In today’s digital world, technology plays an important part of just about every aspect of daily life. Technology is also reshaping primary care, particularly as virtual care has become important to the health and safety of patients and providers alike during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past decade, technology has been integrated into care delivery improving the ability to:
- Search medical knowledge resources
- Facilitate clinical support
- Monitor quality of care
- Map and monitor the spread of infectious disease
- Track supplies of drugs and vaccines.
Clinical support tools and referral systems based in technology have helped coordinate care, ensuring continuity between primary care and specialty care. Advances in electronic health record (EHR) technology enable primary care providers to capture information about a patient’s conditions, medications, and health history, enabling the physician to share the data when making referrals and to improve the quality and timeliness of clinical decision making.
EHR technology, in particular, is reshaping primary care in preventing the possibility of duplications and enhancing the communication between providers and patients. Innovations in technology have also proven to be a factor in avoiding unplanned hospitalizations and urgent care visits.
Elation is the engine for primary care innovation. From solo practices to tech-forward practices, we are the largest and most trusted platform for America’s primary care infrastructure, as primary care leads the future of sustainable healthcare in the US.
Since early 2020, advances in telemedicine technology have been significant in improving access to care and in moving health systems toward a more people-centered, integrated model of care delivery. In addition, home monitoring and wearables are the key to encouraging patients to become more involved in their own healthcare as well as to enabling primary care providers to develop appropriate quality care in a safe environment.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) points out, technology can:
- Play an important role in patient safety by identifying risks and reducing harm in the primary care setting.
- Enable patient access to personalized information, appointment booking, and tools that will help manage chronic conditions in home settings.
- Prevent adverse drug events by ensuring that information on prescribed medications can be accurately and securely shared through electronic prescribing.
Empowering the healthcare workforce of today and into the future is possible through the use of digital technologies, as these tools ultimately improve the quality of care delivery in primary care. Today’s healthcare providers are already digitally connected, and they will continue to have access to digital technologies for communication, knowledge resources, and patient management.
Healthcare leaders are optimistic about the many ways technology is reshaping primary care. Advances that include artificial intelligence, data visualization, robotics, and genomics can transform medicine. Research has shown that technology will be able to:
- Automate tasks that add to the administrative burden of the primary care provider and clinical staff, including documentation, coding, billing, and scheduling.
- Retrieve data maintained in an EHR to consolidate and analyze for the delivery of quality care.
- Use data to determine factors such as environment and community information that contribute to the social determinants for population health.
- Provide support for clinical decisions when diagnosing and treating a patient, in line with the most current research and evidence-based options; this has been particularly true with COVID-19.
- Enable the primary care provider to deliver personalized care that focuses on prevention and that provides actionable recommendations that support the patient’s continued health and well-being.