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IT Helping Doctors Provide Better Patient Care

Technology In Hospitals Is Changing The Healthcare Field

If you were going to list the aptitudes for success as a doctor, your would definitely include having a good grasp of math and science. A keen sense of observation would also be important, since doctors need this skill every time they conduct a physical exam or review x-rays or test results. Clinicians also need the ability to gather information and evaluate it carefully in order to maketo make a diagnosis.

Doctor jobs are not just about practicing medicine, though. Anyone who is considering this career path is also going to have to make sure that he or she is comfortable with modern technology used to access medical records, conduct research, and communicate with patients. These tools help doctors deliver a higher standard of care and become better at their work.

Doctors Using Smartphones and Tablets on the Job

The face of clinical medicine has changed, and doctors are using their smartphones at work for a number of purposes. If they need to consult with a colleague or find information about medication, having a smartphone at the ready makes doing so easy and convenient.

The ability to send and receive instant messages is another important feature for busy doctors. They can have quick access to information they need without having to take time out of their busy schedule to hunt for it. New Zealand has invested in just such an IT system, and one of its features is a secure portal that lets patients communicate directly with their primary care physicians.

Tablets are being used by doctors to send and receive e-mails at work, as well as to access electronic health records and diagnostic information. When they need to review medical journals and papers to stay on top of the latest developments in their field, doctors now have the option of accessing this important information electronically.

Patients Communicate Efficiently with Doctors

A patient will be able to log into the system to see a list of his or her medications, select the ones that need to be renewed, and press "send." The request is sent to the doctor's office, where it can be picked up.

When a patient needs to ask the doctor a question, sending a message is much more efficient than picking up the phone and asking the doctor to return the call. The doctor can respond at his or her convenience and the patient can see a written response, which can be reviewed more than once if necessary. It saves the doctor and the patient time when an office visit is not necessarily required to fill prescriptions.

The doctor's time during office hours can be spent on functions that require a more hands-on approach. If a patient has been taking a medication regularly for a chronic medical condition that only requires monitoring, it doesn't make sense to have him or her make a specific appointment to see the doctor simply to get a refill for a prescription if the type of medication and the dosage will remain the same. That spot in the doctor's schedule could more appropriately be taken by another patient who requires a higher level of care right now.

Under this type of system, a patient who is being monitored for a chronic condition can contact the doctor quickly with questions if there is a change in his or her condition. If necessary, an office visit can be arranged to discuss changes to medication or other treatment options.

More Stories By Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is a writer, as well as a tech, social media and environmental enthusiast, living in San Francisco. He is a contributing writer at Forbes, Technorati and The Huffington Post.