Health care institutions are an integral part of our society, as in such organizations the population has the opportunity to receive medical care. In healthcare, digital transformation has taken place at a rapid pace, which has increased the efficiency and quality of treatment. The systems that staff and doctors have worked with differ in many ways, as patient care and treatment approaches have varied significantly.
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The San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center, being a tier 1 public hospital and an educational institution, faced a number of challenges stemming from ineffective and confusing conditions for specialized medical services. The paper system of record-keeping was no longer effective, communication with patients suffered. As a result, people could not make appointments, and the waiting time for an appointment, which lasted up to a year, was catastrophically long. “After implementing eReferral, median wait times for nonurgent visits declined in 7 of 8 medical specialty clinics by up to 90 percent.” (Bell, 2021, p. 7) The system automated the main routine processes of making an appointment with a doctor, facilitating the work of staff, and eliminating additional communication by the systematization of the necessary information.
Compared to the Richard Fine Peoples Clinic, the differences in service approach to patients are significant. Digitization of materials provides many additional opportunities that allow doctors and staff not to waste time on routine processes and devote more time to patients. The capabilities of the eReferral system are electronic registration of patient information, which reduces the possibility of errors, reduction of waiting time for appointments, and elimination of unnecessary visits. What is more, the “improved patient adherence because the referring provider (with whom the patient has a relationship), rather than an “unknown” specialist, is ordering the workup.” (Bell, 2021, p. 16) All the listed positive effects of a digital system radically distinguish it from the old one.
To conclude, the systems and approaches in the above cases differ significantly. A more convenient eReferral system facilitates many processes, structures information, and makes it possible to devote more time to patients, which is fundamental in healthcare.
Bell, D. S., Straus, S. G., Wu, S., Chen, A. H., & Kushel, M. B. (2021). Use of an electronic referral system to improve the outpatient primary care–specialty care interface. Final Action Contract Report. [PDF document].