4 Healthcare Management Tips for 2017
Even as basic healthcare services remain consistent, our approach to healthcare management is always evolving. Healthcare managers must always be open to new management trends that impact healthcare delivery in order to advance organizational efficiency.
As you work toward your masters in healthcare administration online, here are some important healthcare management tips that future leaders like you should understand in 2017.
Image via Flickr by NEC Corporation of America
Each year, software systems emerge that have the potential to change the face of healthcare management. New technology can streamline healthcare practices, optimize management, and organize records in more efficient ways, helping healthcare administrators and their patients save time and money. In many cases, technology has allowed patients to access their personal health records via mobile apps. They can make appointments, communicate with doctors, and review medication information all from their smartphones or other mobile devices.
Naturally, the less paperwork involved in the administrative process, the better. In addition, the fewer phone calls that are coming into an office, the more time staff can devote to patient care.
According to HealthIT.gov, Telehealth is the term often used when referring to health information collected and delivered by technology. It describes a broad range of education, management, diagnosis, and other healthcare-related fields, and is often utilized in home health, chronic disease management, counseling, physical therapy, dentistry, and consumer education. Tomorrow’s healthcare administrators must be fully aware of the changing trends in telehealth so that their knowledge remains current.
The Center for Connected Health Policy states that existing telehealth modalities involve four distinct applications:
- Synchronous live video. This real-time delivery service allows two-way interactions between a patient and provider for the purposes of consultative, treatment, and diagnostic services.
- Asynchronous store-and-forward. Health histories are pre-recorded in the form of videos or digital images and then sent to specialists via a secure electronic communication system. This allows doctors to communicate with leading specialists that aren’t located in their communities, giving them immediate access to a broader range of knowledge.
- Remote patient monitoring. The ability to collect and transmit personal health and medical data between locations has made it easier to monitor patients released to their homes or special care facilities. The Center claims remote patient monitoring reduces readmission rates and allows individuals to confidently stay at home without having to make frequent trips to the doctor’s office.
- Mobile health. Health practices supported by mobile communication devices can better promote healthy behaviors and target text messages related to disease outbreaks and other urgent alerts.
Move to Electronic Records
Despite most records moving to electronic databases, the healthcare industry has, to a large extent, continued to rely on paperwork and the traditional filing system. Electronic health records, however, are easier to access and update than paper records, which reduces the amount of time office staff spends on filing, alphabetizing, locating, copying, and adding to patient files.
Transitioning from paper charts to an electronic filing solution can be challenging and time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort. Taking the extra time to create a user-friendly database as soon as possible can provide everyone, including patients, with more benefits.
When making the transition from paper to electronic health records, here are some important decisions to make:
- How long should paper records be available after conversion?
- How can you ensure the stored information is high-quality?
- Which records should be available for patients after the transition?
- Should patients have mobile access to their records?
Moving to electronic records also requires administrators to effectively train their staff, modify schedules during the transition, and anticipate any issues that might occur during the transition. As a new graduate moving into a healthcare administration position in 2017, you may already find your office relies on electronic records. If so, ask yourself if there is any recent technology that would benefit the existing database.
Increase Patient Responsibility
According to The Hill, one of the main tactics for effective healthcare reform is increasing patient responsibility. As healthcare managers and administrators, how can we do this? And why is it so important?
Patients play a bigger role in the state of our healthcare system than most providers will admit. According to a peer-reviewed article by Drs. Frank W. Booth, Christian K. Roberts, and Matthew J. Layne titled “Lack of Exercise is a Major Cause of Chronic Diseases,” increased costs and the rates of chronic illness are often the result of poor choices in diet, movement, and personal healthcare management. As administrators in 2017 and beyond, it’s important to provide patients with the tools they need to take responsibility for their own health.
Naturally, increasing a patient’s healthcare responsibility requires technology such as telehealth and easy access to health records. Health administrators embracing new software and electronic platforms can put patients in touch with their general physicians via smartphone apps, email, and other online services. When a patient has access to her medical records on her smartphone, she can quickly review which medications she’s currently taking, compare past vitals with current ones, and read important messages from the practice.
Administrators can also encourage patient responsibility by hosting health events at their doctors’ offices and hospitals. Nutrition classes, stress-relieving yoga workshops, diabetes education, water aerobics, and other interactive events benefit patients seeking to take charge of their health.
Embrace Social Media
Healthcare administrators in 2017 shouldn’t shy away from social media. While you don’t want to spend mindless hours updating your Facebook at work, social media does have its place in healthcare.
Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it easier for administrators to reach out to patients and connect to the larger community. Hospitals and facilities can provide useful content like videos, infographics, and slideshows to educate the public on health issues. Social media sites can even help practitioners network with other specialists and hospitals.
As more people turn to social media to find like-minded people who share similar health concerns, healthcare managers should also be reaching out to offer support.
These are all important tips to keep in mind as you pursue your Executive Master of Health Administration online. As you work toward a leadership position following graduation, these are all issues you will likely contend with as you enter an ever-evolving healthcare landscape. To learn more about starting your journey to leadership in healthcare, visit University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy today.