to medical errors in hospitals and institutions. Hopefully, the use of technology in healthcare can diminish medical errors and, thus, save more lives. For example, there are numerous platforms like the Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system that can provide physicians with patient-specific information that is rationally filtered, aiming to enhance decision-making. It also delivers evidence-based guidance; standards and protocols; rules and recommendations, etc. Different researches show that this system reduces total medication errors from 67% to 83%.
Reduction in Costs
Medical errors in US clinics alone cost approximately $20 billion a year. So, naturally, the reduction in medical errors diminishes costs for medical staff/facilities and patients alike. Not to mention, a digital EMR system significantly reduces the use of paper and, therefore, saves not only money but our planet as well. A win-win solution.
The world we live in is ever-changing and the healthcare system is no exception. Technology has indeed revolutionized the healthcare industry, and now it progresses with the ever-emerging tech trends. So, we need to progress with it to stay afloat.
We do hope you found this article informative and useful for your business. So what HIT systems are you going to choose? And how can we help you?
Our team of experienced specialists has already helped many companies to elevate their medical practices to the next level. At Solvve, we can offer high-quality HIT consulting that will help you identify your organization’s specific needs and provide the best solutions. Don’t hesitate to contact us.