Aaron Weiss, Director of Marketing for HP LES, shares how healthcare organizations can utilize the cloud to improve operations and the patient experience.
IT decision makers should look to invest in cloud-based document management solutions as they can give administrative employees, nurses and doctors the information they need when handling forms, medication information and patient data. In turn, this helps the patient experience run smoothly, and patients receive the attention they need when asking questions about medications, follow up appointments, ailments and more.
Below are three cloud-based strategies that healthcare organizations should implement in order to improve the patient experience:
Strategy 1: Improve administrative processes – For administrative professionals and assistants working in the healthcare industry, filing, invoicing and everyday “behind the desk” responsibilities fill the majority of their time. By using the cloud to file and update administrative documents, like invoices, forms, prescription/medication information and nurse schedules, administrative professionals can free their time to focus on quality service for patients.
The cloud streamlines administrative healthcare processes by enabling employees to update documents quickly and accurately. When considering a cloud solution, healthcare IT professionals should look for cloud technology that offers optical character recognition (OCR) search technology, allowing administrative professionals to search for content within documents, like invoices that have been uploaded to the cloud, ensuring that invoices and forms are processed correctly. In addition, IT professionals should implement a solution that uses a cost-effective subscription model, allowing the organization to scale the cloud as the need arises. Thus, the organization will only pay for healthcare professionals that need to use and have access to the cloud, reducing costs and also eliminating the need to purchase additional software or hardware.
Tracking when and how healthcare forms and invoices are updated is also important. For this task, healthcare organizations need a cloud service that offers audit trail logging capabilities. This allows supervisors to record and track all activity associated with every file stored on the cloud. No more lost documents, scrawled notes or inaccurately recorded information—the cloud lets users track any changes.
Reward 1: Focus on patients, not paperwork – These features, when included in a cloud solution, give administrative employees the ability to focus on improving the patient experience through quality service. With the cloud, employees can easily manage data and content and free-up time to provide patients with valuable care.
Strategy 2: Secure patient data – One aspect of providing a quality patient experience is a healthcare organization’s obligation to secure patient data. Although this is not an outward-facing obligation, it’s an aspect of patient care that is immensely important. Sharing or leaking protected health information (PHI) without a patient’s consent is not only detrimental to the patient experience; it can also have legal ramifications.
When considering ways to improve the patient experience, healthcare IT professionals should adopt a cloud document management solution that meets security needs. According to a recent study, 81 percent of healthcare organizations are collecting, storing and transmitting some form of PHI via mobile devices.
Reward 2: Continue to ensure quality care for patients – With mobile becoming an everyday part of the healthcare industry, it’s essential that organizations ensure PHI is securely transmitted via the cloud. This not only protects the organization legally, but provides a quality patient experience, even if the patient isn’t always conscious of the service.
Strategy 3: Free up space & save costs – Not all initiatives to improve the patient experience have to directly influence the relationship between a healthcare organization and patient. By focusing on streamlining workflow with the cloud, healthcare organizations can free up space around the office and save costs.
Although some paper processes are still needed—like signed consent forms and certain patient records—many office documents and forms can be managed through the cloud, which can help healthcare organizations save money on purchasing filing cabinets. Instead, healthcare organizations can invest in patient perks and better service. In addition, reducing some paper documents for filing improves the visual appeal of an office and helps eliminate clutter. Plus, filing unneeded paper documents is costly. In fact, the average annual cost of owning and filling a five-drawer filing cabinet is more than $2,000. Adopting the cloud can help healthcare organizations reduce some paper processes, eliminating the need for excessive printing and filing.
Reward 3: Reinvest in patient perks – With a cloud-enabled document management solution in place, healthcare organizations can create more space around the office and use saved costs to improve patient perks. With less bulky filing cabinets, healthcare organizations can make their offices more aesthetically pleasing for visiting patients. Organizations should use savings to upgrade technology features like those that foster a positive patient experience—upgrade the organization’s website or enable patients to make appointments online.
Although the ways that cloud solutions can improve the patient experience are not always outward-facing or traditional patient relationship management tactics, they allow healthcare professionals to do their jobs accurately and efficiently. In turn, medical professionals are given the opportunity to focus on the most important aspect of a healthcare organization’s business—its patients.
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.