By Javier Gomez
Through ongoing advancements in healthcare technology, healthcare providers and patients can now access broader communication applications thanks to advances in data storage. These advancements have improved collaboration, increased communication outlets and have transformed the way data is stored and shared.
Technology will continue to shape the way healthcare providers care for their patients. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to understand what healthcare information technology is and best practices for your business.
What is Healthcare Information Technology?
Healthcare information technology (HIT) includes the storage, retrieval and sharing of healthcare data.
Gone are the days of doctor visits being documented through paper records. All healthcare information is now managed electronically, so having state of the art hardware and software technology is more important than ever.
Healthcare information technology also increases the lines of communication between a healthcare provider and a patient. Now a patient can share information directly with their provider in a safe and secure platform. This secure transfer of information allows the healthcare provider to gather important information and the patient to share their needs with the doctor in real time. HIT systems work with large amounts of data, and with this comes an even larger sense of responsibility to protect that information.
Healthcare Information Technology & HIPAA
Electronic storage of health data has led to more affordable healthcare, fewer medical errors, and less tedious paperwork to be manually stored. While this has led to many advancements, it has also introduced an increased need for health data security.
Healthcare providers are required to protect all healthcare information shared between the patient and the physician. HIPAA regulations dictate healthcare technology systems just as much as they do elsewhere within the health industry.
If you have been to the doctor recently, you likely would have been exposed to technology that collects, manages, and protects your healthcare information. This technology may include your patient portal, any online healthcare education platforms, or telehealth phone calls that directly access your healthcare information. Access to this vital information can dictate how healthcare professionals choose to treat their patients, so it is vital that the information is both accessible and secure.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records (EHR) are the collection of one patient’s health records over time. These records are typically stored in the cloud and this makes it easier for providers to access their health information readily.
EHR allows doctors to keep patient health information in one location, so transfer and security of files is easy.
Personal Health Records
Personal health records (PHR) are similar to EHR but patients have the control over what information is shared with the provider. PHR’s allow patients to record critical health information in real time. This may include how often they exercise, blood pressure logs and any other vital information.
More patients are taking advantage of having their providers send their prescriptions straight to the pharmacy of their choice without having to worry about losing a paper prescription.
Healthcare Technology Security Solutions
Business’ should strengthen their security profile by requiring two-factor authentication. Using two-factor authentication, employers can request knowledge, possession, or inheritance for their employees to validate their identity.
Knowledge: Request information only the user would know. This can include username, passwords, or unique ID codes.
Possession: Request an item only the user would have. This can include a physical ID card, mobile phone verification or a security token.
Inheritance: Request a unique characteristic from your employee; this can include a fingerprint.
Cloud Migration Support
Healthcare providers can implement a hybrid cloud solution to create a more secure and compliant environment to host EHR and PHR. These custom cloud solutions allow you to protect your patient’s data, as well as meeting regulatory requirements. It is critical that you work with a data center that is SOC 2 Type 2 certified and HIPAA compliant.
Working with a managed service provider that offers service desk solutions, you will be able to reduce infrastructure and overhead costs. You will have a team of engineers that work 24x7x365, so you don’t have to worry about downtime slowing down your healthcare operations.
Managed IT Services
A managed IT service provider can offer constant monitoring and maintenance of your IT environment. With consistent support, you will be able to shield your business from productivity loss associated with stop-and-start support.
Healthcare IT Benefits
Information technologies has transformed the way health care providers have been able to serve their patients. Below are a few benefits doctors and patients reap when proper information technologies are implemented.
Electronic prescriptions and health records that are properly stored and shared directly with the pharmacy reduce the risk of duplication and allows for a second check on medications to ensure no medication that could cause an allergic reaction is ordered. Electronic prescriptions ensure the prescription is sent directly to the pharmacy without interception.
Healthcare data that is properly secured and easily shared between providers is the most useful. Properly installed IT systems allows providers the ability to access and distribute necessary information to all providers across America. Patients also benefit from direct access to their provider and health information.
Electronic medical records have greatly reduced the amount of physical paperwork required of patients. Through consistent tracking, EMR keeps track of your medical history and is constantly updated. This is beneficial to both provider and patient and reduces unnecessary time in the patient meeting.
Improved Patient Meetings
Electronic health records make it easy and simple to engage with patients. Through automated systems, you will be able to set up reminders for patients to schedule appointments, order prescriptions and share health information between provider and patient.
Importance of Healthcare Managed IT
As healthcare technology continues to advance, the need for a technology partner that understands the unique industry regulations is crucial. Healthcare managed IT service providers can help you with HIPAA, PCI DSS, and other industry regulations.
Your patients trust you with private medical records. It is critical that you protect that information properly.
Javier Gomez is the CEO of Dynamic Quest, an IT company that services the healthcare industry.