How Inefficient Communications Technologies Cost U.S. Hospitals $8.3 Billion Annually

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The idle time during the discharge process costs the U.S. hospital industry more than $3.1 billion annually in lost revenue.

The Ponemon Institute estimates that the additional 50 minutes of idle time added to patient discharge caused by the inability to use secure text messaging costs each U.S. hospital more than $550,000 in lost revenue annually. Based on the number of registered hospitals in the U.S., this translates to more than $3.1 billion in revenue lost every year across the industry.

The transition from paper-based to electronic medical records continues to create challenges for the health care industry. While the implementation of new technologies is designed to improve efficiency and enhance patient care, it also has the potential to introduce risk. IT departments must ensure that these new systems meet security and regulatory compliance requirements to keep private information protected.

In practice, security, compliance and privacy requirements often create barriers to technology adoption, which sacrifices convenience and productivity, frustrates caregivers and, ultimately, detracts from patient care. For instance, clinicians are typically prohibited from using smartphones, text messaging and other modern forms of communication due to the perceived security risks. As a result, the use of pagers and other outmoded technologies continues as the status quo.

To quantify the economic and productivity impact of the continued use of outdated communication technologies in health care, the Ponemon Institute and health care IT security company Imprivata recently surveyed 577 health care professionals for a report titled “The Economic and Productivity Impact of IT Security on Healthcare.” Overwhelmingly, respondents agreed that communications tools currently in use decrease productivity, increase patient discharge time and limit the time doctors have to spend with patients, collectively costing U.S. hospitals more than $8.3 billion annually. Dr. Sean Kelly, chief medical officer at Imprivata and physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, dissects the key findings of the Ponemon study and why U.S. hospitals are continuing to lose billions every year.

 

Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

 
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