What Administrators Need to Know About Technology in Healthcare
Technology and information science has been one of America’s most dominant industries for years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the sector would add over 480,000 new jobs between 2014 and 2024. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that technology is also causing major waves of change within hospitals and other healthcare institutions. As a hospital administrator, it’s important to know about some of the ways that technological improvements might affect the future workplace.
New Technologies in the Modern Age
Some of the changes in healthcare technology relate to doctor-patient interactions. We’ve now reached an age where a doctor doesn’t even need to be in the same room as a patient to diagnose him or her. Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, for example, created an entire center, the Mercy Virtual Care Center, which evaluates all of its patients remotely. Patients are able to use two-way cameras to communicate with their care providers, and doctors are able to get updates on the patient’s vital signs through an iPad attachment.
Another intriguing technology that is being applied in big ways within healthcare is 3D printing. Now, it’s possible to print skin grafts for burn victims and small airway splints for babies. In fact, many feel that the possibilities of 3D printing have only begun to be discovered in healthcare. Artificially manufactured materials and body parts could save countless lives and promote longevity in the future.
But accessing doctors via screens and printing organs aren’t the only changes that healthcare administrators will see within their institutions. Some of the biggest technology revolutions in healthcare have to do with health data and how it gets processed. While valuable health information used to get lost all the time through burial in basement file cabinets, now all that data can be digitized and made accessible via cloud servers and laptop computers.
Being Prepared for Technological Changes
Just because health institutions have begun to rapidly implement new technologies doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps along the road. When it comes to virtual medicine for instance, seniors might have a harder time than others understanding how to access such tools. And given the growing need for quality and affordable elder care, this is not a population that the U.S. can afford to leave out of healthcare advancements.
In data changes, healthcare administrators have a big role to play in setting the trends that other healthcare professionals will follow. Administrators and healthcare managers are also more likely to be decentralized these days, rather than conglomerated into a central department. This means that administrators will have the opportunity to circulate with other professionals and share some of the newest and most sustainable practices in healthcare management and technology.
Regardless of how each individual healthcare institution experiences the intersection of technology and hospital administration, things are definitely changing. The fee-for-service reimbursement model that has been the bread and butter of hospital billing for years is now shifting toward outcome-based models. And technology, acquired and overseen by hospital administrators, plays a part in facilitating that shift. These key managers of information and services certainly won’t be out of a job anytime soon.