Paper has always played a key role in any healthcare scenario. Whether it’s the towering piles of documents perched atop your doctor’s desk, all the important appointment slips you have to remember to bring along or being handed a folder full of prescriptions on your way out. It’s long been an unfortunate truth that a trip to the doctor’s office is likely to involve stacks of paperwork.
This, however, is slowly but surely changing. More and more hospitals and medical clinics on a global scale are beginning to realize the need to go paperless. By digitizing a great number of files and daily processes, medical staff are finding that multiple routine tasks, that used to take up quite a lot of their time, are now completed in a much more efficient manner, meaning that they now have extra time to dedicate to patient care.
More patients than ever are being offered electronic access to their personal records. In addition, they can also run certain errands digitally, such as appointment scheduling or requesting a prescription renewal.
Many healthcare organizations are aiming to achieve a paperless healthcare system in the near future and some have revealed various electronic documentation initiatives, such as increased digital patient care and eprescriptions for 2020 and onwards, in an attempt to accelerate their efforts in digitalizing healthcare operations.
In a sector so heavily influenced by traditional paper files, how can a transition into a paperless healthcare model prove truly beneficial for patients?
Having instant electronic access to personal medical records is extremely beneficial to any patient. The idea of having all their necessary files at their fingertips is certainly reassuring, especially when the information at hand is accessible through any kind of smart device with a connection to the web.
Paperless healthcare also proves beneficial in this way for doctors and nurses. These professionals are guaranteed instant access to a range of vital patient data, which would allow them to make on-the-spot, informed decisions. This would certainly save precious time in any kind of emergency, for example.
Not only will a transition into paperless healthcare cut down on the healthcare industry’s colossal paper costs, but it will also significantly reduce the amount of time that nurses, doctors and administrative staff need to dedicate to filing, organizing and locating printed documents on a daily basis. Digitally managing these documents is done in a fraction of the time.
Effectively, this time that would have been spent on manually filing and organizing can now be put towards other, perhaps more necessary and urgent, tasks, such as patient care. When physicians have extra time to spend on increasing and improving bedside manner and one-to-one care, the levels of patient appreciation and satisfaction increase dramatically, making everyone happier.
Everyone at some point in their life has either lost, forgotten or misplaced a paper document that they urgently needed for an important appointment somewhere or other. Immediate digital access to important files would save the day in these scenarios.
Patients can forget about needing to print out appointment slips or prescription renewal forms. By logging into their medical data platform, any kind of relevant information needed for the day ahead will appear on their screens within seconds. Patients also appreciate having all their up-to-date records, contacts and scheduled appointments grouped together onto one single, intuitive electronic site.
Having looked into the benefits of paperless healthcare, it’s clear to see that patients are sure to benefit in many ways. As generations pass, the average patient will become increasingly comfortable and trusting with technology. As they become more used to the digital format the shift to paperless healthcare will become an easier process to handle.
Given the importance of the utmost document security and confidentiality in the healthcare sector, a 100% transition to only digital operations is unlikely to happen for the time being or in the near future.
Meanwhile, clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities can continue striving to digitalize as many of their files and documents as humanly possible. This is key to any attempt to ensure high-quality patient experiences and to achieve increased satisfaction levels through more paperless operations.