Innovations in healthcare technology are changing the way healthcare professionals consume information, treat patients, and communicate with other medical institutions like hospitals and pharmacies. The latest Kantar Media Medical and Surgical Sources and Interactions data show how technology is revolutionizing the modern patient-doctor interaction.
Below, we look at four ways tech is modernizing the exam room.
Electronic Health/Medical Records (EHR/EMRs) are changing how physicians keep records.
75% of respondents told Kantar Media that their practice had completely implemented an EHR/EMR, up from 70% last year.*† HealthIT.gov says the incentives of these electronic systems include improved and safer patient care, increased patient participation, and cost savings. EHRs/EMRs also are solving logistics problems within practices and between institutions. For example, when a patient arrives at a hospital’s emergency department, physicians quickly can send medical records to ensure the hospital is aware of medical histories, allergies, and current prescriptions.
e-Prescribing is improving the way practices and pharmacies communicate.
The percentage of prescriptions written via traditional prescription pad fell from 26% in 2016 to 21% in 2017.*†Most of this drop can be attributed to a rise in electronic prescription systems, which reduces the number mix-ups in filling prescriptions. The process sends pharmacists a legible prescription, lowering the probability that they will misread an order and fill the prescription with the wrong medication; this process eliminates the toil of decoding “physician cursive.”
Patient portals are increasing physician-patient interaction.
Patient portals were widely used by physicians to interact with patients: 47% of respondents said they used portals to interact with patients, up from 40% in 2016.*† Through patient portals, physicians can remind patients to make follow-up appointments, offer resources on disease states, and remind them of prescription doses and self-care instructions. Patients also can log in to see their medical charts and lab results.
Digital resources are informing care in the exam room.
Doctors are utilizing search tools like Google and accessing the digital versions of medical journals to inform their diagnoses and treatment methods. Respondents said they use the internet for professional purposes on average 12 times per week.† They also are increasingly reading the digital versions of current medical journals, up from 75% in 2016 to 79% in 2017. And they're reading only the print version less often — down from 22% to 19%.*†
There also was an uptick in the number of times respondents consulted online resources regarding a specific patient’s condition. Respondents said they consulted internet resources three times per week immediately before a patient visit, two times per week during a patient visit, and 3.3 times per week immediately after a patient visit.*†
The tech boom in medicine is just beginning, but some of the most tedious parts of patient care — scheduling appointments, managing patient records, sharing medical histories with other physicians — are becoming a thing of the past. However, many physicians remain wary of these technological advancements and utilize EMRs cautiously — and, of course, there remains a small group of technophobes who continue to prefer pen and paper.
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