New technologies are readily available in the health care arena and with each day, the capabilities of these new technologies become richer and more accessible. The following are highlights of technologies that are reshaping and complimenting the role of the health care manager.
Wireless access has truly placed patient care at the bedside. Access to health information and documentation is no longer restricted by cables and wiring. Wireless makes point-of-access care available in all areas of a health care facility and avoids the centralized documentation stations of yesterday. Documentation and access to health information is occurring on the move in health care facilities across the nation and world.
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
The opportunities that the Electronic Health Record (EHR) provides to health care managers include ease of access, multi-user access, and simplification of data entry. In an EHR, all users, including health care providers, ancillary staff, and health information staff, can be simultaneously accessing the same piece of health information for one unique patient.
This simultaneous access expedites treatment care decisions by allowing health care providers to visualize pertinent health care data from all areas of the hospital including medical imaging, pathology, laboratory, etc. in a real-time fashion — all while medical record coding is occurring and the revenue cycle for the health care facility is ensured.
Tele-health is the transmission of health care data via telephonic means and results from the placement of health care devices within the patient’s home. Health care devices, which may measure blood pressure, blood glucose, pulse oximetry, weight, and more, periodically measure the desired piece of data at a pre-set time interval, and then automatically transmit the result to the patient’s health care provider. This automatic and remote health data measurement then allows the health care provider to make treatment and care decisions.
This health care provision allows us to overcome the actual distance between health care provider and patient. With tele-health, we can increase accessibility to health care for the rural patient, and reduce and even eliminate travel time as well as patient wait time that would have otherwise been spent in the health care provider’s waiting room.
Biometrics provides security access for electronic records and electronic patient data documentation. It provides ease of access to multiple computerized patient care systems all at once and removes the burdensome need of creating and memorizing multiple log-ins and passwords. Health care managers in nursing, laboratory, medical imaging, surgery, health information, and more, are benefitting from this exhilarating technology. An example of biometrics is fingertip scanning, which is now being done with convenient and easy to use “mouse scanners.”
Personal Health Records (PHR)
The Personal Health Records (PHR) provides commonly accessible health information to all the health care providers in which the patient comes in contact. Health information could include a health history, surgical history, current and past medications, and treatments, and would be a lifelong resource used in patient care decisions.
PHRs are maintained in a secure web-based environment and only the patient can approve access. And as an alternative to the web-based approach, the PHR may also be uploaded to an easy-to-take-along CD. The provision of a portable, complete, lifelong health data portfolio expedites and simplifies patient treatment for the mobile and traveling American patient.
About the Author: Denise Van Fleet MSc, RHIA currently works for Rasmussen College’s School of Allied Health and is the Health Information Technician Program Coordinator at the Rockford campus, one of three colleges in Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University’s Health Information Administration program and earned her Master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Health Care Administration. She has 20 years of professional working experience in several areas including Quality Improvement, Medical Coding, HIM management and HIPAA compliance.