In just the last 50 years, health care has changed dramatically. Of course, new procedures, treatments, and medications are discovered every day. Still, the most significant change may be the use of computers and the internet to manage and improve patient treatment. Providers have access to the latest medical research when they need it and wherever they need it by accessing NextGen from their laptop or mobile device. Electronic healthcare records mean that patient’s vital information is portable and permanent. Several tools that improve the quality of patient care through virtual visits and empowering patient-driven care must be implemented to give organizations a competitive advantage.
Currently, the trend in healthcare IT is primarily centered on virtual healthcare and patient-driven healthcare. The growth potential in these areas is vast, and increased use of tools to help facilitate it will improve patient treatment and satisfaction. In the future, healthcare services will often be provided outside of the doctor’s office. Your organization must be strategically planning on how to meet the needs of your patients’ desire to not come to the office for every visit.
NextGen EHR & Virtual Healthcare
Virtual healthcare allows patients to access medical help from a distance, eliminating the need to see providers in person, part of the time. No one is suggesting that all treatment can be done virtually, but it works well in certain circumstances. Integrating NextGen with virtual healthcare solutions is key to being a successful modern practice.
For the elderly or infirm, arranging transportation to see the doctor for routine care can be quite tricky. These patients may also be too weak or otherwise impaired to visit their physicians easily. Providing consultations via a computing device or smartphone means patients can easily speak to their doctor and offer information about their condition and other concerns. When used in concert with a home healthcare worker, these consults can allow providers to make adjustments in medications and order other treatments. These consults may also indicate whether the patient needs more hands-on care. These virtual visits are especially helpful when the appointments are meant to be quick follow-ups on a patient’s condition.
NextGen EHR combined with telehealth is a virtual healthcare system that allows providers to see their patients digitally, a service that many patients, particularly young ones, are demanding. Integrating telehealth into your NextGen EHR is critical to having a smooth workflow that requires less of a physician’s time than a regular office visit. This platform works best when incorporated into an overall healthcare plan designed by their provider. These virtual visits are especially useful for the following:
- Follow-up visits after initial treatment
- Medication management
- Reviewing imaging and labs
- Visits held pre- and post-procedure
This tool is also helpful for busy parents who need a consult on their child’s health and can’t make it to the office. In some instances, taking the child to the provider means exposing them to the latest outbreak of the flu or other ailment. In that case, a virtual visit may be just as effective and safer.
Telehealth gives people in rural areas better access to their doctors. For some people, the nearest clinic can be hours away. They, perhaps more than anyone, need virtual access to their doctor. Without it, they may opt-out of seeing a doctor at all, which ultimately exacerbates most medical issues.
Even people in a more urban setting need the advantages of virtual healthcare. Severe weather is becoming more common. Every year millions of people are temporarily stranded due to floods, blizzards, and other weather events. They may be unable to visit the office for weeks. Virtual visits mean these patients are less likely to neglect their health during these already stressful periods.
Many patients want to have more power when it comes to their healthcare. Younger people especially want a partnership when it comes to their health and see themselves as not just patients, but as customers. Fortunately, they have several tools at their disposal that give them a higher level of control. Patient-driven medical care includes the ability to make appointments and otherwise interact with medical practices from home using smartphones or other personal computing devices. Patients, and regulators, are beginning to demand that physicians have the latest technology with a powerful patient portal to easily access their records. This was one of the driving motivations for NextGen’s Medfusion acquisition, which allows patients to interact with their physicians.
The Internet of Things
The IoT (Internet of Things) has been influencing health care for some years now, and its influence is spreading. Simple devices such as wearable monitors let the average person keep track of their blood pressure, heart rate, physical activity level, and sleep patterns. These inexpensive devices work as valuable alert systems and long-term monitoring aids. Many providers are happy to use this information during patient consultations, where it can be accessed online. Patients can even authorize their providers to access this information without their presence. These monitoring devices give physicians a more accurate view of their patient’s health than a 15-minute office visit can. The IoT also adds significantly to patient empowerment by providing healthcare monitoring and diagnoses.
The smartphone has become a healthcare device via several health-related apps, many of which can be downloaded for free. More sophisticated uses of IoT are also in the works. Computing tools using AI will one day diagnose some conditions as well as a healthcare technician. Chat bots are being designed that can gather HPI and review of systems information from a patient and then offer assistance with a diagnosis. A smart phone app is already being used to diagnose eye disease. One day, patients may be able to have a routine eye exam using their computing device.
Patient portals, such as the much-acclaimed Medfusion (recently acquired by NextGen), let patients do so much more online than simply pay their bills. This technology allows patients to make and reschedule appointments, check into the office, fill out forms, and take care of other medical business online. Patients no longer have to spend time in line or on the phone. They can do the preliminary forms at home or even in the parking lot before the visit, which can be imported easily into NextGen EHR & EPM. When they reach their provider, they are ready for the visit instead of wasting time in a waiting room. This convenience, in conjunction with virtual visits and other breakthroughs in healthcare IT, gives patients a level of control that people 50 years ago didn’t imagine.
The TempDev Advantage
The experts at TempDev will keep your practice at the forefront of new healthcare IT trends. With their expert-level knowledge with NextGen EMR & EPM, TempDev can offer you consultative advice with NextGen and the latest virtual healthcare technology, as well as ongoing training and support. They will assess your practice and recommend products and processes that will provide you and your patients the high-tech advantages that they deserve. Staying competitive in today’s healthcare market means staying current with IT trends. TempDev will help you incorporate the latest developments into your technology portfolio. Contact us here or call 888.TEMP.DEV to partner together on your next technology implementation.