With the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals, clinics, and medical practices have adapted their processes and rapidly adopted digital technologies. While the short-term goal was likely to maximize care while minimizing risk to patients, staff and healthcare providers, there is a clear long-term benefit to this digital transformation: sustainability. Reducing your impact on the environment may not be the primary concern of your practice in the midst of a global healthcare crisis, but operating in a sustainable manner should always be among your operating goals – now more than ever.
Healthy Planet, Healthy People
There is no question that the health of the environment has a direct impact on the health of our population. A 2018 study from the World Health Organization reports that environmental risks such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation and inadequate hygiene directly contribute to the deaths of 1.7 million children under 5 years of age each year.
It’s in all of our best interests for businesses and individuals to minimize their impact on the environment as much as possible. Failing to make sustainability a priority can be harmful not only to the environment, but also to your practice’s image and its bottom line. Embrace these four digital technologies to help create a greener practice:
- Smart Office Technology
Invest in smart office technology that allows users to control everything remotely, from lights and entertainment systems to computers, photocopiers, heating and air conditioning. Such systems are proven to lower energy consumption, reducing your utility bills and your environmental footprint.
- Virtual Visits
The volume of virtual visits soared during the pandemic closures out of necessity, but their popularity is likely to persist. Telehealth solutions provide a convenient and eco-friendly option to patients, allowing them to access care from home or work without commuting to your clinic. In fact, collaborative tools now make it increasingly possible to run a digital practice, attend virtual conferences, and consult on cases across the city or around the world without any travel required.
- Electronic Health Records
One of the most effective ways to boost sustainability is to reduce the volume of paper consumed in a typical healthcare setting. Traditionally practices have relied on faxing hard copies of referrals, results, and other records – resulting in paper used and wasted by the sender and the receiver. EHR systems allow patient records to be maintained, accessed, and transferred electronically. Everything from registration information, consent forms, patient history, requisitions, referral requests, discharge and more can all be captured using electronic forms and digital signature pads, then saved or shared with the touch of a button.
- Digitized Documents
Digitizing all your existing paper forms and archived records can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools it doesn’t have to be. Invest in a high-speed scanner that can convert stacks of paper documents to digital in a matter of minutes – look for features like automatic document feeding, duplex capability, and connectivity that allows you to scan directly and securely to your network or the cloud.
Interested in learning more about digital tools that can improve the sustainability of your medical practice? Ambir Technology has the solutions and the expert advice to get you started.