The Growing Digital Health Technology and Solutions Industry
The rapidly evolving world of digital technologies and their related medical applications have created an entirely new realm of healthcare management solutions. As a result, there are now numerous applications for digital technologies that can help reduce costs, enhance patient care, increase access and improve outcomes. The field of digital technologies and related medical applications has grown so quickly because of the many advantages they offer to physicians and other health care professionals. In fact, many of these digital technologies can be used in conjunction with one another to create even more comprehensive and effective health care management solutions.
There are two main categories of digital health technologies. These are the in-patient electronic health records (EHR), and out-patient EMRs, also known as Electronic Medical Record Systems (EMR). Within these two major categories there are many applications and sub-applications that provide physicians and other health professionals with the information needed to improve patient care, while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing functionality.
The most common application of digital technologies and related solutions is the EMR and EHR
The purpose of this type of software and hardware is to convert a physician’s digital imaging and clinical data into a secure, synchronized electronic medical record. This medical information can then be used to create a standard or customized health information portal that allows doctors to access their digital health data and make informed decisions about patient care. EMR and EHR software also often feature other capabilities, such as online access to patient health history charts, access to patient’s medical information charts, ordering of laboratory tests and information from remote hospitals.
These same digital technologies can also be leveraged for creating an electronic medical care workflow, or ECHW, that allows providers to efficiently manage and utilize the collective medical data of a medical practice or hospital. Creating this efficient medical workflow requires a detailed action plan involving all of the involved parties, such as a physician, lab, hospital, etc. It will require thorough discussions and agreement on how best to implement the new digital technologies and solutions.
Although many are intimidated at the prospect of starting an electronic medical record-keeping system, it is possible with some careful planning and implementation. It is also important to develop an action plan that details how the new digital health technology and software will be integrated with existing systems and how the new solutions will work with current patient records. This plan should detail what systems will be upgraded and what systems will be maintained. A well-researched action plan will also allow time for feedback between management and employees as they become familiar with the new digital technologies and solutions. The implementation process may take several months, depending on the complexity and the depth of the work required. A well-researched action plan allows the new digital technologies and software to be implemented correctly.
Another important element of a well-implemented plan is to test the new software and hardware during the testing phase. There are several companies, such as Electronic Medical Record Inc., that offer software and hardware solutions for this purpose. These companies provide training and support to healthcare administrators and physicians on the installation and integration of the software. When hardware is integrated with the software, it must be tested and certified to ensure that it meets the standards required by HIPAA. Testing can identify any functional issues that need to be corrected before software is released for use. Software testing requires training and certification to match the specifications of the software to the requirements of the healthcare industry.
There is a need for training in the area of electronic medical records and information systems in the healthcare industry
There are many organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) that offer training and certification in this area. Certified personnel can provide medical information to doctors and other health care providers on computerized systems that can be integrated with patient records. Healthcare organizations should evaluate the training and certification programs offered by these associations annually to determine if continuing education is necessary to stay compliant with healthcare guidelines. Continuing education helps healthcare professionals keep up with changes in the regulations and standards that are enforced in the industry.
There are other digital technologies that are being implemented into the industry. Some of these include application-specific accessories that are designed to improve workflow, including electronic patient records. Some devices also allow doctors to perform preventive care, such as cholesterol and blood pressure monitors. Newer generations of digital health equipment and solutions are expected to support these and other emerging needs in the field of healthcare management.