The Digitization of the Healthcare Industry
The healthcare industry handles an unsurprisingly large amount of data on a daily basis – patient records, test results, analyses, consent forms, research material, etc. Before computers were introduced into the workforce, healthcare workers had to keep track of all data on paper. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. Well, sort of.
It’s true that when you walk into most clinics or hospitals, your information (i.e., name, phone number, address) is entered and saved in their computer’s database. But what happens to your test results? Your doctor’s medical notes? Your medical history? Unfortunately, this data is still kept on paper in many healthcare institutions and not transferred to an easily accessible electronic database.
So how do we solve this problem? Digitizing most processes would definitely be a step in the right direction. Having all patient records saved in a secure electronic database is way more efficient than having paper folders and filing cabinets – it’s easier to search for and find information, and it helps keep everything organized.
Healthcare workers can save all their written data in PDF format and rest assured the documents will be kept safe. They can add passwords and set permission levels to ensure extra security. It’s even possible to merge all relevant PDF files for a given patient into a single file so that searching for and finding specific information about that patient can be done within seconds.
Sure, paper documents are easily accessible… if you haven’t misplaced them or if they’re right in front of you. But if you save electronic data, you simply need to do a quick search to find what you are looking for. Healthcare professionals can carry around tablets to maintain electronic health records, and they won’t have to worry about losing the data because they can automatically save it in their database.
The healthcare industry can also adopt the use of cloud storage services, which means the data would be accessible online, through any web browser. Some PDF software such as Soda PDF have cloud services integrated within the app, so you can send your PDF files directly to your preferred cloud storage.
PDF software are often equipped with tools such as PDF/A converters that make long-term archiving possible. With the amount of patient data the healthcare industry manages, archiving is not only useful, but necessary.
The PDF/A format has specific requirements to make sure whatever software is used in the distant future will be able to support the file and display all its contents properly. This is especially useful for the healthcare industry because it is extremely cumbersome to have to keep every patient’s medical records long-term. If everything is kept in an electronic database, it does not take up any physical space, therefore data can be kept for a much longer period of time.
Communicating with patients
Another innovative way to improve the industry’s processes is having web portals clients can access to view their profiles, book appointments online, and download helpful guides (e.g., information relating to pregnancy, parenting, dieting, exercising, dealing with certain diseases, etc.).
Some healthcare institutions may also send out newsletters that patients might be interested in, so it’s always a good idea to have a mailing list people can sign up to.