Despite the constant release of ever-improving pieces of healthcare innovation technology, providers and facilities can be rather averse to adopting these new hardware and software. While there have been more popularly accepted pieces of tech, such as medical all in one PCs and EHRs due to their optimized design for care centers and mandatory incorporation respectively, several hundreds of other healthcare innovation solutions aren’t accepted with the same fervor. Unfortunately, this isn’t because of an issue on the tech developer’s side. Rather, it’s a few inherent issues with the health sector as a whole.  

Why Innovation in Healthcare is so Hard

Despite the abundance of specialized knowledge shared by healthcare professionals, many physicians and nurses don’t fancy themselves tech-savvy. This can be rather prohibitive to testing out new healthcare innovation technology since, unlike with a manufacturer or retailer, hindered performance while health staff attempts to learn new technology can result in compromised patient health.

Hospitals Shouldn’t Settle for Consumer-Grade

Ill-fitting technology can actually prove harmful for a healthcare facility in more ways than one. Hardware that isn’t specifically created with the healthcare workplace in mind, for example, can be an active risk to both patients and care providers. 

There are multiple certifications and specifications that need to be considered when picking out a device for a medical facility, otherwise, no amount of benefits promised by a device will convince a provider it’s truly the best choice for their team.

IEC60601-1 certification, for one, is incredibly important when dealing with devices that will be placed in healthcare facilities packed with other life-saving medical hardware. Without this certification, hospital staff can’t be sure that electric signals given off by a device won’t interfere with other devices on-site of their facility. 

It also goes without saying that devices that protect against infection are important when caring for patients. Unfortunately, consumer-grade products are never properly fortified against bacteria. Several so-called medical devices aren’t either, as they only perform the bare minimum in applying thin coats of antimicrobial spray to their devices, meaning there’s an added pressure to search for devices that are properly fortified with antimicrobial glass and hardware that will last. It’s because they hold these certifications that true medical panel PCs made by responsible, reputable manufacturers have remained one of the few happily adopted healthcare innovation solutions amongst a sea of others on the market.

Hospitals are Averse to Risk

Difficult to incorporate hardware and software can, and has, caused problems for a fair share of providers. Take for example, the EHR incorporation that we mentioned earlier. With the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2014, the use of electronic health records became mandatory in an attempt to optimize the storage of patient data. Despite these admirable intentions, however, to this day, several medical professionals face issues with EHR compatibility and sharing patient data, resulting in several inconsistencies in care.

Unfortunately compromised patient care often means heightened patient readmission rates which can then turn to financial penalizations for the hospital or dire outcomes for patients. Hospitals, therefore, have a lot to lose and are very averse to the risks inherent to developing new modes of operation and patient care, even if the new healthcare innovation technology promises amazing results with time.

People Don’t Want to Be Treated by Machines

Treatment is an incredibly personal interaction for all parties involved. Patients are vulnerable, sick, and scared. More often than not, they want those incredibly human emotions and fears to be validated and addressed by a person and not something like a chatbot. 

Providers understand this inherent need in their patients as well and aren’t necessarily excited to automate the process further and further, even if better results are theoretically possible, if it means lowering patient satisfaction rates. We’ve seen this same hesitation observed in the incorporation of several pieces of digital healthcare innovation technology spanning from AI diagnosis to telehealth, though adoption of the latter has surely increased due to recent events. 

New Innovations Can Mean Privacy and Compliance Issues

Healthcare providers don’t have the luxury of simply being able to plug in a new piece of tech and then get right back to work as usual. In an industry where patient data is constantly being attacked at all angles by criminals looking to steal healthcare and prescription credentials, utmost attention needs to be paid to how healthcare innovation solutions risk cybersecurity. 

And unfortunately, several pieces of hardware, if not incorporated effectively, actually start to poke holes in a facility’s cybersecurity. The more interconnected devices hooked up to the internet there are in a facility, the more entry points for a cybercriminal looking to steal patient data. 

Medical devices need to meet a few cybersecurity and HIPPA compliance precautions, otherwise they actively make a facility’s cyber defense less effective. This can make investing in new healthcare innovation technology rather risky for the average decision-maker.  

What Have Hospitals Learned in the Recent Months?

All of the aversions we mentioned above, while they are valid and applicable, were all hesitations held by a healthcare industry pre-COVID19. After the recent hit from the global pandemic, healthcare providers were forced to acknowledge that change is no longer about making their good services better, it’s required to provide their services at all. 

Infection control, telehealth, remote triage, these have all become prerequisites for delivering care in a world where social distancing, PPE conservation, and a highly infectious disease are the norm. Now, providers are realizing change is necessary and funding for digital transformation is reflecting this switch in mentality. 

According to a survey conducted by Black Book Research, despite healthcare providers on the whole suffering from massive drops in revenue, only 12% of them plan on cutting spending on digital transformations and healthcare innovation technology. 

Where Does That Leave Those Looking for Healthcare Innovation Technology Now?

Just because change has now become required, doesn’t mean those obstacles we mentioned above simply disappear. It’s rather unfortunate, but care providers now need to play a careful game of risk analysis and focus on employing new healthcare innovation technology while also addressing their pre-existing pain points. 

Focusing on telehealth, since it’s easily been one of the more rapidly adopted innovations as COVID continues to spread, cybersecurity issues inherent to the practice can be addressed with authentication hardware such as RFID tablets, CAC readers, single sign on solutions, and more. 

Medical cart computers that meet all of the certifications needed to operate within a care facility can also help diminish patient to physician infection by allowing providers to remotely control a cart into a patient’s room to care for them at a safe distance.

Most importantly, however, medical care providers need to focus on building out their IT team or working closely with the IT staff already in place to make sure new technology is incorporated cleanly and efficiently. Together, care and IT staff can run down a list of must-haves for each piece of tech needed to get started on programs such as remote care, tele-triage, and more. Nurses and physicians can confirm proper certifications and staff needs are met while IT members can ensure new devices won’t function poorly with already existing software and hardware in the facility. 

Adopt Healthcare Innovation Technology, But Adopt it Smartly   

Now that adoption of healthcare innovation solutions has increased, it’s important not to overdo it and start investing in technologies that aren’t in line with your facility’s current and future needs. Healthcare revenue and resources are at a substantial low, meaning your and your team need to carefully convene and consider what innovations can help you navigate and address the needs of your patient-base. For more information on what tech can help you do just that, contact an expert from Cybernet today.