Automation Leading the Change in Healthcare

Electronic records have automated the process of documenting care and made patient information available on-line and in real time. They have also enabled redesign of provider work flows and the use of patient information in ways never possible with paper. There are those who might argue that certain of these changes have and continue to be problematic, but the profound and lasting impact (for example) of automated order entry, real-time clinical decision support, medication administration and on-line documentation cannot be denied. The pursuit of electronic records has been transformational, amounting to the automation of the core business much like that of other industries to which healthcare is often compared. However, the higher value of electronic records is now ready for harvest. With this first phase of transformation largely complete, it’s time to move into the volume-value shift through the real-time and retrospective use of the data and all things mobile.

Thrusting Technological Trends:

The architecture of what many might presently refer to as “an integrated product” offers the example of true interoperability. It has to be native to the technology product– meaning it’s just “there.” Being able to replicate that on a bigger scale that binds disparate vendor products is my idea of where things could ultimately need to go. The use of APIs is of course becoming more popular and will likely produce progress, but I would personally like to see things interoperable “out of the box” without the need for a third party technology. Maybe APIs are the initial glue to begin binding all of this together, but I prefer a native, built-in data exchange capability.

Future Investments:

Remember that change is constant and technology continues to evolve. But what is important, always, is that investments bring the value that justified their purchase. Solution providers will continue to enhance and grow their products, or eventually go out of business. Staying up-to-date is vital both on a personal level as well as throughout an organization’s technology portfolio. Organizations must allocate funding to continuously maintain their embedded based of systems and technologies. EMR/EHR technologies will be here for many years to come, and they will continue to change and improve. All things mobile will become more integrated into care, especially as the industry pursues consumer (i.e. convenience) strategies and more efficient and cost effective ways to keep populations healthy and out of the hospital.

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