Can tech address the needs of healthcare patients?

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While receiving adequate care and proper treatment are top of mind for patients who turn to the healthcare system, these end users are ultimately also seeking an improved overall “patient experience” during their interactions with the healthcare industry.

Research, conducted in the United States last year, shows that 88% of patients would switch to another healthcare provider if they were not satisfied with their existing one, meaning that patient satisfaction plays an ever-increasing role in determining the financial stability of healthcare facilities.

As a result, hospitals and clinics are under constant pressure to deliver better healthcare to patients, while also supporting medical practitioners to enable them to do their jobs better. Conversely, hospitals and clinics need to remain profitable to deliver a return on investment to shareholders.

In a time when technological advancements are empowering consumers daily, the healthcare industry is also realising the importance of putting the patient first, by operating a customer-centric model. Using technology, healthcare service providers can better understand the pain points of patients and provide them with a smoother healthcare journey.

According to Leigh Venter, Stream Lead for Healthcare and Logistics at T-Systems South Africa, it is important for healthcare facilities to look beyond the patient and ensure a better experience for relatives and all other visitors to hospitals and clinics.

“We need to look at the holistic patient journey, taking into consideration the journey of the other role players in the hospital,” she says.

Venter notes that there are various pain points that patients face when dealing healthcare providers, centred mainly around efficiency and access to information. These can be addressed through the implementation of systems and solutions that make admissions smoother and give healthcare professionals instant access to patient records, all of which reduces the time taken and delivers a seamless patient experience.

“It’s about streamlining the whole process. From a patient experience point of view, it is important to implement a system that offers a preregistration capability, which allows patients to preregister before they come to hospital,” says Venter.

Once patient information is captured, it’s not necessary to do it multiple times, regardless of how many departments a patient must go to, she says.

Post admission, hospital information systems can further streamline the treatment process, says Henri la Grange, Build SAP Line Manager at T-Systems South Africa.

“For instance, integration with different labs means that healthcare professionals can get test results back faster. They can view the X-ray without having to go down to the X-ray department. All this means that they can see results, make diagnoses and start treatment much quicker, which makes for a better experience for the patient,” he explains.

La Grange adds that medical equipment integration provides for digital documentation to be instantly available to doctors and nurses, which is helping to put these professional back at the bedside.

“Traditionally, a lot of time is spent on documentation, especially in intensive care. Integrated medical devices automatically document everything, so more time can be spent caring for and assessing patients,” he says.

La Grange points out that healthcare is a complicated process, but that hospital information solutions can streamline this process, turning it into a seamless exercise, as opposed to multi-faceted challenge.

“It’s a one-bundle solution that caters for all sets in the patient journey. From admission to treatment to providing WiFi and streaming services to patients. These solutions are designed to address all the pain points,” he concludes.

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