Improvements in healthcare information technology in the last decade have led to a fundamental shift in the way healthcare providers operate. The use of electronic health records is now widespread and healthcare professionals have access to immense amounts of data. While technology has improved clinical performance in many ways, patient engagement has certainly suffered a setback.
Today’s healthcare professionals are tied to technology. Whether documenting care at a computer terminal or looking up patient history on a tablet, clinicians are left with less time to engage directly with patients. In fact, data entry can take up to one-third of a clinician’s day.
Clinicians want to spend more time interacting with patients versus engaging with technology, and patients deserve it. By increasing the time spent working with and educating patients, clinicians can improve patient satisfaction, increase Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS®) survey scores, and provide a better overall patient experience.
The following are four technology trends that will impact patient engagement in 2014:
- Voice Enablement: Traditional voice recognition systems in the healthcare industry aren’t designed for mobile healthcare providers. Clinicians, nurses and therapists who are constantly on the move need speech recognition and audio output technologies optimized for their unique workflow. In 2014, mobile voice recognition systems will increase clinical efficiency and allow clinicians to document care in an intuitive manner, in real time, at the point of care. Technology that overlays voice capabilities on the EMR will give clinicians greater mobility and allow them to spend more time with patients at the bedside.
- Big Data Mobile Access: Now that clinicians have access to more data than ever before, they need a way to access the information easily and remotely. Clinicians should be able to access vital health information without being tied to a computer screen. Mobile EMR solutions can help bring big data to the bedside where clinicians can focus on making important decisions that impact the patient’s safety and satisfaction.
- BYOD: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are growing in popularity and will continue to do so in 2014. The ability to access records and data from any location on a mobile device gives clinicians more freedom and increased mobility. BYOD policies have been found to increase clinical efficiency, improve clinical productivity, and in turn increase patient engagement.
- Secure Texting: Secure texting solutions for healthcare organizations offer many benefits to clinicians and patients. Clinicians can feel confident sending health information with a secure solution, which leads to open communication between staff and patients. Patients will welcome the convenience of communicating with their healthcare providers via text message, and a secure solution will ensure patient information remains safe and private.
In summary, all members of the healthcare industry, from care providers and healthcare organizations to vendors and engineers, must work together in 2014 to make sure new technologies pay off for patients in the form of increased time with clinicians, higher patient satisfaction and a more collaborative healthcare experience.
Jim Rock has been the president of Vocollect Healthcare Systems, a division of Honeywell, Inc., since 2009. Rock leads the team that delivers voice-enabled, mobile technology solutions for the healthcare market, including VoiceFirst by Honeywell. Throughout his career, he has been at the forefront of highly complex product development and market launch efforts in extremely competitive business climates both domestically and internationally. Prior to Vocollect, Rock was CEO of Akustica, Inc., a semiconductor designer and manufacturer, where his team successfully competed against blue chip organizations in global technology markets. Prior to Akustica, Rock was an EVP and GM at Cambridge Technology Partners, a leading information technology company.
HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.