A patient opens his laptop and types the URL displayed on the paper bill he holds in his hand. Eventually, after six failed attempts, he manages to retrieve the correct patient portal password. That’s followed by a few more clicks to locate account info and some typing to enter payment information. Finally, he hits the “Pay Now” button.
We are currently unable to accept payments online, the screen reads. Please call us at your earliest convenience to resolve this issue.
Ugh. So much for convenience in the age of healthcare IT services.
In an era where consumer technology has taken over virtually every other aspect of daily life, many healthcare facilities are still playing a game of catchup. But in the midst of HIPAA and EHR compliance challenges, there are a number of inspiring technology trends to get excited about in 2017.
Here are just a few:
Cloud-Based Healthcare Automation
If there’s one thing the consumerization of technology has done for healthcare, it’s create the expectation of immediacy. As Accenture put it:
Have a sick child? Digital services can allow you to Skype with a pediatrician. Struggling with a high-risk pregnancy issue? Through virtual technology, a specialist in New York can treat an ailing patient in New Mexico.
As more processes are automated, practices and physicians are able to devote more time to mission-critical activities like interacting with patients and customizing treatment plans.
Yes, your electronic health records system may seem maddeningly slow at times. But there are a number of up-and-coming healthcare IT solutions to help solve the most pressing challenges. For example, services like QueueLogix automate back-office processes while connecting them to exam room patient interactions. Likewise, companies such as SilverCloud are enabling healthcare providers to offer some types of self-paced treatment by leveraging clinical data and analytics.
Virtual Reality as an IT Healthcare Solution
After a long stint of popularity in the gaming community, virtual reality (or “augmented reality,” as it’s often called) is finding its way into exam rooms and medical schools. Because the technology allows users to become immersed in three-dimensional, computer-generated virtual worlds, it’s an ideal method for training and treating. A growing number of doctors-in-training, for instance, are getting “front row” viewings of recorded surgical procedures.
So far, virtual reality headsets have been used to treat PTSD, create new life-saving procedures, and train medical professionals in the art of diagnosis. Now a billion-dollar industry, virtual reality is guaranteed to continue growing within the arena of healthcare IT.
HIPAA Compliant Web Forms
With so many cumbersome IT healthcare solutions to manage, the emergence of HIPAA compliant web forms is offering some relief. These digital data collection platforms, which until recently had been unavailable to the healthcare industry, are offering a relatively painless way to collect information needed by medical staff while protecting patient data. Because the forms collect personal health information using encryption technology that’s both HIPAA and HITECH compliant, they can be used for a wide range of needs—from medical release forms and new patient registrations to secure credit card payments and more.
In an industry where paper still reigns, this trend just may be the ticket to a more convenient healthcare IT world—one free of pesky error messages and frustrated laptop users.
Are you ready to start taking advantage of these trends at your facility? Formstack is here to help. Click below to see how our web form and data management platform is helping practices across America improve healthcare IT.