How can technology help in the reduction of healthcare costs?

With the healthcare industry becoming vaster and more complex, the need to use modern technology cannot be ruled out. In order to make processes more efficient, thereby reducing costs incurred due to common errors, most organizations are relying on high quality healthcare IT programs.

Common issues in the healthcare industry
The biggest issue plaguing the healthcare industry is medical errors. In the united states alone over 2,00,000 deaths are caused every year due to medical errors making it the 3rd most common cause of death after heart issues and cancer. These errors are due to wrong diagnosis, errors with treatment, errors with medication, mismanaged reports and a lot more.

The reason for these errors lies in the fact that the healthcare industry grapples with a humungous quantity of data that is constantly changing. It can become a challenge for healthcare professionals to keep track of this medical knowledge and information that is so dynamic.

Second, the workflow within an organization can be very complex. Besides the personnel within the organization there are several collaborations that need to work in sync with one another to provide treatment that is free from any error. If this is not streamlined, miscommunication and mishandling of information occurs, reducing the quality of treatment.

Third, medical practices need to be standardized. In the current scenario, whether it is the treatment plan or the terminologies used, there is no standard that is followed. This difference can lead to improper healthcare plans that can cost an organization a lot of money to correct and sometimes, cover up errors that could have been prevented quite easily. This is where technology can benefit healthcare organizations tremendously.

Areas that need implementation of technology
There are three areas where technology needs to be implemented across all healthcare segments:

Storage of information: Before the use of computers, information was stored in large files that required additional data storage rooms. It was impossible to update information from another country or even another hospital. Medical research has made it possible to access information not only for better treatment but also for research and records by medical journals.
Retrieval of information: Today, you have technology such as Computer Provider Order Entry systems and Clinical Decision Support Systems that help you gain access to any new medical trend in any part of the world. These programs are extremely sophisticated making it possible to analyze a given situation and work in accordance with the processes of a healthcare organization avoiding mistakes like data duplication, mismatch etc.
Communication of information: When you have several medical personnel working with one another to deliver healthcare plans, it is necessary to be able to transmit information accurately irrespective of the distance or the time. Without this, the expenses borne by patients can be high due to an increased time period just to exchange information. With electronic health records and hospital information systems, it is possible to transfer information without errors.

Cost reduction with technology
There are five main processes that can become more efficient with technology:

Patient diagnosis
Patient monitoring
Medical procedures
Reduction in care cycles
Coordination of resources.

This means that the organization of information and the actual treatment becomes more efficient, allowing patients to be treated faster, thereby reducing costs.

With technology, it is possible to classify different illnesses into a diagnosis-related group that sets a limit on how much the treatment of a certain illness can cost when the treatment is compared to the quality of life of a patient. This helps control any surge in the costs that is usually caused by med tech, pharma tech and bio tech used to treat the clinical symptoms of a disease.

Any technology that is implemented should be studied and analyzed continuously to understand how it behaves in different situations and under various patient situations.

With these trials, it is possible to extract more data and upgrade technology to provide solutions that are more feasible and more cost effective.

It is true that some treatments will remain expensive based on the symptoms being treated. However, innovation in healthcare technology helps cut costs where needed and also keep track on different areas that lead to increased expenses for the patient and the organization.