Technology as a Bridge to Better Healthcare Management

17 Nov 2023

Technology serves as a vital bridge to achieving more effective healthcare management. Integrating advanced technology solutions improves patient care and streamlines administrative processes, resulting in more efficient and affordable healthcare services. In this article, we examine how technology acts as a link to better healthcare management. We also sought an opinion on the subject from Prof. Radka Savova - an endocrinologist with many years of experience and a Sirma Medical Systems medical board member.

Digital revolution in healthcare management

The technological revolution in recent years has ushered in a new era in healthcare. At the forefront of this transformation is digitising patient records by replacing paper with an electronic health record (EHR). This change is revolutionising how healthcare providers access and share critical patient information. EHRs increase diagnostic accuracy and promote seamless collaboration between healthcare professionals, resulting in more comprehensive and effective patient care.

The Medrec:M app provides a comprehensive view of a patient’s health status while providing timely access to a medical professional. In it, you can easily and quickly create your electronic health record by filling in your diseases and symptoms, attaching health documents and tests, and even making an appointment and conducting a consultation with a doctor completely online on the platform. Explore all the functionalities of the Medrec:M app.

Empowering patients and increasing engagement

Technology serves as a powerful tool for patient empowerment and engagement. Healthcare apps and online portals give patients unprecedented access to their health information and a rich array of self-care options. Patients can make appointments, review test results and communicate with their treating healthcare professionals at their convenience. This shift from a passive patient role to an active participant in their healthcare improves patient satisfaction and streamlines administrative processes, giving healthcare professionals the opportunity to focus on providing quality care.

Precision and progress with AI and robotics

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are reshaping healthcare delivery, especially in complex procedures and diagnostics. AI-driven algorithms help diagnose diseases, predict outcomes, and suggest treatment plans. Robotic surgery offers unparalleled precision, allowing surgeons to perform complex surgical procedures less invasively and at reduced risk to the patient. All this increases patient safety, produces better outcomes and optimizes the use of resources in healthcare facilities.

We had the pleasure of meeting Associate Professor Radka Savova and talking about how she sees technology integration in healthcare in Bulgaria. Here is what assoc. prof. Savova shared with the Medrec:M team:

Assoc. Prof. Savova, what are your observations on the technological progress in medicine through the prism of your practice?

In the last 40 years, we have witnessed extremely large scientific and technical progress, starting with imaging diagnostics with ultrasound, magnetic resonance, and computed axial tomography, and reaching modern means of monitoring vital signs. Specifically, in my practice, a big progress in the last five years has been the introduction of sensors for constant monitoring of blood glucose in patients at home and in their daily lives. The other big technological innovation we are witnessing is the advent of insulin pumps. Taken together, they have revolutionized the control and treatment of diabetes mellitus in modern times.

What are the opportunities for endocrinologists in medicine that are influenced by technological innovations?

The opportunities are to adopt them, to recommend them to our patients, to keep up with the new tech, and, of course, to work with the institutions that manage health care in order for these technologies to enter our daily lives and reach patients faster.

Managing data, records, and files in one place in a digital environment - is this the future of every clinic, hospital, and private practice?

Digitization saves time taking patients to family doctors, health insurance companies and institutions. It also saves time for us, the doctors, in processing the documents. An electronic health record is one place to collect and integrate information about a patient’s health status, as long as that electronic record is not distorted. Such a distortion can occur when we work with the National Health Insurance Fund since we cannot work with the original disease names. Still, we must bring them closer to formulating a clinical path so the Health Fund can cover the relevant costs.

Telemedicine and online consultations - is it possible to completely replace the standard examination in doctors’ offices? Do you see this shift happening in pediatric endocrinology?

Not yet, because the doctor’s subjective judgment and extensive experience will always give something extra in an on-site physical examination. Direct contact with the patient is very important, as well as the first impressions of a child, from his appearance, general condition, demeanour, and behaviour. They cannot be fully reproduced in one digital consultation. I would not accept this practice from the perspective of my 43 years of pediatric experience.

How useful is remote follow-up monitoring once therapy has been established and the parameters to be followed by each patient have been set?

There is an opportunity to remotely follow our patients who work with self-monitoring blood sugar diaries. We can review their notes and see blood sugar values, circadian rhythms, and insulin form metrics. We can actually do a remote consultation based on the documents with which they reports their condition.

How can telemedicine and online consultations be useful in endocrinology?

I have already told you about online consultations, they are useful when patients send us documents that reflect their condition. Regarding online medicine, I support them, because indeed hospitals in remote areas, where there are not enough specialists, in certain cases a specialist could be useful to his colleagues. There is clearly much to be done in the technologically advanced fields of medicine.

Can an online medical examination help when consulting a patient who is in a remote location?

Some of our patients have financial difficulties, some are hundreds of kilometers away from us, they do not have their own transport, and the trip to the capital is time-consuming and involves a lot of money. We can consult them by video link, with the aim of seeing the children often enough - for example, at least 4 times a year. I don’t mind a hybrid model - both on-site and online consultation.

We thank assoc. prof. Savova for her shared opinion and experience, and in conclusion, we would like to confirm that the mission of technology is to serve as a transformative bridge to more effective and efficient healthcare management. Adoption and continuous innovation of technology leads to a healthcare that is more accessible, personalized and responsive to the needs of both patients and healthcare providers.

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