Five Considerations for Seamless Exam Room Technology Deployment
Tom Schwieterman, MD, MBA
Many exam rooms are on the forefront of technological advancements with the deployment of electronic medical records (EMRs). Technology has enhanced the quality of care delivered to patients but also introduced new challenges to the provider-patient relationship. As a healthcare provider, you must ensure that the technology you bring into the point of care will improve operational efficiencies without negatively impacting the provider-patient relationship or the quality of care delivered.
Technology integration at the point of care needs to be guided by a roadmap and guardrails that help organizations realize tangible benefits. This approach will enable you to identify digital solutions that leverage the powerful informatics available to create entirely new workflows and dramatic new efficiencies, and help improve clinical outcomes. Following are five considerations vital to help ensure a truly seamless deployment of new technology at the point of care.
- Compatibility - In order to make an informed digital decision, you need to evaluate technologies within the context of your current clinical environment and how it performs, as well as any business objectives and growth strategies. Will existing workflows need to be changed? How does it impact the provider-patient experience? Is it flexible enough for projected growth? What value does it offer to the quality of care provided?
- Exam Room Workflow – When it comes to your point of care workflows, there are two ways to look at the technology in question. First, determine how the technology would fit into your existing workflows. Second, identify whether the technology would help you enhance existing workflows. For instance, real-time locating system (RTLS) technology provides insight into how a clinical environment is performing. RTLS makes capturing accurate workflow data possible, as well as providing a vast amount of retrospective detail.
- Connectivity – Technological advancements are bringing us closer to realizing a fully connected digital ecosystem where point of care processes, equipment and caregivers are integrated to help enhance the care delivery experience for you and your patients. As you look at new technology, identify the level of connectivity it offers and how it will connect with the digital ecosystem you are creating.
- Delivery and Setup – Coordinating equipment and technology deliveries to outpatient facilities is often complicated. Without proper installation or integration, promised performance levels and benefits may fall short of expectations. Research each product and develop a delivery and setup plan. Ask your equipment or technology vendor if they offer delivery setup and/or integration teams that can seamlessly connect the equipment or technology into your unique clinical environment.
- Staff Engagement – It is important to let your staff know what’s coming, answer their questions and address their concerns, and explain the benefits of the technology. Staff engagement also means offering structured, hands-on training with the technology and an opportunity to share feedback during the early stages of implementation. When managed properly, the initial negative reaction some staff may have to the changes introduced by new technologies can be effectively minimized and eventually eliminated.
Dr. Tom Schwieterman practiced family medicine for 12 years before joining the team at Midmark. As vice president of clinical affairs and chief medical officer, he leads the company’s focus on innovative technology and new approaches that enrich experiences between caregivers and their patients at the point of care.