For years, people have been able to go to a bank and do their banking without speaking with a teller. You can go to the gas station or grocery store without even speaking to an attendant or cashier because many of them offer automated points of sale. When it comes to health care though, the thought of automated service of any kind makes people nervous, even as people use their smartphones and tablets to get medical information from many different online sources.
Automation in the health care industry has many benefits for both hospitals, doctors, and their patients. To be sure, no amount of automation will ever replace health care personnel; there will always be a human component. Merged within a health care workflow, it assists in delivering health care in a more productive and efficient way. Not only that, it increases patient involvement—say, allowing them to book appointments online. Take a look at our article about how technology can be used for better health.
As you can imagine, medical personnel—as smart as they are—need assistance from third-party companies in automating their services. Health care professionals using electronic medical records (EMR) rather than paper records are able to keep track of patient’s information digitally, allowing for automated reminders such as for screenings, checkups, vaccines. Electronic health records (EHR) take the process one step further; EHR is designed to allow easier sharing of records with specialists and laboratories. What health care professionals require of their automated software differs from office to office, so SelectHub offers a guide discussing EMR/EHR requirements.
Allowing automation to take over repetitive and manually demanding tasks does not mean that a health care office will replace employees. Rather, it permits employees to take on work that a machine cannot do. Automation gives health care personnel the opportunity to dedicate their focus on their expertise. This is also true within the pharmaceutical industry; read our article about pharmacy automation benefits.
More Consistent and Higher Quality
Many people get involved in health care because they take pride in helping people along their health journey. They are selfless people who work long hours to ensure they can help as many people as they can; however, they are still human. Fatigue or human error is more commonplace than people may want to admit. When hospitals use automated health care tools, human error and fatigue are eliminated from the equation, leading to more consistent results and higher quality care.
Using automated tools and digital records decreases the amount of waste generated by paper records such as charts and spreadsheets. Sure, paper is recyclable, but if you do not need to use it, why bother? Also, unnecessary printing and faxing—yes, fax machines are still being used—leads to wasted ink and toner. Not only do you help save the environment, you save money not having to spend so much on printing supplies.
When health care professionals use automated records, patients are more likely to follow their care plan. Automated records also easily detect when a patient has strayed from the plan, permitting the health care team to intercede quickly to get the patient back on track.
The bottom line is that automated health care will lead to better health care for patients and more organized and productive health care professionals. Automation is not just the future of health care; it is the present. Patients need not be nervous, they need to embrace it as many medical practitioners already have.