It’s often said that a carpenter is only as good as his or her tools. In the world of healthcare, your staff’s ability to provide superior patient care similarly hinges on the tools they’re given. That’s where Google for Healthcare can help.
Healthcare industry executives and health IT providers can leverage Google for Healthcare for a smarter approach to email, collaboration, and productivity.
Outdated email systems, as well as staff using personal email as a workaround (a major HIPAA violation), are a security nightmare for hospitals. A Boston hospital recently had to tell 3,300 patients that their Social Security numbers, health insurance data, and medical files were hacked into as part of a phishing scheme, all because an employee clicked on a seemingly innocent link in a malicious email. These leaked records are extremely profitable on the black market, expose patients to ID fraud, and put hospitals at risk for millions in prescription drug and insurance scams. With a more modern solution, this malicious email would have likely been flagged as spam (or blocked entirely), rather than be sent to the employee’s inbox. So what options do hospitals have?
Google for Healthcare enables safer discussions and reviews of patient information. Google Drive is a HIPAA-compliant repository of all patient files. Mobile device management and encryption features boost security. Administrators can even control who is authorized to view certain documents. Everything from standard documents to EHR/EMR can be stored here, and when changes are made, approved staff will receive an update via email. However, no actual patient data will be in the email, making Google for Healthcare a smarter, more secure solution for hospitals. This suite also comes with Data Loss Prevention (DLP), which can protect a hospital from security risks through features that prevent sensitive information like social security numbers from being sent out via email.
An inability to collaborate, especially when poor technology is the culprit, has a tangible, negative effect on hospital operations. Wayne State University researchers found that collaboration challenges between hospitals and vendors can cost upwards of $700 per minute. As damaging as that is, that study was limited just to the operating room. Imagine the bottom line costs and risks that hospitals incur when doctors and nurses in different locations lack the technology to collaborate in real-time about a dire patient issue when the clock is ticking. Some hospitals have found that nurses will text physicians about patients – which is a HIPAA violation – in order to quickly communicate and bypass hospital paging tools that are often ineffective. Physicians wanting to work on patient notes may bring their work home. They may struggle with the virtual private network (VPN) and will instead try to review patient files remotely; others may email the document to themselves to access from home (or a public area), then email it back to their hospital account from their unsecured personal email.
Enter Google for Healthcare, a HIPAA-compliant suite of tools that usher in a new era of collaboration. Google Drive lets hospital workers store patient files, training documents, and other organizational materials in a safe and secure online platform, all of which can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer. No VPN is required to quickly access patient information in Google Drive since it’s all located in the HIPAA-compliant cloud. Nurses can use G Chat to reach physicians who will receive notifications on their computers, tablets, or smartphones. This is just as effective as a text, but is a safer and more HIPAA-friendly way to communicate. It also allows admins to set controls on who can view, edit, and make comments. Staff will no longer be tempted to email files back and forth. Built-in functionality on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides lets users view a document’s entire history. Google Hangout enables live discussions and videoconferencing, either with patients or fellow staff members. This is especially beneficial for hospitals working with other physicians across the country – or world – on research and collaborative patient care. Users can even record sessions for future use, which reduces travel and training costs if a live session was meant to be for teaching or other educational purposes.
Healthcare organizations spend just 20% of what financial services companies do on IT. But to overcome some of the top challenges in healthcare – EHR, ICD-10, and ACA implementation – hospital staff will need modern tools that enable them to work faster and as more of a team. More directly, stakeholders will need tools that increase overall productivity and deliver a more impactful patient experience.
Google for Healthcare features a nearly limitless number of applications and tools that drive organizational effectiveness and patient outcomes. Google Forms enables online submission of intake forms, which automatically go to Sheets, where doctors and nurses can easily discuss and make notes. Information is updated in real-time, which means staff can more quickly follow up with patients. Everything from compliance documents to medical files and internal communications are accessible from mobile devices; enabling staff to work at their convenience improves performance and retention of information. Communication tools include one on one or group chat forums and teleconferencing.
Google for Healthcare Summary
Hospitals’ outdated technologies make providing care a tough fight, but Google for Healthcare features a number of tool that boost organizational performance. Drive enables safe and secure online storage, while other tools enable more effective collaboration. Doctors and nurses also have more options for instant, real-time communication.
Ready to learn more about how Google G Suite enables hospitals to run more efficiently? Read how Hunterdon Healthcare saved $1.3 Million by switching to G Suite.