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Digital Healthcare Tools You Need to Know About in 2022

By Anna Mueller, MS31 Jan 2022

As healthcare advances, so does the use of digital healthcare tools. Hospitals, healthcare providers, and patients can now easily access health data remotely, at home, and on mobile devices. Digital healthcare tools have helped improve treatment quality and the cost-effectiveness of healthcare for both providers and patients. Some digital healthcare tools include:

Electronic Health Records (EHR)

According to the 2019 National Electronic Health Records Survey, about 89.9% of healthcare providers use electronic health records. EHRs store and convey the most sensitive, up-to-date patient data. They can also store patient signatures obtained via blockchain signature and patient engagement or experience surveys for feedback. Healthcare providers may also use clinically intelligent natural language processing (NLP) to extract patient data from digital healthcare tools quickly, increasing efficiency and patient satisfaction.

Remote patient monitoring

Outside of a hospital or clinic, remote patient monitoring uses technology to track and respond to a continuous stream of patient data. This type of telemedicine is best used for monitoring patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension. This digital health tool helps the medical provider dispatch emergency services if required.

Computerized provider order entry

Computerized provider order entry systems may replace the traditional paper-based ordering system. They enable doctors to write, send, and maintain treatment orders like laboratory tests or prescription requests.

Referral trackers

A referral tracking system allows healthcare practitioners to keep track of their patient referrals. It establishes a direct contact line between two medical practices and makes it easier for doctors and specialists to stay in touch while caring for patients.

Patient portals

Patient online portals allow patients to keep track of their doctor's visits, billing, test results, payments, and prescriptions. It may enable them to connect with their doctors in real-time and schedule additional visits. The goal of using digital healthcare tools like electronic health records is to allow clinicians to manage patient care more effectively. However, the question remains: "How secure is the stored information?"

Combating Cybersecurity Issues

Digital health tools are goldmines for cyberattacks. In fact, since 2010, the number of data breaches in the healthcare industry has increased, causing some patients to become uncomfortable with newer digital health technologies.

To lower the risk of unauthorized access to digital health tools, hospitals invest in these solutions:

Quality IT and IT infrastructure

Hospitals must ensure quality IT personnel and infrastructure such as hardware platforms, software applications, operating systems, and networking and telecommunication are in place. Although challenging, well-maintained configuration management reduces the risk for a cyberattack.

Multifactor authentication and administrative privileges

Hospitals may issue administrative privileges that are regulated and restricted to certain employees. They may also monitor for unusual activity and site logs. Direct web access on important devices may also be blocked when necessary. Enforce frequent password changes and the adoption of multifactor authentication for all users, especially administrative and privileged users.

Staff training

Since most cyberattacks are the result of human error, health institutions' cybersecurity strategies should consider the importance of boosting awareness through ongoing training. Of course, this is not a guarantee of safety, but it's a start in the right direction.

Risk-based approach

The risk of an attack on electronic health records will always exist, even with good IT infrastructure, processes, a proactive approach, and information security measures, so stay current on how to protect your data.

Being proactive through prevention

Preventing cyberattacks is critical. Regular system updates and reporting any suspicious occurrence may reduce the chance of device vulnerability to attacks.

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