Aaron Weiss, Director of Marketing at HP shares how small-to mid-sized medical offices are using the cloud and tablets to increase productivity and reduce costs.
Office-based physician practices are strategically comprised of the right mix of physicians, nurses, assistants, technicians and specialists – each with specific needs to be successful in their roles. In order to meet all employees’ needs to achieve success, increase office efficiency and eliminate unnecessary processes, small to mid-sized medical practices should look to digitize their offices.
The cloud and tablets are two related technologies that medical practices are leveraging to aid with the move from paper-intensive processes to digital processes. By digitizing their offices and utilizing cloud-enabled tablets, medical practices are allowing employees to provide patients with the highest level of care in the most efficient manner.
Below are the major pain points that small to mid-sized medical offices face and how these challenges are solved with tablets and the cloud:
1. Too many documents, not enough organization
Office-based physician practices maintain confidential, detailed documentation outlining patient medical history including medication information, health insurance records, allergy lists and clinical notes. Independent from the amount of time nurses and technicians spend on documents, paperwork and documentation processes can take up as much as a third of a physician’s workday. For offices without Electronic Health Records (EHRs), most of these documents are stored on-site, which incurs expenses for storage and administrative filing labor. It is estimated that an organization makes 19 copies of each document, invests $20 to file each document and spends $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document.
Medical offices should utilize the cloud by digitizing and storing their documents securely through cloud-based document management solutions. In addition, tablets can provide instant mobile access to digital documents, whether in the office or remotely, eliminating the need to physically search for paper files and allowing healthcare practitioners to review medical records anytime, anywhere. Mobility and secured remote access allows healthcare practitioners to access information across multiple offices, at home and on the go when on call. By using cloud-enabled tablets, patient files are readily accessible, allowing physicians to move away from paper documents, reduce filing costs, and free up space in the office.
2. The need for instant mobile access
The daily tasks of medical practitioners require handling large amounts of hardcopies of documents, whether in file cabinets at the office or in-hand during patient exams and consultations. It’s important that these documents are readily available to all physicians at any time so that they can review and/or update medical records, health insurance information and, at times, avoid life-threatening conflicts.
The use of cloud-enabled tablets in the healthcare space is on the rise. Acting as an extension of the cloud, tablets are among the top devices facilitating the shift to the digitized medical office. Last year, reports revealed that 62 percent of physicians were using tablets for professional purposes, of which one-half actually used at the-point-of-care. In fact, 58 percent of the mobile workforce, including healthcare professionals, expects to rely more on tablets in 2013. Medical practices should invest in tablets and solutions that enable physicians to digitally complete daily tasks via user-friendly engineering, with the highest levels of security and with instant access to the cloud. With the ability to connect to the cloud and other office networks at any time, mobile access increases business efficiency, improves secure information access and healthcare practitioner life quality.
3. Devices built to last
Recent survey results report that more than half of surveyed physicians expressed interest in using mobile devices in the workplace. Medical practitioners are constantly on-the-go and they need technology that is usable not only as they sit at their desks, but also while making rounds and even outside of the office. Ergonomic design is critical, as is battery life that allows for a complete workday without the need to scramble for a power source.
Given that tablets are ultra-mobile and touch-enabled, medical practitioners can perform a variety of tasks more quickly, such as entering information on the tablet during rounds, digitally filing their notes, downloading charts during patient visits and ordering medications directly from the pharmacy. Tablets are designed to be both durable and mobile; many meet military-grade durability standards while remaining light, comfortable and optimized for display and sound. In addition, tablets provide an array of additional features to suit each user’s needs. From attachable keyboards to touch screen pens to extended battery options, medical practitioners are able to, in effect, custom-build a mobile PC that works specifically for their staff and patients.
Medical practices should integrate tablets into offices, as advancements have proven that mobility no longer means hindered efficiency. Tablets are truly at PC-level productivity, giving medical practitioners all the benefits of a PC with the added bonus of mobility.
4. Optimizing slammed schedules
Medical practices are small businesses and must manage back-office duties similar to any other industry. In addition to offering patients the highest level of care, medical office professionals must also manage numerous documents on a daily basis, such as financial files, ever-changing appointment calendars and internal organization processes. According to a recent study, patient no-shows and cancellations represented 31.1percent of scheduled appointments, leaving physicians and staff with unexpected extra time. In order to efficiently manage operations during open time, medical professionals need an effective solution that increases collaboration and improves document management for both patient and internal files, so that the files can be accessed at anytime, from anywhere.
With cloud-based tablets, medical professionals can streamline their processes and utilize all hours of the workday, regardless of unexpected schedule changes. By scanning and using automated data capture to upload files to the cloud, office-based physician practices can improve workflow and efficiently manage downtime.
5. Securely transmit sensitive information
Medical professionals handle protected health information (PHI) on behalf of patients on a daily basis, and recent study results reveal that 81 percent of healthcare organizations are collecting, storing and transmitting some form of PHI via mobile devices to collect. Small businesses, including office-based physician practices, are at higher risk of being targeted for fraudulent activity and data breaches, and as such, medical offices need tablets and cloud solutions with advanced enterprise-grade security.
Physician practices should utilize tablets and a cloud service provider (CSP) that adhere to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to ensure the highest level of security while handling patients’ personal information.
As the medical profession becomes increasingly more interconnected through technology, medical practices are expected to provide members of their team with the solutions needed to increase efficiency. By utilizing cloud-enabled tablets, such as the HP ElitePad 900, integrated with HP Flow CM Professional, physician practices are better equipped to deliver exceptional patient care without sacrificing costs, mobility or security.
Aaron Weiss is the director of marketing for LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions in the Printing and Personal Systems Group of Hewlett-Packard Company. Aaron’s organization is responsible for driving the product and marketing strategy for a portfolio of document management, workflow, capture, mobility, security and fleet management solutions targeting the SMB and enterprise customer segments.