Typewriters to Terabytes: Houston Healthcare Reminds Us Just How Far We’ve Come in Health IT

By Patrick Creagh, Marketing Specialist

When I was in college, I did not envision myself going into the field of healthcare. Sure, I loved technology, but I wanted to work in a “fun” industry, like entertainment or social networking. But when I recently got a chance to see the impact that healthcare IT makes on peoples’ lives, I suddenly realized that what we do at Patientco is much more socially valuable than a silly messaging app.

[Note: This post was originally published to Linkedin.]


This past Tuesday, I traveled with 11 other Patientco team members to one of our client systems, Houston Healthcare in Warner Robbins, GA. Our group consisted of everyone from our COO to software development interns to marketing team members. Our goal was to interview managers and users to discover new ways we could improve our patient payment automation solution.

Houston Healthcare is a multi-entity system that serves over 300,000 patients annually, delivering high quality patient-focused care for the past 50 years. Many staff members we spoke with had decades of experience under their belts.

As someone who grew up in the 90s, one thing that fascinated me during my discussions was hearing firsthand stories of how different healthcare “technology” was 20 years ago. Next time you hear someone fret about the ICD-10 coding transition, be sure to remind them that it was only 20 years ago that healthcare administrators used a typewriter to input patient information- account numbers, diagnostic information, payment info, basically any and all healthcare data. One administrator excitedly recalled the invention of typewriter correction fluid, and its contribution to business office efficiency.

Meanwhile, I’m typing this blog, hitting the groundbreaking “backspace key” every 5 words. Publishing it on “the Internet” to a “social networking site.”

I’m pleased to report that things move a bit more quickly in the healthcare business office today. Patients of Houston entities can manage and pay their bills before, during, and after episodes of care using PatientWallet. Checks, online payments, POS collections, even returned mail are all processed in seconds and consolidated automatically for easy visibility. Houston’s efficiency allows them to save time and money, and focus more attention on clinical excellence and exceptional customer service.

So next time your hear complaints about the ‘slow-moving’ industry of healthcare, just remember that typewriter and imagine where we’ll be 20 years from now.