Technology Solutions That Provide a Helping Hand for Healthcare
Healthcare organizations have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year. In addition to the ever-present tasks of juggling client needs, working within budget restrictions, keeping up with compliance regulations and handling staffing requirements, there have been the unique challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic — intake systems that have been overwhelmed, a sudden boom in telehealth, the increased cyber threats brought on by bad actors ready to take advantage of the chaos, and the need to remain compliant with HIPAA and other regulations.
Fortunately, technology has kept up with a rapidly changing world, and there are a variety of solutions designed to meet healthcare’s challenges.
What do some of those solutions look like?
Patient interaction and support are important components of what healthcare providers do, and the ability to update digital signage regularly makes it an extremely useful tool for those providers. For example, digital signage can keep families engaged and updated in public waiting areas with health and wellness tips and reminders as well as wait times. Interactive touchscreen maps are great for directional signage. In staff breakrooms and meeting rooms, it can be used to share information on policy updates and events, and it can even serve as a menu in the cafeteria.
A remote concierge is another important technical advancement in the age of masks and social distancing. Visitors can get live, personal interaction from staff members without risking exposure. In an age where we’ve become so accustomed to impersonal interactions, it’s a plus to have a life-size live interaction with a real human on a clear, 4K screen.
Telehealth services are another example of a rapid change that’s taken place due to the pandemic. As of July 2021, McKinsey found that telehealth utilization had stabilized at a level 38 times higher than before the pandemic after peaking even higher. With a single platform for voice, chat, video and utilization tools, unified communications can support seamless telehealth services, offering patients and staff convenience and protection.
Behind-the-scenes technology is just as important as the patient-facing variety. Copiers and printers, particularly multifunction printers (MFPs) that offer scan and fax capabilities, are still necessary in most healthcare environments, but with an added level of security essential for healthcare data. The MFP is far more than a printer — it’s a critical piece of technology in healthcare interoperability. Look for devices that offer integrations with major EHR software — Cerner, Epic, Meditech, and more — to eliminate manual processes and the inefficiencies that go along with it.
Of course, when it comes to patient information, security is absolutely essential. Multilayered security built into the MFP’s hardware will help protect confidential information and ensure compliance with HIPAA and other regulations. Some devices also have a failsafe setting that can be enacted if the machine is tampered with, erasing data from the device.
When the privacy of patient data is as critical as it is in healthcare, apps that control the release of prints to authorized users keep confidential documents in the right hands. As a bonus, these apps control costs as well by limiting unnecessary and accidental prints.
IT solutions, such as admin tools, services and support round out some of the offerings to look for in healthcare technology. Admin tools can help with device monitoring and configuration, driver distribution and user management, and reporting — all of which help save time and resources for already overburdened IT staff. The right technology partner can help to augment and manage IT initiatives, manage and monitor endpoints, and optimize security,
As healthcare continues to evolve, the technology to support it will also evolve. Trends like the IoT and wearable technology will offer improved quality of care, but also increase the need for secure IT practices. Today’s healthcare organizations need to ensure they put the right technology in place to help create secure, efficient quality of care. It’s not an easy task, but today’s technology is up for the challenge.