Open communication is a critical aspect to many different industries and the healthcare field is no exception. Especially with an influx of new technologies - such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and e-prescribing software - that must be implemented, patient engagement is necessary.
Additionally, medical facilities need to ensure that healthcare IT consulting is thoroughly performed in order for all employees to be fully educated on new systems. When workers are fully knowledgeable, they will be better able to keep the patients fully informed on the latest technology and how it will impact them personally.
According to Paul Cerrato, editor of InformationWeek Healthcare, mandates like meaningful use requirements are only beginning to scratch the surface of improved medical care. Individuals need full transparency from hospitals and medical facilities, he wrote in a recent article.
"Patient portals are probably the best vehicle to provide patients with the data that CMS requires, but smart clinicians will offer much more than these basics, including a well-stocked patient education library, an 'internal Facebook' that gives patients the opportunity to share coping skills with others suffering from the same disorder, … [or even] recommendations for health-related smartphone apps and secure email access to clinicians."
Additionally, Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, agrees that patients need a clear explanation on how the digital world will create better healthcare.
In a recent Medscape news article, Topol explained that EMRs have the potential to significantly reduce hospital and medical errors, such as mistakes with medication dosage or even facility-acquired infections.
Also, with the use of technologies like Google Scholar - where individuals can read about physicians' backgrounds and make informed decisions for themselves - consumers can be more involved with their personal care.
In order to make implementations of new systems run as smoothly as possible, and ensure that employees are properly educated on their work processes, medical facilities should partner with a hospital consultant who is trained in healthcare IT consulting.