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What are the benefits of a medical IT system?

One of the side effects of the recent pandemic has been to accelerate the use of technology in most healthcare settings and to highlight the changing face of medicine and how it is using technology, especially clinicians who work in primary care settings. The growing need for medical IT services is about ensuring that technology is used in the best possible way to maximise resources and to provide the best possible experience for any patient.

Primary care

Primary care is normally the first point of contact that people have with the healthcare system, both for any type of illness or disease as well as for public health and health promotion issues. The nature of primary care has changed significantly in recent years, as advances in technology makes services offered by GPs and nurses more available online, both to computers and people's smartphones.

As the technology advances, so does the need for primary care clinicians to be sure that they have medical IT systems that are safe and secure, and IT support systems in place to make sure they work seamlessly and reassure patients of their value.

Medical IT systems: Telehealth

Telehealth is a general term that covers the ongoing growth of most medical IT systems and support packages. Primary care has evolved to a point where remote consultations are becoming the initial forum for most types of health advice and diagnoses, either by telephone, video conferencing or smartphone apps.

Aside from how this change affects people's attitudes to their primary care clinicians, one of the main challenges is for GPs, nurses, midwives etc to make sure that their medical IT systems are both stable and easy to use. This is true both when the system is put in place and on an ongoing basis where problems may arise and differing levels of support may be needed.

Medical IT support

Anyone who has worked in any type of business probably understands the importance of a good IT support system, both at a practical and a backup level. Medical IT support needs to be both available for the clinician and the patient as well where appropriate. A good support system should include several elements. It should be available 24/7 all year and should be staffed by people who have some understanding of medical IT issues.

The support system should work at various levels. It should be able to provide a level of training to any clinician who needs to understand how a particular system works, as well as be available to iron out any problems that may occur in the system, as well as general network and internet connectivity issues.

In addition, the support system should handle all backups of information contained in the clinician's system, and these should be securely stored offsite from the premises of the GP or nurse involved. There needs to be an understanding by the company providing the medical IT support of the various data protection laws in place, both at a state and federal level and to make sure these are complied with.

Cyber security is a major risk to any type of medical IT system, as it is to any business that operates using technology. There needs to be a disaster recovery plan in place that can be accessed through the company providing the support, in addition to any cyber security insurance that may be in place.