The healthcare industry has seen enormous changes in recent years. Of course, legislative policies have played major roles in making medicine what it is today, but the changes seen in this industry are far more reaching than anything Congress and Senate can bring to the table. Technology has single-handedly turned healthcare upside down, offering benefits and advantages to everyone involved. Practitioners and patients alike now enjoy more conveniences, fewer errors, and overall more delightful experiences as a result of the things technology has given us.
Of course, technological advances aren't going to slow down any time soon. As innovative minds bring their designs to market, the future of healthcare technology is bright, and we're excited to see what tomorrow will bring.
Here's a look at why healthcare technology is poised for a huge 2017:
Kiosks will continue to enhance patients' experiences
Kiosks are everywhere, and the public has taken a great liking to being in control of their own processes. In the healthcare world, patient satisfaction has climbed, as people are able to complete the check-in process by themselves. BeckersHospitalReview.com demonstrates this case by showcasing Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group's rise to a patient satisfaction rating of 96 percent in less than two years from the time it went live with its kiosk system.
Kiosk devices walk patients through the necessary steps in order to obtain vital demographic, personal, and insurance information. Kiosks also tell patients if a co-pay is required, and they're able to accept payment at the time of check-in via credit cards. Since payment information is then kept on file, practices are more likely to be able to collect future payments, as needed.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will continue to be essential
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technologies are typically software products that comprise a suite of business functions. These systems incorporate everything from accounts payable and receivable to inventory management, marketing, and logistics. As stated by HealthITNews.com, "It's the logistics part of every business: Looking for inefficiencies and duplicative efforts. If you don't know that's going on." In fact, a 2014 survey of medical facilities shows that ERP systems show the most potential in terms of technological impact, weighing in at 65 percent overall.
EMRs aren't going anywhere
The switch to electronic medical records (EMRs) was slow for some medical practices, but as of 2017, you'll be hard-pressed to find a facility that doesn't utilize mobile technology and electronic record-keeping to its fullest. According to HealthcareITNews.com, when looking forward to 2016, there were "500 percent more hospitals with plans this year than last year" to implement, understand, and utilize data mining and warehousing technologies. EMRs are poised to gain even more ground as technology continues to enhance practioners' lives for both hospitals and small practices alike.
Patient portals will be a predominant force
As practices continue to adopt and adapt to patient-centric environments, portals will be on the main stage. According to MarketersMedia.com, the "[p]atient portal market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 18.1% by 2020." These all-in-one type interfaces allow patients to schedule appointments, access records, and make payments on their own time and front their own devices.
From a physician's standpoint, portals help to increase revenue and reduce costs by reducing the workload of staff members and preventing unnecessary human errors that could otherwise result in claim denials. Simply put, patient portals are a win-win.
2017 is certainly poised for big changes across the board. As we settle in for winter weather and prepare for the calendar to change once again, we look forward to the advantages and benefits healthcare technology is holding in wait. Each improvement and enhancement in the medical industry makes life easier for patients, providers, and caretakers. We'd love to hear your thoughts about 2017's healthcare technology outlook. Join in the conversation in the Comments section below!