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Doctor visits are important for anyone, but particularly for people who have a disability. It’s wise to check in regularly to prevent future complications and determine what lifestyle adjustments will provide you with the best quality of life. But those visits can take up hours to get through, and often, you have to schedule an appointment weeks in advance.
For years, it’s seemed like the healthcare industry refused to adopt new processes to streamline its patient flow; however, in recent years, healthcare clinics have taken great strides forward by allowing patients to set appointments and even check in on-line, by implementing workflow software to prevent traffic jams and shorten the time patients have to wait to see the doctor, and by making records much more easy to store and access. In recent years, the healthcare industry has also taken some initiatives that are particularly beneficial to their patients with a disability, streamlining the process and easing the burden of receiving proper medical care.
Electronic Medical Records
Often, a patient with a disability will have to see more than one doctor. As healthcare providers commit to a digital format for their medical records, it is easier for those physicians to share information. With paper records, the patient has to fill out the same forms at every new office they visit—a time-consuming process that really isn’t necessary anymore. Imaging companies have developed new tools to share x-ray and radiology images between offices. This permits doctors to share those images both between departments in the same medical complex and even between different hospitals and medical practices. It is becoming simpler, now, for doctors to share test results and imaging with each other, freeing their patients from having to answer the same questions over and over. At the same time, this allows doctors to keep an eye on the treatments and medications the patient has been prescribed by all of their doctors, preventing the physicians from giving conflicting, and possibly even harmful, recommendations.
Intelligent Monitoring Systems
Many healthcare providers have implemented intelligent systems in their offices, allowing workers to access data and processes across internal departments and share records with other offices within the same system. This shortens wait times and improves patient care, because the physician has a more complete picture of the patient’s health in front of them. Intelligent systems are also being used to monitor patients and simplify home care, as well. Blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors, and other monitoring devices can take measurements and immediately upload that data to the cloud, where patients can have it automatically delivered to both physicians and family members. Patients can set up alerts, as well, to warn family members if something is amiss—if the patient’s blood sugar drops dangerously low, for example.
Medical clinics and emergency responders have recently discovered that by following “lean” production processes similar to those used in the manufacturing industry, they can significantly reduce the time required to respond to emergencies like strokes. The philosophy originated with the Japanese manufacturing industry and emphasizes determining what parts of the process add value by reducing everything else. Medical departments can use workflow software alongside their efforts to trim the fat and keep things moving smoothly and efficiently.
By cutting out the excess and streamlining their workflow, medical teams have been able to reduce “door-to-needle” times by almost half, from 93 to 55 minutes. This provides healthcare workers with more time and opportunity to perform MRIs, which take longer than CT scans but also provide more information, such as where the stroke is, how extensive the damage and blockage is, and what brain tissue is at risk. This information helps workers to determine which type of treatment would be most effective for the patient.
Healthcare doesn’t need to be a chore, and companies are developing new tools to ease the experience every day. As time moves on, they will make more developments. Hopefully, if things continue to go well, people will no longer feel a sense of dread as they anticipate visiting their healthcare provider.