The healthcare industry is one of the most regulated industries globally, and with good reason: its purpose is to keep us healthy. As such, it requires a tightly controlled structure so that we receive only the best possible care when we need it most. As such, many challenges exist in today’s healthcare industry that either technology or legislation must resolve before they can truly evolve into something better than what exists today.
Let’s look at some of the most pressing challenges within the industry and what might be done to meet them:
Foundation for Technology
One of the reasons today’s healthcare industry is so slow-moving compared to other sectors is that it does not have a foundation for technology. Because regulations require that every patient have their own records, this has created a vast number of individual databases that do not communicate with one another in any real way. In fact, many small practices may even have their own server where they keep an electronic record for each patient, which means that even information from different doctors cannot be linked together. Any time a software system or product is being used to create, store or maintain these records, it must support all standards set by the government. That is a lot of time evaluating products, testing them thoroughly, and ensuring they work as intended.
One way that healthcare companies are attempting to meet this challenge is through the use of cloud computing. Cloud computing is a more efficient means for storing digital information because it uses shared data centers instead of expensive individual servers. This allows all electronic medical records to be linked together accurately and securely without going through the trouble of manually transferring files from device to device or maintaining an entire fleet of servers. Some even believe that doctors will soon rely on smartphones or tablet computers to access these records rather than their desktop computers at the office because there won’t be any reason to consider how much faster, cheaper, and easier it is.
Another challenge that the healthcare industry faces is that of cybersecurity. Because so much sensitive medical information is stored digitally and it becomes easier for hackers to steal this data, many fear how vulnerable their health care records are. Keeping this information safe and private so you can ensure your complete privacy and prevent others from interfering with any medical treatment you may be receiving. With recent high-profile cases such as Anthem, which saw 80 million customers’ private information become compromised, healthcare providers are facing public scrutiny over the way they handle security measures. As a result, many companies have invested in new solutions that will help them combat future cyberattacks. By investing in identity access management solutions, these companies were able to essentially shut down the attack by ensuring that no one could access sensitive data without first authenticating their identities. By creating a more controlled environment, healthcare companies can better ensure the safety of individual records and prevent future attacks from occurring.
Supply Chain Management
Another central area of concern for medical companies is their supply chain. By relying on individual warehouses or trucking companies to pick up shipments, hospitals lose track of how their products are shipped and where they are coming from. As a result, health care providers cannot keep tabs on whether the objects needed are damaged during shipment or even lost entirely. However, one new solution that has emerged that will help manage this entire process is better technology. Wholesale/retail medical suppliers now create an online solution that keeps track of all items as they move throughout the shipping process so anyone can view its location at any given time.
Medical Treatment Errors
Another major issue within today’s industry is how often medical treatment errors occur. While the exact numbers vary between studies, some suggest that as many as 400,000 deaths or more each year come from a medical error. While little can be done to eliminate human error from any industry, technology is being implemented to minimize it. One way this issue has been addressed in recent years is through the health’s cloud-based analytics system. Software systems such as this help doctors better identify potential risk factors to decide how to treat them. By minimizing mistakes, healthcare companies can provide a better quality of care for their patients and reduce the number of errors they make.
Another major issue that continues to plague this industry is that of providing adequate customer service. Because most customers are not medically trained, they cannot understand the complexities of hospitals or doctor’s offices, so this often leads to complaints when something goes wrong. However, by investing in help desk software or office management solutions, medical companies can better manage how they receive and handle new patient requests while improving overall customer satisfaction. This is crucial because 75% of new patients will abandon some aspect of their treatment if their hospital provides terrible service, so making sure that both physicians and patients are satisfied is critical.
The 4th Industrial Revolution
With these challenges in mind, it is clear that healthcare businesses need a better way to store their data and a more efficient way for them to distribute it. By investing in identity management software, hospitals will be able to protect their records better while minimizing the opportunities that hackers have to take advantage of cyber security vulnerabilities. In addition, companies can use technology such as help desk software or cloud-based analytics systems to reduce medical errors and improve customer service while enhancing their overall quality of care.
Finally, large organizations such as health care providers need to be able to keep track of every object they use to quickly address problems before they occur and ensure patient safety at all times.
More Affordable Healthcare
As you can see from this article, healthcare companies use a variety of technology today to help them improve efficiency and reduce errors. When it comes to the future of how information is stored and accessed, those within the healthcare industry face several challenges. However, by implementing IT solutions such as a cloud-based analytics system or new identity access management software, hospitals and other medical care facilities can better combat some of these issues and improve their overall service for physicians and patients alike. It may even help reduce costs which will make healthcare more affordable for everyone.