One of the main barriers to innovation in the medical sector is the cost. Many healthcare institutions balk at the idea of implementing new systems due to the belief that the initial costs of implementation will stretch their budgets too far, which means that they are unable to offer the quality of care that they would normally aim to achieve.
This issue is compounded by the budget cuts that many such facilities are currently undergoing, where cutting costs takes precedence over introducing new innovations, regardless of what they may be.
This is a dangerous road to go down in terms of patient care, but instead of focusing on that it is also important to examine how innovation, when applied properly, can actually go a long way towards saving medical institutions money, thus allowing them to provide a better level of service while also cutting long term costs.
Healthcare administrators face a system of conflicting goals in the current marketplace. Despite the industries constant drive towards innovation in all aspects of treatment, the recent round of austerity cuts have made it harder to bring these innovations to patients, regardless of how much they can improve care.
This has led to many administrations taking the decision to stick with current systems, perhaps taking an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it response.” However, this ignores the issue that many of today’s healthcare delivery systems, particularly in regards to appointments and obtaining accurate patient records, are inefficient and costly.
Under current systems, patients suffering from chronic ailments are often required to record data that their medical professional won’t see until they have an appointment arranged. In many cases, this appointment simply involves the doctor looking over the records and prescribing the same level of treatment as before, making the entire system inefficient. This wastes money by tying the doctor up when they could be working on a more vital issue, while also causing issues with the patient who will often have to take time off work to attend such appointments.
On the flipside, such systems also do not allow for reactive care. If a patient’s condition is slowly deteriorating and the patient themselves is unaware of what is happening, their medical professional is often unaware until the day of the appointment as well. This leads to delays in treatment methods being implemented and, in some cases, may lead to a requirement for more costly treatment as a delayed reaction after letting a problem go too far due to the current system
As such, the “if it isn’t broke,” line of thinking does not mesh with the reality of the current situation. Patient care can be massively improved using some of the innovations that today’s technology is more than capable of, plus money can be saved through proper implementation of such innovations.
Hospitals have used and maintained computerised records for many years now, with the shift towards them being one of the key changes in medicine in the last fifty years.
Today society is undergoing another shift. Computers are no longer restricted to desktops and laptops, as the advent of mobile technology has created an environment where practically everybody has a computer in the palm of their hands. Said devices can also be linked up to existing systems, thus paving their way to being implemented by medical institutions without the need to completely do away with the systems that are already in place.
In short, some simple innovation in mobile technology can allow for more effective and cost-efficient care, with mobile apps lying at the centre.
Mobile applications are something that practically every smartphone user is aware of. Whether it’s a little game that they have downloaded to pass the time or an app that allows them to take better care of their finances, practically everybody uses mobile apps in one form or another.
This familiarity should be taken advantage of in the healthcare sector, with apps that are used to provide more information to patients in addition to opening up communication channels that allow for a better flow of data between patient and doctor. This, in turn, allows for more reactive care while also reducing the inefficiencies in regards to mandatory appointments that often tie doctors up and prevent them from doing other work.
To put it as bluntly as possible, mobile apps can free up doctors’ time so that it can be used more effectively, thus allowing their place of employment to get more service for the money that they spend.
The issue is that many medical institutions have been slow to adopt mobile technology, despite the fact that many of the innovations required to make it work to their advantage are already in place.
Part of this, as mentioned earlier, is an issue of initial cost. Mobile app development is not free and many institutions are wary of spending their money on something that they have not used before.
This unfamiliarity with mobile apps as applied to healthcare is also an issue. While the people involved in such decision making will likely be aware of mobile applications through their personal use, being able to make the decision to turn them to their advantage on a business level can be much more intimidating.
This is the barrier that is currently being faced when considering the adoption of mobile technology in the healthcare sector. However, that is not to say that progress is not being made. Some institutions have implemented, or are at least trialling, such mobile innovations and finding that they are able to deliver spectacular long term results. The reduction in inefficiencies alone soon pays for such technology, after which time the technology simply proceeds to save more money for the institution without requiring severe cost-cutting measures that damage patient care.
It is important to balance new innovations with the current economic climate, however, it is also important to consider developments that could be used to the long term benefit of your institution and the NHS as a whole. If you would like to open discussions with us about how our mobile app development team could help you use mobile technology that improve your services, please give us a call on 024 7615 8240 or contact us via our website for a free consultation.