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Costs of Technology Deterring Proper Healthcare?

Harvard Business Review recently released an article that looked at the lack of modern technology in hospitals throughout the country.  Though many have made technological upgrades, this article suggests that the equipment they use is still falling short of what could be.  The example used by the author to make this argument is the ventilator that can be programmed to ensure enough life-saving breath, but not so much air as to overinflate lungs.  Obviously, this is a piece of equipment that could play a major role in the recovery and care of many patients, yet it was suggested that it is used in as few as 20% of relevant cases.

This technology is wonderful, for what it can offer to patients in need, but it is also lacking in that it will not communicate with the electronic systems in place at hospitals.  Rather than drawing from the patient profile already stored in the hospital’s system and making the necessary calculations automated, it requires manual calculation and data entry by respiratory therapists or physicians.

Unfortunately, this is only one example of expensive technology falling short of what is really needed in the hospital environment.  This inability for one technology to work with another is nothing new.  Despite all of the advancements made over recent years, there is a lack of cooperation between various technologies in hospitals.  This is starting to change, but the process is slow, and it will very likely require more investment on the part of the hospital to get the new and improved systems.

This is just one area of care that could be improved with advanced technology.  For instance, new hospital beds can sense and record a great deal of data about the patients laying in them.  This can tell the nurses and physicians a great deal about the health status of that person, but the beds are expensive, and many hospitals have avoided upgrading to them simply because it would be a very large investment.

Very often, hospitals face tight budgets that force buying decisions to be made almost entirely based on price.  This improved technology (and the life-saving power that it wields) may have been available sooner, says the Harvard author, had the hospitals had some negotiation power.  With all of the uncertainty related to medical care in this country, it is unclear when the financial situation will improve for hospitals in America, and that, disappointingly, may mean that technology continues to leave much to be desired.

Fortunately, there are companies prepared to help with CMS documentation and claims to increase the likelihood that your medical facility collects everything that is owed, so that it may be at the front of the improved medical technology movement.

Contact our experienced team for more information and assistance.

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