Healthcare technology continues to improve. Some, however, question whether current efforts and software improvements are enough. Certain motions, such as the transition to electronic health records, are widely successful. Companies continue to refine medical software; thanks to recent improvements, doctors can now predict heart attacks months before they occur. Critical pharmacy technology, including medicine and prescription dispensing technologies, continue to lag behind.
The Good: Doctors Can Predict Heart Attacks With New Software
Developments in electronic health records are enabling doctors to digitally assess hundreds of different factors to predict whether patients will have heart attacks, or even develop high blood pressure. “Predictive algorithms uncovered 8,500 patients at risk of having heart failure within a year; 3,500 were ferreted out because of natural language technology,” Forbes reports. Forbes describes an initial trial, “In addition to more than 200 factors such as blood pressure, beta blocker prescriptions, and weight, it [predictive software] combed through more than 20 million notes, uncovering nuggets of information that are not entered in a medical record’s fields. They include the number of cigarette packs a patient smokes, the pattern of prescriptions, and how well the heart is pumping. Additional details that might have escaped a doctor’s eye, include a patient’s social history, depression, and living arrangements.” Steve Morgan, Carilion chief medical information officer, expects even more out of the latest software. “We look at this as the tip of the iceberg…the power of predictive modeling and natural language processing,” Morgan adds.
The Bad: Pharmacy Improvements Too Little, Too Late
While electronic health records get increasingly efficient and high-tech, pharmacy point of sale systems lag behind. The best pharmacy POS software, Healthcare IT News adds, “provides real-time visibility into pharmacy inventory, so essential drugs and solutions can be monitored continuously.” Unfortunately, the majority of the pharmacy do not currently have access to this technology.
Medical technology is improving, but not consistently. While electronic health records soar head — and may soon be efficient and thorough enough to predict heart attacks before they happen — pharmacy technology continues to fall behind. Most hospitals and outpatient retailers do not have access to the best pharmacy POS software.