Healthcare professionals yet to harness full potential of e-health records – report

Many healthcare professionals are using digital technology such as electronic health records, but are yet to harness its full potential, according to a new report.

The Philips Future Health Index 2019 is based on primary research conducted across 15 countries and explores the experiences of healthcare professionals.

It measures progress made by digital health technology against four aims – improved patient experience, better health outcomes, improved staff experience, and lower cost of care.

Evolutions and developments in technology such as digital health records, telehealth, and artificial health could lead to better health outcomes and reduced costs, paving the way toward the quadruple aim.

The report found that healthcare professionals are adapting to new ways of working and beginning to recognise benefits of digital healthcare for themselves and their patients.

The report found that 80% of healthcare professionals have shared patient information electronically with healthcare colleagues inside their facility.

But less than a third (32%) have shared patient information electronically with other healthcare professionals outside their facility.

Many healthcare professionals felt supported by digital health records, but it did not improve experiences for everyone.

For instance based on more than 2,200 responses, 69% said that quality of care had been improved by digital technology, and 64% said satisfaction for healthcare professionals had improved.

But improvements in outcomes for patients were not as marked, with 59% reporting that the technology improved outcomes for patients.

Across the countries surveyed, telehealth is becoming increasingly common, with only 39% of healthcare staff saying they do not use the technology in their practice or hospital.

Healthcare professionals are gradually becoming comfortable with artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology.

They are most comfortable using the technology for administrative tasks such as scheduling, according to the report.

But there were fewer instances of AI being used in other areas – 45% of those surveyed said they use it to action treatment plans, 47% use it in diagnosis, and 47% use it to recommend treatment plans.

AI was used by 59% of those surveyed to flag anomalies, 63% used it for patient monitoring, and 64% used it for staffing and patient scheduling.

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