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How to Balance Technology and Patient Care

How To Balance Technology And Patient Care

Today’s healthcare system heavily relies on technology. Almost every health operation requires technology from patient examination to treatment and medicine production. While technology has undoubtedly improved specific aspects of medical work, it’s slowly taking away patient time. Doctors and nurses now spend more time in front of computers entering data than interacting with patients. Health care providers have to work extremely hard to balance patient care and technology to provide quality healthcare for all patients.

Why is Technology Taking Over?

All health care workers today must be both clinically experienced and tech-savvy. With the ongoing challenges in recruitment and retention, it’s essential for doctors to develop the right balance between adequate workflow and technology. Otherwise, an imbalance can potentially lead to dissatisfaction. It’s not easy to achieve this noble goal, and it may actually mean additional training and support as everyone keeps up with the process.

Notably, X-ray, lab, and pharmacy systems are not interoperable, and physicians are under obligation to enter every information into the medical record to address administrative and billing requirements. All this data entry means doctors have very little time to connect with their patients and address their needs. Studies by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine have found that doctors spend only 28 percent of their time on patients and 48 percent on data entry.

How to Create an Appropriate Balance?

The entire idea of incorporating tech in health facilities is to improve patient care. Every patient walks into a health institution hoping to get the best form of treatment technology could offer. Unfortunately, doctors spend more time on computers than physically talking to their patients, which significantly impacts health and wellness outcomes.

On the positive side, patients feel that technology makes processes faster, smoother, and more efficient. They also feel that their records are safer in data systems than on traditional hard copy files. The quick access to medical records helps ensure that patients are not misdiagnosed or given the wrong treatment. While this is good news, doctors still need to spend quality time with their patients. Developing quality communication and building doctor-to-patient relationships creates trust, and patients feel appreciated and respected.

It’s clear that technology is here to stay, and it will significantly benefit the health industry. Medical professionals will still need to juggle data entry and find ample time for their patients. It all comes down to timing.  Doctors can allocate specific time for patient interaction and give time for data entry. Entering data later in the day may not be effective. Instead, they can use the first few minutes entering data such as the symptoms and use the last few minutes for communication.

How Health Professionals Can Provide Proper Patient Care

Communication is a very powerful tool when used appropriately. It can be delivered in facial expressions and other non-verbal cues to convey different messages. Doctors often sympathize with their patients but may not always show this when they’re busy typing and entering data. This kind of attention is quite essential for sensitive and vulnerable patients with severe illnesses or those dealing with emotional or physical losses. Therapeutic touch and effective communication create a sense of security, and it may increase a patient’s confidence when feeling isolated, fearful, and lonely in an unfamiliar environment. Doctors should learn to:

  • Give their full attention to their patients
  • Listen, smile, lean forwards, or even nod or shake their heads gently to show interest.
  • Make eye contact to convey respect and understanding
  • Touch or place a hand on a patients’ shoulder to show care
  • Consider hearing and visual limitations when interacting with patients.

Has technology contributed to faster patient care? Absolutely. That means more time can be created for patient interaction through proper scheduling.  Both doctors and patients greatly benefit from the efficiencies in the systems, which are constantly improved to provide even better health care.

For instance, a doctor doesn’t need to move from their office or send a patient to the lab or pharmacy with a piece of paper because they can communicate virtually with any medical professional in that hospital from their computers. Technology has also made billing--one of the most complex and critical areas of a health care system–more effective and accurate.

Need Help?

At Midland Group, we care about what you care, and that’s why we go out of our way to help you with your insurance claims. Our dedicated team of professionals is trained to handle tools, documents, and rules to submit a proper insurance claim. Feel free to call and schedule an appointment with us.

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