Innovation is changing health care as we know it

April 25, 20173 Minute Read

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Health care innovation is reaching peak velocity. Wearable and IoT tech is helping researchers discover how patients respond to health incentives. For instance, algorithms can balance a patient’s individual data with massive bodies of research to create customized treatment plans. The coming years will only bring infusions of venture capital funds to health care innovation, driving even more new developments.

Innovation by IT teams in health care settings may not receive the same level of press as disruptive startups, but it just might have a bigger impact on all of us. Despite the opportunity to drive real change, IT pros at health organizations are forced to juggle some steep obstacles.

Health provider innovation isn’t simple

Compliance and risk management aren’t getting cheaper. The Ponemon Institute’s last benchmark study found that 90 percent of health organizations suffered a security incident—and 45 percent of organizations suffered five or more data breaches. The health industry alone suffered at least one data breach every day last year.

Health providers are typically slow to innovate—it’s not easy to drive change with so many competing priorities for limited resources. You can also blame cultural barriers and skepticism of tech innovation. But not all powerful innovation requires your organization to be the first case study. As it turns out, printing is at the forefront of health innovation. In many cases, organizations are using printing tech to drive massive improvements.

3D patient care planning

There’s some really exciting applications of 3D printing in research labs worldwide. The Harvard Business Review writes that researchers discovered how to print skin for burn victims and a bionic ear with superhuman capability to hear radio frequencies. There’s also work being done on biodegradable implants, which could cure bone cancer. 3D printing with existing tech is making a massive difference today—they’re even printing life-sized models of patient’s hearts for better surgical planning.

While this technology may not be ready for your health organization to implement next quarter, the FDA approved the first 3D-printed prescription drug in the past year. Advancements in policy and the availability of RX-capable 3D printers can lead to new possibilities in drug therapies designed specifically for a patient’s individual health information.

Real-time printing for patient outcomes

From a health provider’s point of a view, your patients are your customers. Your tech innovation needs to reduce security risks and comply with regulatory requirements, but it should also improve the patient experience. As it turns out, 83 percent of patients value better communication as part of their experience. This demands empathetic providers, clear information, and convenience in every interaction.

The HP Sprocket can potentially introduce new possibilities into a better patient experience. This pocket-sized printer can make 2-inch by 3-inch stickers from any smartphone, allowing providers to print off convenient reminders or QR codes for patients prescribed one of the 36 FDA-approved mobile health apps. Telemedicine now enables providers to monitor patient outcomes through mobile devices, with approved options for monitoring patient glucose, cardiac arrhythmia, lung function, and pediatric temperature.

Using the Sprocket as a gateway to mobile health and telemedicine isn’t the only possible application of pocket-sized mobile printing. It can also help in-home healthcare providers meet their organization’s requirements for leaving patient reminders. You can even print prescriptions or patient reminders to pick up their medications.

Health care innovation gets smart

Driving change with technology at your health organization doesn’t mean you need to become an early adopter of ultra-complex upgrades. With competing pressures and limited resources, the most successful providers focus on low-risk, high-reward ways to use proven tech for a better patient experience.

Clearly, mobile printing can improve the efficiency of internal communications. 3D printing packs the potential for more precise patient care planning, while pocket-sized, sticker printing can help providers quickly connect patients with mobile health or other need-to-know info and reminders. The right type of innovation for care providers focuses on driving efficiency while improving patient outcomes and overall satisfaction.

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