There’s no denying that we’re experiencing a renewed interest in technology, thanks in part to the digital revolution. Today, businesses of every sector are making use of new innovations to help them function more efficiently and compete in a global marketplace. The healthcare industry is also making use of these new products and services, though not for the same reasons. Taking a look at what information systems (IS) and information technology (IT) can do for the medical community can provide a better understanding of why hospitals, clinics, and even private practices are in need of highly trained tech professionals.
Making Use of IT in Healthcare
Information technology refers to a broad range of services, which involve the use of computer hardware, software, and services. Certainly, this involves internet connectivity, but that’s just one aspect covered under this umbrella service. As artificial intelligence evolves and cloud technology improves, the field of IT in the healthcare system is requiring a greater number of tech professionals with specialties in specific areas. Hospitals and private practices are making use of new gadgets, collectively referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as systems that collect and interpret data.
One way that IT is being applied to patient care is through the increased use of wearables, which are gadgets that can monitor an individual’s body functions. Heart rate, pulse, respiration, and even blood sugar levels can all be monitored by wearable devices, as the individual goes about his or her daily activities. IT specialists are responsible for ensuring these devices are operating properly and that the information is made available to the individual’s physician.
In addition to ensuring devices are operating properly, IT professionals are also responsible for maintaining systems that collect and analyze the data. The use of data analytics throughout the healthcare industry requires teams of technicians with specialized experience. This leads to the need for IS specialists, which is quickly becoming a growing career field of its own.
Information Systems in Healthcare
Hospitals, clinics, and private doctor’s offices are making use of information systems to collect useful data in a number of ways. As data is amassed, unique software applications make it possible to arrange and analyze the information in a number of useful ways. In some cases, combining the system with AI technology makes it possible to refill prescriptions, maintain an inventory of supplies and equipment, and provide more exact patient diagnoses.
One of the most efficient uses of IS is in the EHR, or electronic Health Record system. The EHR collects data from specialized departments, such as data provided by a radiology information system, to create a complete patient profile. This enables physicians to determine which drugs may cause adverse interactions, as well as providing a more complete picture upon which to base a diagnosis.
Additionally, many hospitals have implemented patient portals, which allow patients to take a more active role in their care. This type of system gives patients the opportunity to learn about their conditions and to communicate with their caregivers. Together with the EHR, a patient portal provides an opportunity for improved care for each individual.
Adding Technology to the Infrastructure
Even introducing new systems to a facility takes time, professional guidance, and a planned procedure for implementation. Before the new hardware arrives, managers must prepare the physical infrastructure and the staff for the coming changes. This will require everyone’s cooperation, which will be easier to muster, when every individual knows what to expect.
Once everyone has been apprised of the coming changes, it will be necessary to provide training to each individual. Expecting them to simply adapt to new technology can only lead to disaster, so IS professionals will be of benefit, even before the new system arrives. They can arrange training sessions designed to prepare employees to use the new technology.
Throughout the early training phase and even after the system has been implemented, your IT and IS teams should help evaluate the progress of each individual. Professionals already familiar with the systems will be best qualified to determine which employees are adapting well. Similarly, they’ll also be able to identify which individuals are falling behind and will be able to provide those staff members with additional training.
The implementation of technology and information analysis systems require professionals available to resolve problems, glitches, and new challenges. While this may represent a larger investment on behalf of healthcare facilities, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to operate without these systems in place. They improve patient care and allow large facilities to operate more efficiently.