With the growing emphasis on efficiency in healthcare, time is a commodity that is becoming more valuable than ever before. Today’s physicians have to handle more patients and process more data than the ones before them. Time remains to be, and will always continue to be, a limiting factor. Nevertheless, its negative effects on the patient-provider relationship can be managed with the help of ‘Health 2.0’ tools.
At the recent Health 2.0 Europe conference, Proxible B.V, a Dutch company, announced that it has been working on developing a location-based platform that will help care providers and patients receive relevant information at the right time. At the Health 2.0 event, special sensors detected the user’s location and fed that data to a demo app. Depending on the user’s whereabouts, the application provides information at the appropriate time, such as map directions and appointment alerts. The user can be a physician or a patient, and different features will be available to them based on their role. With this concept, though still in early stages, Proxible B.V hope to convert hospitals into smarter environments for better healthcare.
This concept of location-aware, context-aware sensors has great potential in a healthcare setting. For example, it is a fairly common occurrence for patients (and sometimes staff) to get lost in a large hospital, which often leads to issues with keeping appointments. As one possible solution to this problem, patients and providers can be guided to where they need to be by location-based applications in real-time on their devices. Moreover, such tools may allow physicians to receive relevant information (such as patient notes, scans, drug charts etc.) immediately on their devices as they come in close proximity to their patients. Also, they can help keep track of hospital assets like wheelchairs, perhaps by tagging sensors on to them. This helps to reduce the issue of wasting time in locating mobile resources. The possibilities of use for such tools are endless and can be great in saving time.
The tech giant Apple, introduced its iBeacon system in mid-2013, which enables iOS devices or other hardware to send notifications to nearby devices. Several retail stores and businesses are already making use of indoor positioning systems and low-powered, low-cost transmitters. It’s only a matter of time before they become prominent in clinical settings.
Hospitals aren’t the only place where time is precious. The average primary care visits is very pressed for time. Therefore, the element of follow-up care has now become an even more of a crucial part in medical practice. HealthLoop is communication platform that automates the routine aspects of follow-up care, allowing the provider to focus his or her time on what matters most. The HealthLoop application automatically sends patients reminders and asks relevant questions regarding the patient’s care and well-being. It offers peer-reviewed follow-up plans that help to automate the repetitive areas of care whilst constantly monitoring for signs of possible health concerns. Behind the scenes, the application goes through the collection of patient-generated data in real-time and filters patient information by health priority for the physician to see and then act upon. Improving follow-up care in medical practice can lead to better health outcomes and may reduce the number of patient relapses and health complications. Companies like HealthLoop are innovating in fantastic new ways to better healthcare and improve efficiency.
Being a doctor is a no doubt a tremendous responsibility. With great responsibility comes a huge deal of stress. Difficult patients, bureaucracy, a lengthy task-list and a lack of materials are only a few of the reasons a physician may experience time pressure. Effective time management is necessary in order to combat stress. Electronic Health Records (EHR) are great tools in helping to achieve this. They increase practice efficiency by: storing patient records in a secure, accessible and organized manner, reducing staff downtime in copying and locating information, automating public reporting such as immunization notices, producing referral letters and documents automatically and saving money and space. Ultimately, as a result, physicians can focus their attention on solving the patient’s health problem. Care providers have quite a few options available to choose from when selecting EHR systems for their practice, outside vendors such as Epic and Cerner.
Time is a significant aspect to providing high-quality healthcare. It plays a crucial part to the development of a patient-physician relationship. Physicians need time to build rapport with their patients. They need time to acknowledge and demonstrate empathy for patient’s psychosocial concerns. They also need time to understand a patient’s behavior and motivate positive change. Effective time management strategies should be a priority in enriching the fundamental relationship in medicine. Technology can play a great role in enhancing that central patient-provider alliance as well as in increasing productivity.
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