In simple words, technology is the implementation of scientific knowledge to yield practical outcomes. Often it is used to alter, control, or manipulate the human environment. The chief intent of technology is to enhance the quality of living. Despite the step by step authorization of technology in the healthcare sector, not all of it is yet used to reduce healthcare costs and reach good margins as technology is not enforced to its maximum potential.
Even though our expectation of life has improved over the last centuries, our comparatively inactive lifestyle has led to the rise of chronic diseases like arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, COPD, mental health disorders and many more. These diseases, being long-term and degenerative, add budgetary difficulties on both the patient and the healthcare system.
In the United States alone, $3.8 trillion or $11,582 per person is spent on the healthcare departments each year. The accepted technologies that are already used by the healthcare system have uplifted the operational efficiency of the hospitals. With more smart technologies, the healthcare sector can cut expenses to a greater extent. With the increase in workforce fees, demographic transition, undetermined regulatory climate, it is time for the healthcare sector to bring forth the application of smart technology to decrease healthcare costs without compromising the quality of care.
Here are six reasons why technology should be used to bring down clinical burdens:
In any firm, be it healthcare, the workforce accounts for a huge section of the operating expenses. Staffing issues have always been expensive and necessary. Staff are either expected to work overtime or new employees are hired to resist the unanticipated patient magnitude to fill the gaps of shift coverage. A hospital cannot run without its staff, but with smart and efficient staffing strategies, the cost of employing staff members can be reduced.
Smart scheduling applications can be used to schedule new meetings and appointments of the patients. The work shift of the staff members can also be scheduled by merging the past shifts, current patient volumes, the expertise of the existing staff and workforce requirements. These smart applications can carry out analysis to predict the number of incoming patients that might arrive shortly, and give out solutions based on the number of beds, rooms and equipment status. In addition to that, this one option is significantly less costly than hiring employees to carry out the same operations in a more time consuming and prone to errors method.
Technology can not only restrain healthcare expenses but also leave positive impacts on the patients as well.
Doctors spend a large amount of time, up to one-third of their time, in administrative work instead of treating their patients. This administrative work includes inputting a patient’s notes into the Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The patient’s clinical history, tests, medications and more are all typed manually by the doctors themselves. There are no separate employees to carry out this process. This leads to physician burnout.
But with the help of Artificial Intelligence and smart software, technology can take care of administrative responsibilities. For example, instead of manually entering the test results of a patient, the software can automatically import and save the results. This also saves a lot of time that is consumed by the process of filling out forms every time a patient visits the hospital. Once the information of any patient is entered into the software, it will save to be used and renewed for the next time. Simple administrative tasks like appointment booking, meeting scheduling and setting reminders can be digitized with the help of technology.
Automating the administrative responsibilities can lessen the burden carried by the physicians and staff, demolish physician burnout, save a lot of paperwork and allow doctors to spend more time towards the treatment of their patients.
Placing orders for new supplies can be a hectic job. Not only is a professional supposed to order the new supplies but also is supposed to keep track of the existing supplies. Tracking the inventory, checking for expired products, changing brands etc are all the responsibilities o a single employee. And with so many responsibilities to carry out, the cost of employing the professional is also high.
Data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to reduce stress. Automated ordering software can be used to place orders at the right time, i.e. only when the product is required. Not placing orders only when needed or ordering too many products can lead to huge losses. Radiofrequency tags can be used by healthcare professionals to track expensive types of equipment throughout their entire lifetime and also point out befitting to order replacements. Modern technological solutions like smart cabinets and barcode scans can be used to reduce the wastage of expired or recalled products.
Healthcare providers need to meet new patients in the easiest way possible. People these days spend a lot of time being online. Digital marketing can enable targeted ads to be shown to the people searching for a particular disease, problem, condition or within a particular speciality. Since it has become easier to reach people online, targeted digital marketing can cost less per new patient compared to the traditional method of marketing.
Targeted digital marketing is a must marketing strategy, as it will help the organization to invest in their marketing budget as effectively as possible.
Any patient with more than one disease will need to visit more than one doctor. All doctors must be able to share their patient’s data in a simplified manner. With smart software, a physician can share all the tests results and conditions of a patient with the other doctors. It can also give access to the tracks of a patient’s health records and archive a patient’s history. This will make the collaboration between the doctors of the same patients much easier.
It has become to keep track of one’s health by themselves with the help of healthcare wearables and their connected apps. One can easily see their pulse rate, sugar level, blood pressure and much more without having to visit a physician now and then.
Also with the help of telemedicine, not every patient is required to be admitted to the hospital. Doctor and patient interaction can be held out easily with the video calling applications. This does not only help the patient to save money but also eliminate hospital room expenses.
This epidemic of diseases requires stopping and regular evaluation that will bring changes on a huge scale. Research-based technological solutions are needed to treat these diseases efficiently and at a low cost. Organizations that are looking for a thriving workforce at a minimized healthcare cost should consider digitized therapeutics as a major part of the solution.