Medical facilities have been working hard to keep up with evolving technologies. Electronic medical records and e-prescribing software are just two examples of how healthcare organizations are trying to improve patient care and keep their companies cost-effective.
One tool that is underutilized though is an answering service. This could ensure that medical facilities have two-way communication available to patients at any time of day. With more options available for email and online contact, this could be highly beneficial.
Additionally, the New England Health Institute emphasized the value of underutilized IT tools, such as computerized physician order entry (CPOE), in a recent report.
The non-profit organization refers to CPOE as "a revolutionary computer application designed to intercept errors where they usually occur – at the time medications and diagnostic tests are ordered. Not only does CPOE automate the order-writing function, it also incorporates clinical decision support during the order-entry process."
However, HIMSS Analytics reported that almost two-thirds of the nation's hospitals have yet to install a CPOE into their repertoire.
According to an InformationWeek Healthcare article by Paul Cerrato, the price of new systems can be a major drawback for medical facilities. Even so, the long term benefits are worth the initial implementation cost, he said.
For example, the NEHI and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative reported that a CPOE that includes robust clinical decision support could reduce adverse medicinal reactions and unnecessary drug and laboratory test use, generating an annual savings to each hospital of $2.7 million.
When medical facilities partner with a third-party answering service, they will gain the benefit of 24/7 communication capabilities with patients. Through phone, email or text messages, individuals can find out information about their personal health records or schedule an appointment.
Medical answering services will also ensure that patients' information stays secure so only professionals, doctors and nurses have access to the data.