[This article was written by Samantha Higgins.]
Successful industries are also moving towards greater efficiency and increased productivity. Healthcare is no exception.
Automation refers broadly to the transition from tasks that require human direction or intervention to complete to ones that are fully governed and executed by machines, freeing the human involved as a required component of the process. As the Baby Boomer generation becomes more elderly, the need for automation in the healthcare field to improve will become even more of a necessity.
A healthcare practice benefits in several important ways from automating administrative and medical practices, including more time to focus on patient care and less administrative overhead.
Here a few of the most significant advantages that automation affords to medical providers.
Administrative costs account for 34%, more than a third, of all healthcare costs. When added up, that amounts to billions of dollars annually on expenses that good software can reduce substantially. Americans spend per capita much more than any other country on the administration of healthcare. However, technology holds promise for drastically reducing this unnecessary financial burden by using software that stores and recalls data independently, freeing up staff for other concerns.
The tasks that healthcare software can take out of the hands of administrative staff include insurance coding, scheduling patients, lab work paperwork, transfers or referrals to and from other clinics, transcribing medical information, and more. Healthcare automation results in cost savings for both providers and patients.
Increased Patient Time
In addition to the financial savings of automation, it affords benefits in terms of quality of care as well. Scientific studies have looked into the burden that administrative tasks place on providers. The startling results indicate that doctors spend up to 1/6 of their work time doing administrative tasks like complying with the heavy regulations regarding medical records. Many software programs alleviate that burden by automating the process. The result is that doctors, who overwhelmingly respond in polls that they would like more face time with patients to focus on well-being, now have more availability for delivering healthcare directly to patients.
Many apps like Aida focus on electronic health record optimization or HER optimization. This type of software manages the flow of work through a clinic for smoother, more efficient operations of staff and less conflict regarding the proper order of events. In addition to the boost to efficiency, these apps also reduce the number of potentially deadly accidents by staff in healthcare delivery.
An important thing to remember about automated care is not that it cuts into the doctor’s personal relationship to the patient, but rather that it facilitates more and better interaction by increasing contact time.
Easier Data Access
The reason that such heavy record-keeping requirements, as annoying as they can be for an overtaxed staff, is that accurate information delivered in a timely manner is essential for good practice. The stakes in the medical field are high; one small error could mean the difference between a patient living or dying. Crucial bits of data like the patient’s allergic history must be accessed quickly and easily. Software exists currently that stores, sorts, and recalls data quickly.
The future for what software can do to streamline and improve care for patients is bright. Recent innovations like the successful remote surgery by Chinese doctors that succeeded despite the separation of patient and doctor by hundreds of miles show glimpses of what the future of healthcare software might hold. 5G, or fifth-generation internet, has greatly expanded what is possible in the medical field. We will witness even great applications of technology to healthcare moving forward.
Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.