Much of the innovation surrounding healthcare markets over the past few years has been legislative innovation–rather than technological or business advances–as the precepts of the Affordable Care Act have gradually come into effect in the United States. However, this doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any activity with regard to using technology to better deliver healthcare services in peoples’ everyday lives. The reality is quite the opposite: there are a number of areas where the business of healthcare has been exploring new ways to employ technology to help healthcare providers be more efficient and, overall, more effective.
One of the most popular trends in the business world today, “big data” involves collating and analyzing data on a massive scale to better understand peoples’ preferences and decision-making processes. The potential to be had by harnessing big data has not be lost on the healthcare industry. For example, VitalSpring Technologies has been working to improve both the cost and quality of the provision of healthcare services. Essentially, VitalSpring uses a cloud-based analytic tool that will allow its users to find ways to both lower healthcare costs and improve the quality of healthcare services. This might involve using data analysis to find the best options of coverage for employees moving forward, or to find areas requiring targeted care to address an acute health risk. Data to support these kinds of decisions doesn’t just help the health of a group of employees; it is also good for the bottom line.
It is absolutely essential that patients coming in for a doctor’s appointment or surgical procedure are accompanied by their medical records. However, a constant gripe about the current system is that healthcare records are poorly maintained or difficult to locate. Luckily, there have been greater advances in the world of electronic medical records for healthcare providers to use. Rather than digging through a file folder, a healthcare provider can pull up this electronic medical record instantly. The record moves seamlessly from office to office, allowing doctors to have the most up-to-date records of their patients instantly. Such technology allows for greater efficiency by healthcare providers and more accurate diagnoses.
It is hard to say exactly how else the business of providing healthcare might change in the coming years, but it is clear that there will be a continuing reliance on technological advances to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and provide quality service to patients. For instance, there is the opportunity with the greater accessibility of teleconferencing technology to do occasional virtual visits. While this will not totally replace the importance of in-person visits, it does allow for the occasional check-in to be accomplished online, thus saving a trip to the office.
Additionally – complementing the efficiency gained through the move to electronic medical records – placing medical records online through a cloud-based platform could also make them more accessible to patients. By bringing patients into the process and ensuring that they have a firm knowledge of both their medical history and potential future medical risks, the chance of errors in communication or poor prescriptions should decrease. These innovative uses of technology should serve to make the business of healthcare provision more efficient and effective.