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Three Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Healthcare IT Systems

January 23, 2019

Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) systems have remained under constant development since the spread of electricity and the release of the Internet. Information Technology remains an element of the industry that must, by necessity, continue to improve, grow, and adapt to survive in this technological world. In the healthcare industry, innovation and reliability are the core of success, so it follows that HIT systems must be up to speed at all times. But how can you tell that it’s time to upgrade the HIT system you currently have in place?

Healthcare Trends

Communication Factor

Communication is the most critical element one can have in any industry, but the need for smooth channels is even more exaggerated in the healthcare field than outside it. Emergency situations demand the ability to communicate directly with the correct party to resolve the issue before the worst occurs (and in the world of healthcare, it’s often literally a matter of life or death). If your current system demands patients call a variety of confusing numbers in an attempt to find the correct person to speak with, and then subsequently require their call to be transferred no less than three times, it may be time for an upgrade. Further, if the receiver of the call doesn’t have quick and easy access to the patient’s information on file, it can cause frustration as they must ask the patient a series of mundane but necessary details from age to history of ailments, wasting the valuable time of the medical representative on the phone as well as the patient.

The implementation of EHRs (Electronic Health Records) has been revolutionary for the healthcare industry, yet even those may be due for an upgrade. Another sign it’s time to reevaluate comes if your EHRs are bloated with information, making it difficult or even impossible to find necessary information without sorting through pages of unnecessary notes. New systems are coming into place which should cut down on accidental information bloat in EHRs and prove incredibly useful for any healthcare professionals that need to take a quick glance over a patient’s file. Finally, if interoffice communication is continually interrupted by static, dropped calls, or difficult routes through which to take information, it may be worthwhile to look at the hospital’s electronic connectivity network systems themselves to see if more bandwidth or possibly even brand new networks are necessary.

System Failures/Lags

On the note of hospital connectivity networks, if a hospital or other healthcare center has added new staff members, equipment, and communication devices without expanding the root network itself, it runs the serious risk of temporary outages or lapses. Unfortunately, in healthcare centers, even the most temporary electronic lag can mean certain death to patients who rely on electronic machines to keep them alive. If your healthcare center has experienced even one delay or power outage in the past, no matter how brief, it is one time too many. We recommend checking on your existing electronic infrastructure regularly with an HIT consultant to ensure that the current systems are up to date and there is no chance of a lapse. Better to be proactive in finding solutions than attempting to catch up later, once massive damage is done.

Competitors/Consumerism

In 2019, it’s expected that consumerism will continue to invade the healthcare industry making it essential for each healthcare center or industry operator to remain as up to date as possible to compete with the others in their field. This begins with the consumer, the patient, who is trying to obtain necessary services for their health and wellbeing. If the patient has trouble communicating their needs to the healthcare center through means mentioned above, or if they experience significant frustration with your current communication systems, they will most certainly be tempted to visit a different healthcare center that may have faster or more efficient systems in place to deal with client communications.

If a patient or a patient’s family know that they must rely on perfectly-functioning electronic hospital equipment and systems to keep their loved one alive, they will undoubtedly research which healthcare center can provide them with the most reliable network available. If yours has a history of lags or high traffic across systems that slow things down, it’s highly likely they will look elsewhere. In the end, it always pays to be prepared and always costs to fall behind the times and operate with faulty systems.