Healthcare has changed a lot in recent years, and not just due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. People are living longer and are better able to survive complications, which creates the need for more specialized healthcare.
Many see several physicians as they age or get older, and it’s conducive to favorable healthcare outcomes that those doctors coordinate and share information over a patient’s lifetime. Thankfully, the increased use of technology by health specialists has led to greater interoperability in healthcare.
Interoperability refers to the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and organize information in the most user-friendly way possible. Gone are the days of doctors having to shuffle through large filing cabinets to find the information for each patient. But while healthcare has made some big strides in this area, it still has a long way to go.
Many providers aren’t sharing information as quickly or efficiently as possible, but some new technologies can close that gap and create a more user-friendly environment for patients and staff alike. Here are a few technologies responsible for improving healthcare interoperability.
APIs, or application programming interfaces, are software systems that make it easier for information networks to communicate and transfer data among each other. These systems can be whatever a company needs them to be, but their most common functions include:
- Sending and retrieving data.
- Automatically updating files for a patient so that multiple doctors can keep abreast of new developments at the same time.
- Calculating costs and insurance premiums without having to send them to an off-site company.
Multiple companies are using them to improve interoperability, especially among health care companies.
When dealing with healthcare systems, lives are often at stake. One missed piece of information could result in a life-threatening delay. That’s why APIs are gaining popularity, so each doctor isn’t at the mercy of a disparate information system.
By sending the data to a cloud-based API, the data can be transferred instantaneously, and it can streamline the art of sharing information – as simple as having joint access to a data folder. While not every doctor is using them yet, these are invaluable for large hospital networks that use the same data systems.
Electronic Health Records may be the most important development in healthcare record-keeping in a generation. And if you’ve ever asked, what is EHR? Just think back to how many times you’ve seen appointments delayed because the doctor needed to find the right file. That usually just resulted in an annoying holdup – but in an emergency situation, the delay could be much more harmful.
That’s why so many doctors are trading in their old filing system or personal data system for an electronic health record system containing every detail of their patient’s medical history – from them and other doctors.
The ideal EHR system will include 24-7 access from any device because it’s run on the cloud and isn’t dependent on on-site files. The system should be able to schedule patients, organize billing, and keep track of the patient flow to ensure doctors don’t get overwhelmed. With more patients transferring between doctors regularly, these systems can send the full medical history to a new doctor instantaneously to ensure an ideal continuum of care.
The hum of the fax machine has been a staple of doctors’ offices for decades and was one of the most tried and true ways to securely send information from one office to another. But while it still serves that purpose, it requires the use of costly and often hard-to-maintain hardware that can require regular maintenance.
Cloud fax services remove that burden by simplifying digital faxing and increasing security and reliability. By running the system on the cloud rather than on a traditional line, you’re no longer dependent on outside services to keep the connection running.
This system cuts out the middleman when you need hard documents for record-keeping. You’ll eliminate much of the hassle of maintaining a fax system while connecting it to your overall data network. This creates better access to data and analytics for record-keeping, increased interoperability, and improved patient outcomes. You can even fax documents to multiple offices at the same time, so every involved doctor is on the same page. And if you want, all documents are saved in the data files so they can be accessed securely under HIPAA-compliant settings.
Creating a Better Network
There is nothing more important than a patient’s health, and doctors are increasingly working with systems that make safeguarding that health easier. It’ll be much easier to respond to sudden changes and keep other doctors in the loop. That’s why these tools are increasingly becoming essential to running a modern doctor’s office.