It’s difficult enough to survive in the competitive healthcare marketplace, but if your hospital doesn’t use the most cutting-edge practices and the latest healthcare technology, it can be especially challenging.
A hospital’s willingness to embrace innovation influences not only the decision of a patient seeking care but also the decision of a physician pursuing a new position. Using technologically advanced clinical processes and medical devices are an effective way to improve the patient experience, attract high-caliber staff and ensure compliance with regulations.
Here are three healthcare technologies that can help your hospital thrive.
1. Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records (EHR) support sharing of patient data, test results and other information between healthcare providers and across departments. Today, it’s nearly impossible to run a hospital efficiently without an EHR system. EHRs allow a patient’s entire care team to have a complete picture of his or her treatment plan, ensuring the patient receives appropriate and consistent care during every step of his or her hospital stay.
Easy-to-use EHR platforms also can be a selling point when recruiting new staff members. Because nurses and physicians use EHRs every day, they expect a hospital to have an EHR system that has a good balance between user-friendliness and innovation. Additionally, not only can EHRs reduce the time providers spend charting and improve consistency across medical records, but they also can increase reimbursement through Medicare and Medicaid.
Medical robots have been used by clinicians (particularly surgeons) for over a decade. One of the best-known examples of this technology is the da Vinci Surgical System, which enables surgeons to perform surgeries via small incisions, rather than having to make larger openings in the tissue. Because the system’s robotic arm can reach spaces too small for a surgeon’s hands, it’s possible to perform more operations laparoscopically, thereby making procedures minimally invasive.
In addition to surgical robots, the healthcare industry recently has seen many other impressive new healthcare technologies, such as:
- Exoskeletons, which help paralyzed patients walk
- Disinfection robots, which use ultraviolet light to quickly clean surfaces
- Nanobots, which, when developed, can be injected or swallowed to remove foreign objects
A handful of hospitals in Canada have also been using a walking, talking MEDi robot (Medicine and Engineering Designing Intelligence) to help ease anxiety in pediatric patients.
3. Diagnostic Technologies
Time is of the essence in treating many serious diseases, and sometimes traditional diagnostic equipment can miss symptoms if they fall below the measurement threshold.
Wearable medical devices are becoming an increasingly popular way to diagnose chronic health conditions, such as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Wearables can provide nurses and physicians with comprehensive data on a patient’s heart rate, breathing patterns and muscle movements, allowing them to more easily detect warning signs and develop an appropriate care plan. The more quickly a patient’s condition is diagnosed and treatment begins, the higher the likelihood of a positive outcome.
The MelaFind optical scanner offers clinicians additional information to help them determine whether or not to order a biopsy. The device uses 10 different wavelengths to scan moles and can reach up to 2.5mm under the skin’s surface. If the pattern-recognition algorithm spots a problem, then a biopsy is scheduled to confirm the diagnosis. The FDA-approved scanner offers almost instantaneous results and reduces the amount of unnecessary biopsies.
Although new healthcare technology can be costly, it offers benefits you can’t afford to ignore. To be attractive to patients and providers, consider incorporating the use of one of these technologies at your hospital.
Before investing in any new medical device or technology, make sure you have all of the necessary information. Download our free guide, The Hospital Administrator’s Handbook to Understanding Medical Device Approvals for helpful advice.