How to stay on top of healthcare innovations?
Innovations in healthcare are essential because they allow medical facilities to provide a higher level of care. Being knowledgeable about innovations is important for any size facility or care center. Healthcare leaders must ensure that the facilities they manage stay up-to-date on technology and innovations in treatment that can ensure their patients are getting the high level of care they deserve.
Here are a few steps healthcare providers can take to stay on top of healthcare innovations:
Numerous medical journals, newsletters, and sites publish current studies that can be utilized for information on the latest news in the medical industry. Online journals are helpful because they allow medical professionals to search for studies and articles specific to certain areas of medicine, procedures, and more.
Even just reading for 30 minutes to an hour every week will provide a lot of insight that can be considered for your medical facility.
Budget for new technology and innovations
While upgrades to equipment and some other innovations are sometimes inexpensive, medical facilities and care centers need to budget or find funds to make upgrades and have the ability to offer patients the latest techniques and treatments so that they receive the best possible care.
It is important to remember that some innovations are in the form of medications that cost you nothing to recommend or prescribe to patients. The same goes for treatments done by specialists you collaborate with on patient treatment plans.
Encourage training and education for current medical staff
Innovation is great, and so are new techniques and treatments. Training and educating medical staff so that they are aware of recent trends in the medical world is crucial. While many medical professionals have continuing education requirements, employers and healthcare administrators should encourage staff to gain additional knowledge and skills.
New medical equipment requires additional training as well. It’s critical to ensure that staff knows how to use the equipment well before it is used on actual patients. Just because something looks easy doesn’t mean no practice is required. Bringing in outside teachers and trainers for your staff is worth the financial investment because it will improve the quality of care your facility offers.
Collaborate with trusted colleagues
Many medical professionals have a few friends and colleagues in the field that they trust to have good instincts and medical skills. Exchanging information about new treatments and innovations is a great way to make sure everyone in your group is on top of the latest and greatest things in medicine. This can be done via an online group or even through a professional organization that you form. Something as simple as setting up a Slack or Airtable database and group for colleagues can make it very easy to share knowledge and information and get second opinions.
Attend online classes, conferences and seminars
Keeping up with the latest innovations can be easier for many if they choose to take an online class or attend a seminar. A class or seminar offered online allows medical professionals from all over the world to share knowledge and ask hard-hitting questions that can lead to even greater innovations in medical care.
While it may be more convenient to attend conferences and seminars online, many positive things can be said about attending in-person ones. Going to a conference means you are dedicated to spending your time that way. There are fewer distractions from networking and learning if you have to attend physically.
There is nothing like meeting other people in person and having face-to-face conversations. Medical conferences also offer the opportunity to see medical equipment in real life rather than on a computer screen. Of course, there is a ton of literature that you can take back as well, so you have a ton of reading material that can keep adding to your knowledge base long after you return to work.
Take a course
Just as there is a shortage of nurses and doctors, there is also a shortage of people qualified to manage healthcare facilities and assisted living centers. Mid-career and senior-level medical professionals looking for a change of pace may consider taking a healthcare management course from the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. If you have five years of management experience in the healthcare field, this program can offer you the skills you need to be a strong healthcare leader.
While the more experience you have in healthcare, the better your resume will look when applying for management positions. You can take a management course. At the same time, you work in your regular position thanks to the availability of 100% online courses. You will gain experience while you take the courses, so when you achieve your advanced degree, you will have at least seven years of experience in the medical field to show prospective employers.
Advantages of keeping up with medical innovation
There is already a lot to consider and do in the world of medicine without spending a lot of time keeping up with innovations and reading papers. However, as a healthcare professional, it is critical to understand the major advantages of taking the time to stay on top of valuable and insightful industry trends.
Innovation helps you offer a higher level of care to every single patient
Keeping up with the latest medications, treatments, and therapies is essential for facilities that want to stay caught up. Your patients deserve access to medical professionals who keep up with how to treat their condition best and entered the profession with an open, questioning mind to new solutions and innovations.
While utilizing the latest innovations may involve reaching out to specialists and referring patients to them for some advanced treatment steps, it should be any medical facility’s prerogative to know as much as possible about what is available in their network that might offer patients a better outcome.
Innovation reduces healthcare costs over time
Better preventative care and more advanced treatments can eventually reduce healthcare costs. Even if some treatments seem expensive, one must consider the overall cost of treating the condition. More expense earlier but little to no later can result in a huge overall decline in the cost of treating longer-lasting conditions. Preventative care, particularly, reduces healthcare costs a lot because conditions are diagnosed sooner rather than later, meaning that a less expensive treatment plan can be used to alleviate symptoms in many cases.
Better treatments and more efficient medical care increase positive patient outcomes
Using innovative treatments decreases patient mortality and increases the likelihood of a positive outcome for patients and their families. Innovation also allows medical teams to do their jobs more efficiently without impacting the quality of care offered. The care is often faster and of higher quality than before. Patients that know that they are getting cared for by medical teams that are highly knowledgeable are more trusting and thus far more likely to listen to what their doctor tells them to do and take charge of their health.
Innovation results in better record-keeping and communications
Treating patients can be a lot more involved than years ago when people often just had a family doctor and rarely saw a specialist for anything whatsoever. Keeping accurate and highly detailed health records for every patient is easier using advanced software programs and databases that allow medical teams to share information in real-time. It means anyone with a say in how a patient is treated or who performs treatments can access the same information as everyone else on the team at any given time.
Electronic medical records reduce the chance of making mistakes that can harm patients or cost valuable time. It is easy to double-check information, such as how much of specific medications a patient needs or any allergies they might have. Access reduces the urge to skip checks due to time constraints. Using databases and messaging systems helps medical teams collaborate and communicate across many medical facilities working within the same network. Better communication makes it far easier for each person to make the most of their work time.
Innovation streamlines medical processes
A major shortage of healthcare workers shows no signs of being alleviated, especially with the large number of aging adults needing more healthcare over the coming decades. At many medical and assisted living facilities, staff often care for more than the ideal number of patients. Even the best and most skilled nurses and medical staff can only offer so much care before sacrifices have to be made in some areas of care.
Prioritizing patients having serious healthcare concerns is often the method of choice, but that can lead to those that are less sick having a poorer outcome because they do not get care soon enough. All medical facilities will need to find ways to streamline medical care in the future to help make up for any shortage of workers they are bound to experience.
Research and collaboration lead to innovation and medical advancements
New emerging technologies and the ability for medical professionals to network and collaborate worldwide have an amazing impact on the rate at which new medical innovations emerge. For example, when a research team at a university is trying to decide on a viable avenue of research, they can consult with many different experts without extensive travel.
Research projects can also be conducted at multiple labs and centers of learning all over the world and there is a larger set of data to prove or disprove a thesis. Medical professionals should be open to participating in research and collaborating on studies that can lead to great discoveries. While some aspects of medical records are private, sharing data and statistics can often help other researchers and professionals with their studies.
Encouraging medical professionals to be open-minded about innovations
It is easy to get stuck doing something the old way, especially if the old way does have a decent level of success with patients. Healthcare professionals must encourage one another to be open to new ideas and innovations rather than just sticking to the tried-and-true methods. While the good old-fashioned debate is one thing, outright denial that a new treatment or procedure is promising is not a healthy way to approach the rapidly changing world of medicine.
Be open to feedback and ideas
The bigger the medical facility, the harder it is to stay in touch with everything, regardless of how dedicated the management team is. It is important to rely on workers at all levels to inform you where there are problems or room for improvement. Regular meetings are helpful, but an open-door policy that regularly encourages feedback can help solve problems before they become serious.
It is another good idea to encourage medical professionals to come to you with suggestions for upgrades or new treatments they might have read about, especially before it is time to budget for the upcoming quarter or year.
Medical innovations are happening rapidly, so it is important to always be alert to new treatments and innovations that can help offer your patients a higher level of care. Taking a little time each week to get in tune with what is happening in your medicine niche and those you commonly have to utilize for your patients can make a big difference throughout your career.
If you are in healthcare management or administration, it is even more important that you dedicate some time to keeping up with innovations and, at times, finding the funding to implement these innovations at your medical facility.