There is no doubt that technology impacts much of our daily lives. It proves no different in the healthcare world. The patient experience and hospital rooms in general are going digital. There are tablets in hospital rooms, Smart TVs to educate and engage patients, Electronic Health Records that provide an electronic version of a patient’s medical history, and in the near future, there will be Smart Patient Rooms. All of these technological advancements allow healthcare providers to do what they do best: help patients. They also provide patients with education, entertainment, control, and communication.
There are many dimensions of healthcare that are in need of innovation, such as patient satisfaction, patient safety, cost containment and improved profit. Facing these multiple priorities with limited resources forces leaders in healthcare to seek out innovations that can satisfy all these demands and more. Look at patient satisfaction, for example. Forces such as HCAHPS scores contribute to the growing imperative to improve patient satisfaction. This pressures healthcare systems to find ways to become more patient-centered.
So, back to the question -- ‘Will healthcare innovation improve the quality of life?’
According to The Wall Street Journal, how people feel about their condition and overall well-being affects their quality of life. Providing patients with education, as well as offering advice about managing their health problems, is extremely beneficial. Noreen Clark, director of the Center for Managing Chronic Disease at the University of Michigan, said, “Quality of life happens to be the element that is most important in motivating people to deal with an illness. People aren’t motivated to follow their clinical regimen if in fact it doesn’t improve the way they function and get along with others and manage day-to-day.”
Innovations in healthcare that provide patients with education, such as how to utilize tablets in hospital rooms, are a major step in the direction of improving the quality of life. Some examples of how providing patients with tablets are beneficial: placing a tablet in the room of a new mother to educate her on breastfeeding protocols, using a tablet to provide sound therapy or white noise to a recovering patient, or having a tablet programmed in the patient’s language that provides any information he or she may need. Furthermore, tablets also provide entertainment, a direct line of communication to healthcare staff, and remote video access to the patient’s family and care providers. Additionally, providing patients with tablets ultimately results in higher HCAHPS scores in the areas of patient satisfaction.
Overall, improving the quality of life in healthcare is a daunting endeavor. Luckily, in today’s age of technology, hospitals have the ability to employ healthcare innovations that improve certain areas of need in the industry, such as improving patient satisfaction. In the end, there is no doubt that healthcare innovations improve the quality of life.