Legacy IT and the healthcare sector: help or hindrance?

IT departments have been seen as an obstacle in healthcare because they were not prepared for the modern shift in technology. Many healthcare practises are still using paper-based technology, such as faxes and paper records which have not yet been digitised, forcing patients to wait longer or lose their records altogether.

The healthcare sector has been facing a rude awakening as most of its traditional needs shift from paper-based services to digital ones. The industry is lagging behind due to its fading and outdated IT, and has to look for other ways to keep up with the changing times.

As they get more complex, legacy IT systems are becoming harder to maintain. In many cases, these legacy systems could actually become a hindrance towards improving patient care.

Do legacy systems make processes easier?

Legacy IT has helped healthcare systems manage processes, reduce expenses, and provide solid service. Legacy IT systems in the healthcare industry have made sure that critical tasks were completed in a timely manner with accuracy. As a result of this efficiency, many hospitals remain reliant on these systems even though they are becoming obsolete.

However, as the sector moves towards digital transformation, many companies are struggling to make the transition.

In the past, hospitals have needed to rely on legacy technology that has become increasingly unable to keep up with advances in healthcare. These systems have been ideal for handling large volumes of data and processing them at scale, but they lack the responsiveness required to keep up with new developments in medicine and the number of patients coming through the door.

As a result, doctors must spend time waiting for analysis by these systems or manually inputting data into them. This is not only tedious and difficult, but poses a risk – if doctors lose focus while inserting data into these systems, then it could lead to human error or even patient harm.

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Legacy systems need to be modernised

The healthcare sector is one of the most vulnerable when it comes to lack of access to information. This is largely because there are many legacy IT systems that are unable to keep up with the changes in technology.

Health practices often make the mistake of thinking that switching to more modern IT infrastructure would be too hard and costly. This is largely because upgrading the systems can be time-consuming and complicated.

However, outdated architecture is actually costing much more money and smothering healthcare workers with inflexible workflows and processes that simply don't play well with the modern tech resources patients are beginning to expect.

A recent study revealed that only 52% of health practices are beginning to spend on more modern technology solutions that support virtual and remote healthcare management, such as telehealth, mobile apps, and online payment.

If a legacy system doesn’t allow healthcare workers access to current patient information and data, it would be extremely problematic. It’s essential that doctors and other healthcare workers have the most up-to-date information so they can make the best possible decisions.

With an increasing number of patients relying on digital technologies for everything from appointments to treatments, it has become imperative for hospitals to shift their focus from legacy IT to modern technologies that can help them improve patient care and revenue generation.

Time for healthcare IT to modernise

Healthcare organisations need to make sure that they are able to deliver on a much more efficient and easier way. This will reduce hospital wait times and allow for better outcomes for patients.

By implementing new technology – like telehealth services and cloud-based medical software – organisations will have a better understanding of their customers and ensure that they are meeting people’s needs.

The ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that many practises have had to swiftly move to remote patient care. Modern technology has played a vital role in this; tech like virtual meetings for patient check-ups, or wearable devices like Fitbits and heart-rate monitors, have allowed doctors to stay in touch with their patients without breaking any lockdown restrictions.

Adopting cloud-based solutions to meet their patients’ needs means healthcare practises have the ability to scale up or down rapidly as needed, making it easier for them to manage resources and deliver high-quality services. This helps organisations streamline operations by moving away from using siloed IT systems that are difficult to integrate with one another.

This also creates an environment where organisations can easily rebrand and pivot without having to go through hefty investments in technology.

Healthcare organisations can reduce costs by moving away from legacy IT systems which are expensive and require maintenance.

Modernise with the IT experts

As the world became more digitised, the need for efficient and fast-responding healthcare IT organisation is more important than ever before.

If the IT infrastructure your healthcare business uses in its day-to-day tasks is in danger of becoming obsolete and you want to begin the shift towards modernisation and digitisation, talk to the IT experts.

The digital transformation specialists at Essential Tech will endeavour to understand your business from the ground up in order to recommend the best technology solutions to help you move forward. Talk to them today and get started.

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