When it comes to delivering patient care through mobile technology and internet enabled services, hospitals and U.S. physicians are still in the digital dark ages. This lag between technology and healthcare providers is costing U.S. hospitals an estimated $8.3 billion annual hit in lost productivity and increased patient discharge times, according to a Ponemon Institute survey of 577 health care professionals.
The major concerns hospitals are facing is to stronghold patient privacy. Due to the mainstreaming of social media, patient health information security concerns are peaking and federal rules impose steep fines for violating patient privacy.
The study revealed that clinicians waste an average of 46 minutes per day waiting for patient information. The main reasons: reliance on inefficient pagers, no Wi-Fi access, deficient e-mail and bans on use of personally owned devices. That adds up to a productivity loss of $900,000 per year for the typical hospital — or more than $5.1 billion annually across the health care industry.
Hospitals fritter away an additional $3.2 billion by continuing to rely on clunky communications systems as part of the patient discharge process. An estimated 37 minutes of the average discharge time of 102 minutes is due to waiting for hospital staff to respond with information necessary for the patient’s release. This lengthy discharge process costs the U.S. hospital industry $3.2 billion annually in lost revenue, the study found.
“If the technology was a little better and less restrictive, that’s where the value add would occur,” says Larry Ponemon, of the Ponemon Institute. “The goal is to maximize face time with patients. I think that could be achieved by having better technology.”
Under a federal program referred to as “Meaningful Use,” doctors can get reimbursed for demonstrating increased adoption and use of electronic medical records.