Hospitals Go Paperless – Moving into the Future with Technology

We’ve seen technology revolutionise an array of industries. Right when we get comfortable with one technology, there’s another around the corner helping our competitors stay ahead. The medical industry is not immune to this cycle,…

We’ve seen technology revolutionise an array of industries. Right when we get comfortable with one technology, there’s another around the corner helping our competitors stay ahead. The medical industry is not immune to this cycle, whether they are early adaptors or the last to embrace a trend.

Technology can be used in medicine to improve data management and, in turn, patient care. With a younger generation of medical practitioners, nursing staff and records managers using technology, the medical industry is undergoing a transformation that will see a strong push towards paperless records.

Health Care Security Risks

While there are plenty of positive benefits likely to bring about significant enhancements of the medical industry and most importantly care for patients, the downside is the potential risk of databases being hacked… resulting in data loss or misuse.

Not surprisingly medical data is 10 times more valuable on the black market than financial information. Why?  Because it provides a host of opportunities for illegal operations including insurance fraud, blackmailing, accessing prescription drugs and overseas intelligence or terrorist organisations.

According to the KPMG Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey, 81% of American healthcare executives claim that their organisations have been compromised by at least one malware, botnet or other cyber-attack during the past two years.  Of those 231 executives surveyed in the US, over half felt that they are inadequately prepared to prevent an attack. The rise of medical cyber-attacks is quite disturbing, many presenting with a high cost.

In Australia, the threat is equally real with an alarming number of security breaches of government departments.  Western Australia’s Auditor General, Colin Murphy, found at least two examples where State Government databases could easily be hackedIn one case, medical records were accessed through inadequate password protection. In the second instance, “back doors” were created to access data later.

Protect Confidential Data

These occurrences highlight why individuals and organisations need to remain vigilant and maintain adequate security measures to safeguard consumer data and privacy.

Thanks to governing bodies, cyber protection progress has been made with legislation such as the Privacy Act and Health Records Act. It boosts patient confidence to learn that medical centres and hospitals are now taking a proactive approach with preventative measures.

We can feel confident that hospitals and medical centres are heading in the right direction when it comes to patient privacy and data security. Keep in mind that twenty years ago, there were virtually no standards for hospital information security… and at a time when records were primarily physical. With electronic health records on the rise and computerised physician data entry, the workforce has become better organised, more efficient and agile.

Innovation & Improving Efficiency

The healthcare industry is fast embracing digital technology to improve service delivery and patient experiences. Especially as the population ages, increasing pressure is being placed on healthcare providers to deliver services 24/7. Many health professionals face a constant battle to meet the demand for their services due to a lack of time and resources.

Patient care is a healthcare professional’s primary responsibility. The key to the quality of this care is time. But with diagnosis and prescription comes paperwork. It’s not unusual for healthcare professionals to spend one to two hours every day simply filling out reports and forms for each patient. For practitioners with chronically heavy workloads, this is a very costly use of time. Worse, it can easily result in other patients having to wait longer than necessary before they can be seen.

Managing Big Data

The solution is simple. Technology can provide medical centres revolutionary administrative efficiencies, cost and time savings.

Implement Digital Workflow Solutions

Any predictable process, such as sending results for review or filling out forms, can be streamlined with secure workflow software.

Most of the information requested on any form already exists in a practice’s administration software. Several forms might be required for any one patient and might even require the same data to be entered multiple times.

Greater automation of workflow processes in medical records management means less energy spent on paper recording, filing and retrieving documents.  In addition to time savings through easy access, all medical practitioners gain improved information accuracy.

Turn Physical into Digital

Digitise all patient files and documents to reduce the cost and space that on-site storage creates. Digitisation can include scanning, OCR, quality assurance and proper organisation.

Store Physical Records Off Site

Increase security and the level of protection for patient records. TIMG medical records storage comes with an online medical file culling tool to view and manage your complete file inventory.

TIMG’s tailored solutions enable healthcare professionals to devote more time to caring for their patients and less to completing administrative forms and managing data. Contact our Information Management experts today for a free consultation.