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When you think about the healthcare system in the US, you don’t necessarily spare much time for thinking about the software that’s behind it. But without this software, the whole network of healthcare providers simply wouldn’t function. The way that data is stored, processed and accessed, allows the healthcare network to operate, ensuring everything from small local clinics to large hospitals run smoothly.
However, making sure that this remains the case involves keeping up to date with the latest different types of medical software. In order to ensure that the hospital or clinic is working in the best interests of the patients who use it, administrators need to make sure internal processes are using the best possible software. These decisions can have a big impact on the way that healthcare is offered across the UK.
Choosing the right electronic medical records software to use for your institution is perhaps the single biggest decision you can make, so it’s important that you get it right. But with much of the software available appearing to be very similar in nature, this is not always a clear-cut decision.
First, it’s worth taking a closer look at exactly what health technology is and what it can offer your organisation.
What is Health Technology?
Health information technology, also known as HIT, is an application in true technological sense thriving in the health industry. It refers to the electronic systems that are used to store, share and access any relevant information. With so many patients and staff to deal with, there is a need for comprehensive management of this data.
The way the data is shared between the practitioners, patients and other relevant bodies is also a key consideration.
HIT has been shown to have a significantly more positive effect on the quality and effectiveness of healthcare. It promotes public health in a general sense while ensuring that diagnoses are more accurate. It also helps keep costs down and reduce the frequency of errors.
Apart from improving the quality of care and keeping costs down, HIT can also help to reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with data processing. Reducing the daily admin workload by automating tasks such as prescriptions, information sharing and paperwork can free up time that could be better spent elsewhere in the practice.
The Different Categories of HIT
The two main types of HIT are medical practice management and EHR/EMR. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
Medical Practice Management
The medical practice management software helps you with every aspect of clinical practice management. It centralises the way you operate, allowing you to do things in a more efficient way. This means it is more suited to clerical work, managing practice workflows but not the actual patient data.
The main users of this kind of software will be the practice admin staff, such as front desk workers and those in other admin roles. It can help to generate reports or handle other admin tasks such as paying bills.
Electronic health records, known as EHR, and electronic medical records software, known as EMR, deal with the storage of patients’ medical details and data. In the past this all had to be done by hand, which was both time- and space-consuming and led to inevitable filing errors and mix ups.
New software means there is no need to fill anything out by hand. This eliminates the time-consuming manual work and means information can be shared rather than simply stored in one place. Different facilities can share and update patient records. This means that care can be more consistent and less time is spent trying to get up to speed or locating physical records, which may have been damaged or misplaced.
While there are some differences between EHR and EMR, they essentially perform the same function. Advice is also readily available about which might be more suitable for you.
There are several other key software features that have become standard for medical establishments. One is the patient portal, where users can access and view their own information. They can check medical records, see appointment times and even schedule appointments. This can be done from the comfort of their own home rather than having to call the already busy surgery.
Patient scheduling allows patients to make appointments with the right healthcare professional, matching up with the relevant time and clinic. There are also potential benefits for billing and payments, as well as handling insurance.
Professionals can also use certain software for e-prescriptions, allowing these to be filed and sent with just a few clicks of the mouse.
The system allows for remote patient monitoring, which can help reduce costs, especially when related to patients with chronic conditions needing constant care. It can help to monitor conditions such as blood pressure, with data being used to prevent any serious incidents.
These developments in technology have been quietly revolutionising the way that healthcare establishments operate. By offering a better standard of care for less, and with constraints on time, it makes sense to make the change.
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