3 Benefits of Technology in Healthcare
From diagnostics to disease management, providers and patients are reaping the benefits of technology in healthcare. There’s no aspect of healthcare that hasn’t been impacted by technology. Electronic recordkeeping reduces many of the inefficiencies and errors of paper-based records. Innovative diagnostic tools allow providers to identify illnesses sooner than they would otherwise. Cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence accelerate drug discovery and assist with imaging analysis. Technology is ingrained in nearly every aspect of healthcare, lending to an increased need in innovation and management of all the different technologies in a providers tech stack.
Technology providers are seizing the opportunity to innovate in healthcare, spending more than $20 billion per year on research and development alone. And, adoption of new technologies is fueled by government agencies and industry organizations that recognize the importance of technology in healthcare. Not to mention, providers that embrace digital transformation are improving patient outcomes, reducing costs, and increasing their capabilities despite staffing challenges.
As providers continue to expand their uses of healthcare technologies, key benefits are realized across different sectors of healthcare. Below we dive into three of the top benefits of technology in healthcare, and what you can do to begin reaping the rewards of innovation for your patients.
1. Faster & More Accurate Access to Patient Records
One of the most widespread uses of technology in healthcare is the adoption of electronic health records (EHR). EHRs make patient health information instantly accessible to providers and patients by supporting automated workflows between people and technologies.
Patients don’t need to call the doctor’s office to learn their test results—they can simply review their EHR on the patient portal. Care teams can coordinate decision-making using the same up-to-date information. And administrative staff spend less time shuffling paperwork and making phone calls to exchange information. The challenge around EHRs is portability. Many technology providers are beginning to recognize this problem and offer EHR integrations that allow for easier adoption of new technologies.
2. Improved Access to Care
Healthcare access is one of the main barriers to quality care. Cost, distance, and physical limitations often prevent patients from receiving the care that they need, leading to delayed treatment. Disadvantaged populations are particularly affected, and providers can offer solutions that help them reap the benefits of technology in healthcare.
Telehealth, for example, has proven to reduce emergency room visits and lower costs for patients and providers. Portable diagnostic tools, such as handheld fundus cameras, make it possible for providers to treat patients in their communities, instead of having to travel to an office.
3. Better Diagnostics
Technology has improved diagnostics in every way—from accuracy, to speed, to accessibility. Diagnostic technology plays a key role in addressing one of the biggest issues in healthcare: chronic illness. Illnesses like heart disease and diabetes are prevalent in the U.S., but technology can help reduce their severity.
For example, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of preventable blindness among American adults, and it’s 90% preventable through proper diagnosis and treatment. Teleretinal imaging allows providers to capture retinal images and send them to board-certified eye care providers who review the images remotely. Because of its ease and convenience, teleretinal imaging increases diabetic retinal exam compliance and increases the likelihood of early detection. Learn more about diabetic teleretinal screening here.
How to Help Diabetic Patients Reap the Benefits of Technology in Healthcare
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the U.S., and many of its most severe outcomes are preventable. Providers of all kinds can access innovative technology to improve decision-making, increase access to care, and prevent serious illness for diabetic patients. Teleretinal imaging solutions like IRIS make it possible for general care providers to offer diabetic teleretinal screening exams to at-risk patients. Teleretinal imaging combines fundus photography with interpretation and a report from a licensed expert at the IRIS Reader Center.
About Fundus Cameras
Fundus cameras are a key technology component of a teleretinal solution, capturing a picture of the patient’s retina that is later interpreted for a potential eye disease. The process is very simple—the patient only needs to look into the lens and the camera does the rest. Many fundus cameras are easy to use, making it possible for general care providers to easily incorporate into their services. Providers can choose from a wide variety of cameras to suit their working environment, capabilities and patient population.
Some of the key specs to look for include in a fundus camera:
- Tabletop vs. handheld. A tabletop camera is placed on a medical instrument table, while a handheld camera is smaller and more portable. Tabletop cameras are best for ease of use, while handheld cameras can be used in a variety of settings.
- Minimum pupil size. An adult’s pupil can be as small as 2mm in diameter. Cameras with a lower minimum pupil size can be used on a wider range of people.
- Mydriatic vs. non-mydriatic imaging modality. Mydriatic imaging requires dilation of the pupils and is best suited for ophthalmology settings. Non-mydriatic imaging doesn’t require dilation and is easier to use for non-specialists.
While the fundus camera is a key component of teleretinal imaging, it’s not the only technology involved. With IRIS, the images from the fundus camera are uploaded to a cloud-based grading platform. IRIS’ image enhancement technology ensures reviewers see the highest possible quality images. A licensed network of eye care providers review the images remotely, and results are automatically added to the patient’s EHR via EHR integrations.
Unlock the Benefits of Technology in Healthcare
Offering sight-saving care is one of the most impactful ways for providers to use technology to improve patient outcomes. At IRIS, we help with every step of the process—from finding the ideal camera to training staff to use the technology, to full integration with your existing EHR. Whether you want to reach more patients with mobile clinics or increase your in-office capabilities, we’ll help you leverage the technology successfully.
Reach out to us today to learn what you can do to save your patients’ sight.
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