The American system of healthcare often results in patients waiting for a long time to see a doctor. The long wait times are consistent no matter where or how a person needs medical services. From long emergency room wait times to being put on a gurney and waiting in a hallway until a room becomes available, many people experience frustrating wait times even when they have an urgent situation. Fortunately, new technologies are shortening these waiting periods. Here are four ways in which hospital technology is providing quicker patient care.

Artificial Intelligence Symptom Checkers

A person who is not sure if they need to be seen by a primary care doctor, urgent care center, or emergency room can use an app or chatbot to explain their symptoms. Based on the artificial intelligence system's analysis, the patient will be directed to their primary doctor, urgent care, or the hospital emergency department. Hospitals are increasingly using these chatbots in their emergency department triage areas in order to determine the priority of different patients. When the chatbot is able to identify symptoms that indicate an emergency, it sends an alert to the nurses and physicians.

Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records facilitate the delivery of faster and more efficient patient care. A patient no longer has to fill out a complete medical history and personal information every time they see the same provider or go to a facility in the same network. The electronic records also make it easier to identify erroneous information, such as a wrong date of birth. Electronic medical records also allow providers to track a person's laboratory results over time, monitor chronic conditions, and track emergency room visits. With electronic medical records, people are less likely to experience a medical error, such as being given a medication to which they have an allergy.

Automated Healthcare Communications

When nurses and doctors need to communicate, healthcare automation allows for faster patient care. Instead of someone having to walk and deliver a message from one provider to another, information can be sent electronically in an instant. This can take place in the emergency room, such as when a lab technician is ready to collect samples from the next patient. Nurses can report to the operating room when a patient is ready for surgery, which maximizes the efficiency of operating rooms and physicians. Electronic healthcare communications also allow patients to contact their doctors with non-urgent questions, schedule appointments and request prescription refills. This reduces the amount of time that the administrative staff has to spend on the phone. Doctors can handle these requests when they have time between patients or after their offices have closed for the day.

Smart Radiology Assistants

When a person has an urgent medical condition, such as shortness of breath, a severe headache, or a fracture, they need radiology. There can be a long wait in hospitals for imaging services. There can be another wait for a radiologist to review the imaging studies and deliver a report to the attending physician. According to BuiltIn, smart radiology assistants that use artificial intelligence are decreasing this wait time. This technology can scan MRI, CT, and X-ray images in order to detect anomalies and note clinical findings. Technology also allows radiologists to instantly share findings and images with specialists and primary care physicians.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many primary care doctors, urgent care centers, and hospitals are turning to technology to increase patient safety and shorten wait times. Boosting efficiency allows hospitals to care for more patients without sacrificing the quality of the care. Tight budgets and reduced staffing levels will necessitate the ongoing use of technology in the hospital setting.

Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.