The healthcare industry has a heavy responsibility. Patient outcomes depend on accurate and complete information from lab records to patient history and throughout the varied healthcare supply chain. And, as patient’s interest in staying informed and understanding both their own and their loved one’s genetic profiles grows, they are transforming into healthcare consumers. Long labeled a technology laggard, in recent years these changes have aided in helping the healthcare sector recognize the importance of embracing digital transformation to making data more accessible, easier to manage and more secure.
With critical patient data flowing through various stages of the healthcare journey, the value of information to the healthcare sector can truly mean life or death. Effective information management ensures the flow and delivery of that information, offering healthcare professionals a chance to make a real difference—both in process improvements and patient outcomes.
One recent Deloitte study predicts that by 2040, if not earlier, the industry will merge many streams of health data and other relevant information to “create a multifaceted and highly personalized picture of every consumer’s well-being.” IDC foresees big changes even sooner, expecting hospitals’ use of the Internet of Things to have doubled by 2020. It also expects health organizations will gain competitive advantages by integrating clinical and financial data into their operations.
Secure and integrated
With digitized and centralized information, the healthcare industry will see multiple improvements, including:
- Improved patient treatment: Easier information access and management helps ensure the right documents get to the right people quickly and securely for safe, efficient, and high-quality patient care as well as keeping healthcare consumers more informed.
- Secure electronic data: Communicating information quickly to different devices in the formats their recipients require supports fast, secure data reporting and sharing. This is particularly important as cybersecurity concerns continue to impact the industry with some of the highest costs associated with data breaches.
- Integrated systems: Integrating electronic medical record (EMR) systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and other enterprise solutions offer enhanced visibility for more complete patient records.
Prohibitive costs once held back the healthcare industry, but secure cloud-based services have opened up the path to efficient and connected information management.
Consider, for example, how ZOLL Medical Corporation manages critical information. In 2006, ZOLL acquired LifeVest—the world’s first and only wearable defibrillator. The vest offers patients advanced protection and monitoring, as well as improved quality of life. The device requires a prescription from a cardiologist, as well as documentation to support the diagnosis. Every day, ZOLL received hundreds of faxed orders along with supporting documentation for the LifeVest device.
To manage the growing volume of these critical LifeVest faxes, ZOLL deployed OpenText™ RightFax™. This hybrid cloud system helped ensure the company can deliver devices quickly, manage Protected Health Information (PHI) in HIPAA-compliant ways and serve patients cost-effectively. For patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, receiving the LifeVest as quickly as possible is vital.
Using cloud-based services can provide the scalability, performance, security and future-proofing the industry needs, without the need to invest in new internal IT infrastructure and maintenance. By moving to the cloud, health organizations can automate tasks, manage a wide variety of file types and keep data secure, both in transit and at rest. Other benefits include:
- Cost efficiency: With the cloud, document delivery is assured with one simple, monthly fee.
- Speed: Cloud-based document delivery is fast and automatic, whether it’s to a printer, fax machine or via digital systems, such as EMRs or mobile devices.
- Flexibility: Most cloud-based services support a range of delivery options and can accommodate virtually any file size.
- Security and auditability: The right cloud system can ensure the security of sensitive data and provide comprehensive audit features, such as real-time tracking and delivery confirmation.
The healthcare sector may have had a slow start but it is now picking up speed and moving from ‘digital laggard’ to ‘digital evaluator’. Health organizations can embrace the opportunity to improve patient experiences and operational efficiency with faster, centralized, efficient, and secure ways of exchanging information, all resulting in a better healthcare consumer experience and, ultimately, improved patient outcomes.
Contact us to learn more about how OpenText™ can help healthcare organizations.
This blog first appeared on CIO.com.