Until recently, healthcare providers and hospitals have implemented new technology as an afterthought—an easy mistake when the sensitive nature of the industry demands constant attention. Now, new compliance rules and cyber attacks have forced these organizations to reconsider the way data is managed and exchanged. Some third-party companies have seen the chance to move into a space with numerous opportunities. In particular, the ever-changing nature of compliance law has thrown some of the shortcomings of the industry into sharp relief. In addition, the patient engagement movement has created new reasons for healthcare organizations to invest in technology.
Patient portals have existed for some time, to the point that it’s worth it for many organizations to reevaluate whether theirs work the way they’re supposed to. Portals are intended to be a convenient way for patients to get their critical health information outside of the doctor’s office, but their implementation is flawed.
In the effort to create a personalized space for patients, portals are often seen as an extent of frustrating medical red tape—including generic instructions, unhelpful information, and difficulty of access. Additionally, they provide yet another potential attack surface that care providers must manage to prevent any sort of breach.
The solution may be to consider more mobile patient tools to allow for easy access. The fewer barriers to entry there are for patients, the more likely they are to make use of the information. Whatever the solution, there is a strong need for technology companies to step in and build these tools in a way that is compliant and user-friendly.
Less Is More
While many risk-averse healthcare organizations may balk at completely changing their infrastructure to adapt to changing times, the benefits are significant. Even beyond improved security, adopting tactics such as moving patient information into the cloud can actually help create a better environment for patients. Changing infrastructure is an opportunity to update existing apps and portals.
These tools allow for easier exchange of data, empowering patients to interact with providers without having to go into a hospital. In turn, these organizations can gather valuable data that can enhance their experience further. The modern patient wants to shop around and compare options, and easing this process can cause them to favorably view one organization over another.
Infrastructure Is King
Given the nervousness felt by many organizations at the prospect of updating decades-old systems, it’s always worth emphasizing that they don’t have to do it themselves. Making connections between healthcare organizations and IaaS companies is important—bringing in an expert is better than skimping every time. Infrastructure is important for interactions with both patients and other retailers—given the amount of other organizations that the average healthcare provider will interact with, it pays to have a system that works correctly. Digital transformation is a process, but there’s a misconception that in-house IT has to do all of the heavy lifting. In reality, finding an infrastructure plan adapted specifically to an organization is the best way to move forward.
More Than Just Security
The modern healthcare organization is starting to realize the myriad benefits of updating systems. While data security is still one of the big drives for change, the benefits to patients and providers alike cannot be overstated. It’s up to these groups to take a step forward—or run the risk of being left behind.