With the growth of complexity of health issues, information and new health care procedures, the public needs additional skills, information, and supportive relationships to take care of their health necessities. As the emerging of new technologies and inventions prevail, the public and private organizations are progressively using the Internet, media and other novel technologies to rationalize the distribution of health information and amenities. As a result, this develops an even greater need for health professionals to create additional skills in the understanding and use of patients’ health information. Many secure healthcare websites give the patients access to their personal health information round the clock. They can access these details from anywhere with an Internet connection which is the primary technological tool for the healthcare outreach programs. Yet, many Healthcare professionals are still finding it hard to get the patients to sign up to use the provided patient portals. To convince patients to sign up for these portals, they must be briefed on the meaningful use and the value of the role of technology in healthcare outreach programs.
- Support combined assessment, discussion and decisions made between patients and providers
- Help in building social support networks
- Facilitate the sharing of information that is accurate, accessible and actionable, between the patients and the public health professionals
- Help in personalizing self-management tools and resources
- When in emergency, technology helps in taking quick and informed action
- Provide the public with sound knowledge of the patterns and designs of the programs and initiatives that are conducted by the public health professionals
- Support patient self-management of chronic conditions
IT plays a vital role in each stage of healthcare outreach programs. These outreach support programs come in three main divisions –
- Patient engagement support and surveys: Healthcare outreach programs use assessment surveys as a point of reference for incorporating the practice of technology. These assessment surveys serve as a strategy for further development of goals and deployment of plans and procedures. It is very important to make the patient and public feel that the healthcare professionals are ready to be engaged and to assist them in the entire process cycle.
- Patient engagement technology support: Getting connected and managing the information online is very important. Healthcare groups have invested a large share in the support team who serve to make sure that the history of records are well maintained, kept readily accessible and uphold confidentiality with personal details. This team also focuses on developing educational materials to the patients based on varied health risks and requirements.
- Development optimization: Technology also helps the Healthcare outreach team to redesign workflows in order to maximize patient engagement. The day to day requirements and support are recorded and analyzed further to develop and modify the plans and patterns followed. Earlier when data was entered manually, the entire process of recording and tracking data was difficult and might be erroneous due to manual practices. This modification in pattern from manual to technological upgrade helps in eradicating any deviation from the actual. This is a high turn around in decision making and sustainability.
In the coming decade, the scope, speed, and scale of acceptance, adoption and implementation of IT in healthcare will increase manifold. Implementation of technology in healthcare outreach initiatives and programs is basically a call for collaboration. It enables excellence in quality and fault free care in efficient and effective ways.
Technological support can bring a lot of advantages to the healthcare sector:
Financial Benefits: Like any other field, healthcare also tends to lose its investment due to lack of efficient processes. This loss ranges from 50% to 70% of the total investment which tends to increase every year with the increase in the complexity of health issues and introduction of new medicines and treatment procedures. With the implementation of technology in medical outreach programs, studies have shown that the financial benefits of large hospitals in the US has been improved significantly.
Lesser Malpractice: Ever since technology is being used in medical outreach programs, the number of malpractice claims dropped on an average from 49 to 2 over a period of one year. The patient’s medical history is recorded and accessed by the healthcare professional team for further diagnosis and study. This helps the healthcare team access the required documents and medical history of the patients on time in case of emergency and avoid any assumed decisions, like those carried on before technology was introduced in this field. Hence, it has been proved that professionals take extra care to avoid any negligence.
Faster Response: Healthcare services using healthcare IT systems for their outreach programs are able to completely audit patient records in lesser time as compared to paper auditing systems. The response rate to medical emergency has gone up to 75% which is a life-saver.
Time Savings: Electronic prescriptions can save time and reduce efforts.
Technology plays a vital role in healthcare by enabling the re-engineering of procedures and workflows to cultivate a unified healthcare supply system that will better deal with the challenges faced by the sector. It helps in introducing new opportunities for assimilating data to manage patients’ care, enable communication among healthcare professionals and also empower people to administer one’s own health through self-monitoring systems.
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