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Digital Infrastructure in HealthcareiStock

Why your Digital Infrastructure Provides a Better Patient Experience

The 21st Century hospital, or the idea of it, is vastly different to the healthcare we are traditionally used to. Healthcare is globally undergoing a rapid and extensive transformation. This transformation is primarily driven by shifts in the expectations, usually of patients.

Consumers of healthcare expect ease of access and speedy service delivery.

These healthcare consumers belong to a larger population of tech-savvy, technology connected individuals. They are constantly attached to each other through networks. Millennials, to be precise.

The Shifting Focus

Millennials are made up of more than 80 million technologically informed individuals. Millennials are a generation that has a different consumer behavior. Especially when compared to older generations. They are more connected, more tech-savvy and more demanding than any other generation before them. They know how to program Cox remote to TV and they know how to improve internet speed. The majority of these individuals prefer their interactions online, forget in person or over the phone. This growing segment of healthcare consumers is different. They want more access, control, and participation in their healthcare. In keeping with changing trends, the objectives of the 21st Century healthcare organization are:

  • Improved satisfaction of patients
  • Improved quality and standard of care and services offered
  • The sustained viability of the organization financially
  • Improved coordination between different aspects of the healthcare process
  • Improved efficiency in operations of the organization

To meet these objectives, hospitals need to consider an extensive digital transformation. This will require a solid and flexible network infrastructure. This infrastructure is meant to give more value to the services offered. It also makes the hospital’s operations more efficient. In other words, the healthcare outcomes will improve, and wastages and inefficiencies will reduce.  Since hospitals tend to operate on tight budgets, the best way to do this is through implementing digital cloud-based models.

The Need for Networking

These changing needs require hospitals to reconsider the service they are offering. The focus should now be on wellness and outcomes instead of the service volume consumed by patients. What healthcare consumers want now is to network with healthcare providers. This means hospitals need to use technology and undergo a strategic digital transformation. This will not improve service delivery quality. At the same, it means more access to these services while remaining cost-efficient.

Hospitals need to start using digital tools to improve the patient experience at each step of the healthcare process.

Patients these days feel the need to access their medical records, test results, images and what the next step is. Hospitals can share records with each other to allow doctors a better view of a patient’s medical history and outcomes.

How should hospitals start transforming themselves?

A hospital that is undergoing a digital transformation should have a primary goal of better communication. Streamlining the process of communication across the care delivery process can be a huge benefit. It gets the right information to both patients and doctors. With easy access and exchange of information, the outcome of the entire healthcare process will improve. As we mentioned before, the new generation of health services consumers are much more demanding than others.

They are proficient in using social media, texts, instant messaging, voice calling and video calling to share information. Since they find technology to be a convenient gateway to information, they expect hospitals to communicate through it. They also expect to be able to use technology to communicate during the duration of their stay.

Providing healthcare professionals with all relevant information

The common need for healthcare professionals is the availability of information relevant to a patient. This information should be available right at the point-of-care. The problem arises when this information is located in different systems. Prescriptions could be kept in one system, health records in another and test results in yet another. This scattered information makes it difficult for caregivers to get the complete medical picture.

This in turn drastically affects the degree of care offered and its outcome.

The solution is to connect all information systems. Then make them readily accessible and aggregate the information. There should be a stringent analysis of all data relating to each patient. This will help present a comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history. With this information readily available, all a doctor has to do is walk into a patient’s room and press a screen. The screen will provide accurate information and possible recovery options for the patient.

This goes a long way towards making doctors’ tasks much easier. Hospitals these days are being built to meet the digital expectations of doctors and patients alike. New hospitals are designed to be fully digital, whereas older ones can be retrofitted to meet the same purpose. The idea is to provide greater access to and improve the quality of different steps along the healthcare process.

Investing in an appropriate digital infrastructure

Hospitals need an effective digital infrastructure to effectively undergo a digital transformation. The digital/network infrastructure acts as the digital nervous system of the hospital. Ideally, nurses should be using devices like tablets to record medical information on patients during their stay. Doctors use similar devices to access the network and view this information, taking action in the same way. Whether they need to write up a patient’s prescription or order a blood test, the gateway is the same. Doctors will use the same wireless device they use to access patient information.

The network acts as a link between different sources of information. It connects different information systems. Through this, it gives access to information, reduces human error and reduces menial tasks. When a hospital is considering stepping up to a cloud-based system, there is a greater need for a strong network.

The correct digital infrastructure significantly affects the quality of care and patient experience.

Conclusion

Creating or transforming a hospital digitally is a process that requires both innovations as well as leadership. Technology has to be utilized strategically to lay a lasting digital foundation for healthcare. There are many ways to go about it, but one of the best ways is to opt for a private cloud system. A cloud-based management system is one agile system to replace multiple, standalone systems. Hospitals need to choose open digital solutions that allow them to deliver innovative services. But to do that, they must first ensure their network has the capacity to support this transformation. Newer hospitals are usually built with an extensive network included.

The purpose is to enhance access to health care and improve service delivery. Older hospitals are often retrofitted to improve them. The focus is on their capacity to dispense appropriate and effective services. Whether a hospital is new or retrofitted, most of them are getting on board with cloud, mobile and communication technology. These form the basis of the digital infrastructure that hospitals need. There is no other way to meet tech-savvy patient demands efficiently. Millennials are notoriously impatient. They will hang up on Cox customer service if they feel its too tedious. They will also reject a hospital they feel is not up to the mark.

Hospitals Should Invest

Hospitals should be willing to invest in and adopt the best performing models in the market. Take a look at the cable providers in your area and pick the best one for this purpose. This will help you to improve your services while making them more flexible and fast. With patient’s needs changing rapidly, the only solution for hospitals to keep up is a better infrastructure. Executives should focus on integrating new technology in new hospitals, or retrofitting old ones to keep up. Leaders in healthcare must consider the need to address changing trends. This will usually involve an appropriate investment. The premises, as well as the processes and people, should be invested in to create and build on an optimal healthcare delivery system.

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