Everyone in the healthcare field seems to be feeling the pressure of new systems, processes, and technologies popping up across the board. Some advocate telemedicine and smartphone apps while others shudder to see their beloved industry succumb to the world of inter-connectivity.
Historically, the healthcare field has lagged far behind in technology. When I began working in healthcare in 1988, clinics were still largely without any form of computerized systems and most hospitals only used computers for billing purposes. Staff had to type out insurance forms; communication between clinics and hospitals took time and dedication.
Slowly but surely Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and others began implementing electronic ways of filing. Even so, it was 1993 before I laid eyes on an electronic medical record (EMR) that had been brought over from Europe. I was sure the whole world would switch to the EMR model, yet here we are still trying to figure it out!
The good news is that the healthcare industry is finally catching up in technology. The bad news is that catch-up is a painful process. Over twenty-five years ago, doctors and hospital staff were hesitant to consider moving to computer systems – even ones that would enable them to schedule patients, file insurance, and generate statements more easily. People always resist change. Yet, the change to computerized systems eventually allowed even the smallest clinics to become more productive and robust in what they could accomplish for patient health and well-being.
The same can be counted on today. Though new technologies and processes within clinics and hospitals may seem on the front-end like an unnecessary pain, another ten to fifteen years will prove their worth. However difficult the transition seems right now, I am confident healthcare will be better able to care for and support every person who walks through the doors – or logs in online.
So whether you’re a tech expert excited about the trends developing in healthcare or an established practitioner wary of change, know that two things are certain: change is here to stay, and we will be better because of it.