By PowerBuy // 7 February 2017 // Related Categories: Article Content

What will a “wired” hospital be in 2017?

Despite the fact that healthcare is a people business, technology today underlies just about every aspect of care delivery. Even patient-to-provider interactions are now documented via tablets or mobile devices used at the bedside and other points of care. As we move closer to 2017, it’s important to step back and assess how wired your hospital is.

Technology drives care delivery

Technology has had an enormous impact on healthcare over the past several years. It has driven:

  • More accessible treatment through online interactions via portals and email and telehealth
  • The capture of real-time patient data through hand-held devices and tablets
  • The use of big data to identify at-risk patients and treatment trends
  • Efficiencies in administrative tasks, such as billing
  • The use of electronic medical records (EMRs) to collect and analyse patient information across treatment settings

These impacts have not been painless, and they’re not likely to become less so in 2017. Many hospitals struggle to stay on top of trends and ensure the efficient and effective use of technology. Increasingly, though, hospitals are stepping up to the plate. The level of data integrity, reliability, and security that drives recognition as among the most wired requires a strong infrastructure with hardware configurations that power 24/7/365 operations.

What will set the most wired apart?

In 2017, there are primarily four key areas that healthcare organisations must be focused on to ensure the most effective and efficient use of technology:

  • Infrastructure—the computers, services, and other devices that capture and store information
  • Business and administrative management—the processing of data
  • Clinical quality and safety (inpatient/outpatient hospital)—the machines and equipment used in the delivery of care
  • Clinical integration (ambulatory/physician/patient/community)—the methods by which information is readily shared across care settings, often referred to as interoperability

Well-wired hospitals must focus on all these areas. They must carefully and effectively balance the mix of people, processes, and tools to deliver the necessary results to drive quality care in all settings.

2017 goals

The most wired hospitals tend to be at the cutting edge—some might even say bleeding edge—of technology implementation. In 2017, these will be the hospitals that are:

  • Providing real-time, patient-specific hospital costs and risk data in patient EHRs
  • Offering online price transparency tools to give consumers accurate pricing, quality, safety, and patient satisfaction data to help them make decisions
  • Using clinically integrated tools to help patients manage chronic disease in their homes and other settings
  • Exploring ways that innovations like artificial intelligence and virtual reality can be used in data management and the training and education of providers and patients
  • Staying on top of trends by attending industry conferences, reading trade journals, and networking with colleagues within and outside of healthcare

Many hospitals are already well on their way to strategically leveraging technology to achieve better business and patient outcome results.

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