The healthcare industry is one of the greatest contributors to a country’s gross domestic product or economic growth. But, it is also the one sector that demands the most amount of attention from the governance and technical experts of a region. While people have their reasons to resist the inflow of technology in the industry, they are doing more harm than good. If you look at the current scenario, not one but a plethora of issues surround the industry all waiting for a change in mindset, ease of standardization and penetration of technology.
Hospital Management Challenges
For starters take the case of hospital management as an example. Most organizations rely on handwritten registers and files when allocating their staff or transferring a patient from one department to another. But, what do we see at such institutions? Long lines of patients, waiting to be addressed. It isn’t a 100 percent claim that the surge of patients is to t mismanagement at the hospital’s level since there is a rising population to blame as well.
But, for the most part of what is observed, the workforce in a medical institution runs helter-skelter, especially when a large number of patients are observed on a particular day. This leaves them overworked on some days while underworked on many. Moreover, the ultimate burden falls onto the shoulders of doctors and medical experts who have no clue on the number of patients they will be seeing on any particular day. Long working hours, therefore, become a part of their lives and results in burnout most of the time.
But, only if the implementation of technology was a little smoother, none of the medical staff or the institution as a whole would have been in a situation to experience this. This is also where the aspect of personalization kicks in. Even though most people assume that personalization is only for the end customer which is the patient in this case, they are mistaken. In fact, it can also be realized for employees just as in this case and enable operationalized personalization to make their lives easier.
It’s a matter of surprise that even after the introduction of electronic health records more than 20 years ago, they are only implemented in a handful of regions around the world. Even in the United States of America, EHR are less significantly implemented or utilized for the purpose they were built as compared to UK and surrounding regions. But, if this is the state of developed countries, imagine how lagged behind are the developing countries and third world nations.
With digitization in the picture and technologies like the cloud, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, the issue of management of medical institutions stands completely resolved. Not only will it help provide real-time updates about the allocations of staff and availability of doctors but with machine learning models in the picture, it would also estimate the average footfall of the patients to a greater degree.
Addressing Hospital Workforce Challenges
A new study by the American Hospital Association on the workforce strategic planning suggests that technology is well-positioned to assist health systems to combat professional staffing shortages. The front running technologies for this job are telehealth and artificial intelligence.
While telehealth can be useful to people to healthcare organizations who aim to provide care services for people outside the system, lets’ say remote locations. It extends to healthcare delivered outside of the traditional settings and evolves to team-based models of care. To make this shift happen, a lot of healthcare organizations around the world are seen deploying a number of new care models and technologies to supplement the workforce in supporting this shift.
Some of these new forms of models include team-based ones that combine physicians with advanced practice providers and nurses along with some of the other major elements such as artificial intelligence, telehealth and emerging technologies like the Internet of things and cognitive devices.
But, in spite of the fact that most healthcare organizations find emerging technologies like artificial intelligence as the most effective way to becoming productive and reaching their goals, it isn’t actually a silver lining. AI does help the institutions become more efficient and higher-performing but it requires other efforts from the organization as well. Unraveling the potential of artificial intelligence quintessentially requires the collective efforts from the Health IT to adequately integrating the technology into the organization’s daily operations.
The report by the American Hospital Association also suggested the healthcare organizations to consider ways in which they cold integrate Ai in their organizations as it would help to transform the nature of how staff work at a hospital or health system. On the other hand, it would also impact the skills and competencies of people working there.
The point is that labor is the largest single cost for most medical institutions especially hospitals. However, they are also necessary for the critical mission of saving lives. And even though there are a lot of challenges in the management of the workforce there is also a lot of scope to work towards their betterment by improving care, motivating them, re-skilling them along with modernizing the business model in a way that reflects a shift towards the positive healthcare.
The healthcare industry is yet to overcome its existing challenges, which is why we can’t really call it heading to a point of breakthrough. But, with the adoption and implementation of existing technologies and models on a large scale, a majority of its operational issues can be sorted out. After all, the goal of technology aligns with that the healthcare industry, and that is to save lives.
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