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Digital healthcare: is it a myth or reality?

Digital healthcare: is it a myth or reality?

Digital transformation could solve healthcare challenges created by legacy, paper-based processes

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Most NHS sites hold patient data on a variety of media, such as paper, microfilm and digital. This makes it difficult to identify all the information that is held about a given patient, resulting in difficulties in maintaining patient medical records and increased risk, leaving patients and clinicians at a disadvantage.

Cost effective solutions based on electronic document and records management (EDRM) technologies enable healthcare providers to embrace a culture of compliant information management and deliver digital healthcare. 

The core technology has been around for over 35 years and is in use across many sectors. Lessons have been learned and systems have become more affordable so that they are now delivering real and measurable benefits. 

Healthcare providers are using EDRM to improve efficiencies by minimising dependencies on paper, delivering the electronic record directly to those who provide care, and by guaranteeing the accuracy and quality of information delivered.

These institutions have also realised benefits in terms of security, access and control. Digitising patient records makes it much easier to control access and sharing.

EDRM is a catalyst for healthcare innovation. The vast amount of information that has previously been locked in paper records is now being transformed into actionable data. IT systems can now understand and analyse the content, and deliver it to those who need it. 

But digital records have now become more important than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital technologies are helping to reduce face-to-face contact, protecting patients and staff from increased risk of infection. A physical medical record is usually handled 12-18 times before, during and after a consultation. Digitising records and notes not only minimises this handling, but it also ensures patient information is always available. As such, it can support remote consultations and virtual clinics, which in themselves reduce unnecessary outpatient visits, and save time and money. 

Beyond the direct threat of Covid-19, digital solutions ensure that delivery of care to other patients can continue, which can reduce pressures later on and minimise revenue losses.

Digital technologies in healthcare are no longer just predictions. We have access to real data that makes a very compelling argument to go digital. So, the question is: why isn’t everyone doing it? 

Vijay Magon is the managing director at CCube Solutions

This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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