From robotic arms performing surgical procedures to nanorobots administering drugs through the bloodstream, IoT in healthcare is rapidly transforming the industry. Take the field of biomedical informatics, for example, the interdisciplinary approach that uses digital data for scientific inquiry, problem solving and decision-making to improve patient health.
Here are 5 ways biomedical informatics benefits patients and healthcare providers alike:
1. Improving the management and retrieval of electronic patient records
Paper-based medical records are becoming obsolete because it’s difficult to consolidate and transfer them across physicians, specialists, laboratories and hospitals. Electronic health record (EHR) systems, on the other hand, make managing patient records easier and safer. When medical care professionals have immediate access to a medical database, patients no longer have to worry about summarizing their medical history in emergency situations or when they see new doctors—or be concerned about forgetting past physicians’ names or immunization dates. And, if a patient is allergic to a particular medicine, the doctor will know that before prescribing it.
2. Lowering healthcare costs
According to estimates by The Institute of Medicine (IOM), medical errors cost the U.S. approximately $38 billion each year
. Use of health management systems has been shown to lessen errors and eliminate many of the labor-intensive tasks that occupy medical personnel’s time. When routine tasks are automated, the industry saves money and is less prone to errors that can prove costly.
It’s estimated that half of all medical expenditures are squandered as a result of repeat procedures and the often wasted expenses associated with more traditional methods of information sharing and delays or errors in care. When healthcare providers have ready access to electronically connected , much of this waste is eliminated. Lab results reach their destination sooner and care is administered more quickly, reducing errors that can lead to costly malpractice claims.
3. Enhancing patients’ ability to self-manage their illnesses
To improve patient education, specially trained healthcare professionals organize information about what methods and materials will best help patients and motivate them to follow directions about prescriptions and clinicians’ orders.
For example, the CHESS
program implemented in a study by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was proven successful at helping patients with chronic illnesses such as AIDS, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease find access to resources, referrals, health services and care more readily. Designed for personal, in-home use, the tool led to a significant improvement in quality of life compared to patients who only received routine care.
4. Improving the accuracy of health insurance administration
To ensure proper compensation for medical treatments provided under Medicare or Medicaid, medical professionals must document their work in a specific way and then store and record patients’ medical histories using the appropriate electronic forms.
Incorporating health management systems into this process not only speeds the flow of information between healthcare providers and the government, it also improves the standardization of patient information and makes it easier for future healthcare professionals to streamline their own practices. In the end, informatics result in faster file submission—meaning healthcare professionals get reimbursed faster and patients are informed more quickly about what treatments are covered.
5. Safeguarding patient information
Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many medical records were physically locked in secured locations—medical professionals were required to maintain them and protect them from theft. With this method, there’s an inherent risk of the information being tampered with, lost, mishandled or damaged.
Electronic health record systems, on the other hand, offer secure data storage, using advanced computing technologies to encrypt and secure patient data. Notonly is the information housed safely, but patients and medical personnel also have consistent access to it, reducing delays in the delivery of effective, patient-centered care.
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