How IT and data can support your medical practice

20 April, 2015

IT and data support can be a strategic tool at your practice. Not only can it help your practice run smoothly and more efficiently, it can also improve your patienTs' experience with your practice.

You can use IT to streamline your processes, connect with other treating doctors and enhance your medical records. By adding an IT system to support the way you manage patient data, you will find a few surprising benefits for your practice.

Secure patient information

Managing patient records electronically assists the security of the sensitive nature of patient information. Passwords, firewalls and restricted access make it more difficult for third parties to access information.

Keep in mind, IT systems can occasionally be hacked into and accessed. A recent survey found 26 per cent of health care respondents reported their organisation had experienced a data breach. Patient information needs to be protected, so keeping your staff educated about data protection and regularly updating anti-virus software is critical.

Manage your patients

Practice efficiency is essential to ensure you see your patients in a timely manner. Using the right IT systems and processes, your staff can appropriately schedule appointments, send referrals and ensure tests aren't unnecessarily repeated.

If your patient experiences a drug reaction or event, data available from your medical records can assist. The data could also be analysed to prevent future events from occurring by identifying causal links to other patients.

Cost efficiency

Over half of the respondents for the annual Leadership Survey of healthcare IT systems said IT reduced healthcare costs and supported their overall business and financial models. Although investing in IT staff and equipment can mean an initial costly outlay, these results are encouraging for the long-term investment benefits.

Improve patient services

Your practice can focus on producing services that are specific for patient populations. Patients who live in rural or remote locations can be monitored and managed using IT systems that link to other healthcare providers.

IT can assist with communications, transfer of patient records and exchange of results. By considering how your systems will benefit patient populations, you may find an improvement in overall patient satisfaction.

Electronic billing

Private health insurance payments can be difficult to chase up. But with electronic billing systems integrated with your IT system, you can receive payments faster and more efficiently.