Each year sees an ongoing commitment to utilizing technology for healthcare professionals and patients. Bring your own device (BYOD), mobile apps, big data, telemedicine, vendor management software (VMS), and data security are some of the hot healthcare technology trends for 2014. Continuous improvement with these tech trends is critical to streamlining patient care and the flow of patient information throughout the healthcare system.
Here is what healthcare providers can look forward to as the year progresses:
Bring Your Own Device – We live in an increasingly wired world and the healthcare industry is no different. Many healthcare workers already bring their own devices to work so it makes sense for healthcare providers to capitalize on the phenomena. Using a multitude of devices within the workplace however, offers an additional burden for IT staff in the form of supporting infrastructure, security, and compliance.
Mobile Applications – Many medical apps are available to healthcare personnel as well as patients and the choices are growing rapidly. Medical professionals can quickly access electronic health records (EHR) to aid in clinical decision-making. Patients can actually use the apps to monitor their own health issues such as measuring heart rate or counting calories. Adherence apps will remind patients of their medication time through their smart phone. As health systems get more deeply involved in developing their own apps, the patient experience will improve and hospital efficiencies will increase.
Big Data – Having access to stored data allows healthcare professionals to gain important insight into accelerating patient care. Relevant medical data from Electronic Health Records (EHR) can be complemented by outside apps that capture the critical information needed to enhance efficiency. Patients can access their own information from devices at most any location. For medical professionals, tablets can be used in the consultation room and fed into the external terminals available in each department. With Electronic Health Record systems becoming more affordable, information is exchanged more easily and securely.
Telemedicine – Those that have difficulty getting to their medical facility can take advantage of inexpensive telemedicine technology. Patients can communicate with their healthcare professionals through video conferencing on mobile devices or laptops that are equipped with a webcam. Virtual care is becoming more popular with features that allow patients to self-monitor their vital signs and report their statistics without having to see a healthcare professional.
Vendor Management Software (VMS) – An ongoing workforce shortage combined with healthcare reform is making it difficult for medical providers to manage their medical staff efficiently. Vendor management software is ideal for healthcare providers looking to improve their recruitment and staffing management processes.
Data Security – The Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) oversees patient confidentiality but is still a work in progress. As IT increases its role in health administration, security through encryption protects personal health information. Advancements include secure portals for email, texts, file sharing and video-conferencing. Still, there is more work to be done to keep up with new innovations so that applications can run smoothly, securely, and without failure.
These trends will continue to advance throughout 2014 and beyond with the intention of creating a leaner healthcare experience for hospitals and patients alike.
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