Many industries greatly benefit from technology and what it is capable of and some sectors are ahead of others in this regard. For example, a number of industries worldwide, one by one, are starting to go paperless, and why not? It’s more convenient, it’s faster, more reliable, more secure, and most importantly, it significantly ramps up efficiency.
Just consider this. You walk into a store where you purchased something some years ago. You want to buy the same item again but the employee takes 35 minutes to find your physical customer file buried under thousands of other files in the storeroom. The file is completely outdated and serves no purpose other than wasting everyone’s time.
This would be particularly concerning when applied to the healthcare industry as efficiency, speed of treatment and effective systems could be the difference between life and death. We’ve compiled a list of three digital healthcare trends that are transforming the way healthcare workers provide effective care and ultimately provide better patient outcomes.
#1 Electronic health records and healthcare data integration
To become efficient, any establishment must be able to retrieve nearly any type of data with the click of a button. Most industries have adopted this data storage method, and using paper just isn’t cutting it anymore. Data should be effectively captured, stored and transmitted seamlessly, and electronic health records are allowing medical practices to do just this. This is allowing hospitals to get rid of additional administrative efforts as a system is developed to do the hard work for you.
It was reported by HealthEuropa that “while 23% of trusts were still using paper records, the 77% which have upgraded to electronic records.”
Giving medical practitioners’ immediate access to information greatly improves service efficiency to patients. Patients are experiencing quicker turnaround times, allowing higher numbers to be seen in the same time period. When this is done correctly, it will inevitably lead to higher quality care and ultimately, an increase in lives saved.
Large organizations, such as the NHS for example, are taking a step to the next level by integrating all available information into a central system. This functionality allows healthcare professionals to consolidate and connect all available sources of information to allow disparate services to work together more efficiently. For example, radiology software enables information to be integrated with other hospital information systems improving efficiency and reducing inter-departmental communication time by sending medical images instantaneously.
Many solutions have been designed with interoperability and to integrate seamlessly with a wide variety of healthcare information systems. If you are fully integrated, you ensure that operations are carried out comprehensively while retaining all relevant regulatory and compliance structures. This will protect both the integrity of your data as well as the efficiency of your operations.
One major factor in retrieving and storing customer data is the safekeeping thereof. As customers give every aspect of their life away to obtain a transparent file of their health, test results, and even credit card numbers for processing payments for services rendered. This information can be stolen and sold to the black market to commit theft. It is of the utmost importance that these records are kept completely safe from anyone with criminal intentions.
#2 Wearable medical devices
In the past, individuals were happy to do a medical checkup once a year for peace of mind and pinpoint an issue before it becomes noticeable. Modern-day patients with chronic illnesses no longer rely on annual checkups but prefer wearable technology to identify real-time issues.
Wearables are even playing a part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the BMJ, “Interest is growing in the use of wearable devices to monitor patients with covid-19 and chronic illness.”
This is a significant contributor to what strides we’re taking in healthcare and will determine that something is wrong long before someone will notice it by themselves. Some of these wearable devices include exercise trackers, heart rate monitors, oximeters, and sweat meters.
Oximeters monitor the amount of oxygen flowing into your bloodstream and are mostly utilized by patients that suffer from respiratory illnesses such as asthma. These medical devices also play a role in many life insurance programs. Your exercise is monitored, and incentives are placed on specific goals to motivate you to reach them and become more active.
Insurers can also use insights from these devices to rate the risk of the insured, accurately and charge their premiums accordingly. This serves as a massive incentive for many people to start leading healthier lifestyles, and being more active is something most individuals need in their life. According to one study, these medical devices can even go as far as saving economies tremendous amounts of money annually. According to global data the wearable tech industry is set to hit the $54 billion dollar mark by 2023. This is astonishing!
#3 Predictive healthcare
For healthcare providers to become as productive and efficient as reasonably possible, some measures need to be put in place, and nothing but technology will allow us to do this. All the data healthcare providers collect, and the store could even assist with predicting future health trends worldwide, including assisting with adequately staffing healthcare facilities and indicating which illnesses pose a significant threat to society. It can become a determining factor in healthcare facilities’ readiness. It could also assist with recommending healthier lifestyle habits for specific groups of individuals, which will ultimately positively affect their overall health. This will allow healthcare organizations to hire temporary staff to accommodate health outbreaks before they come into effect, thus ensuring faster responses.
Technology already plays a significant role in our daily lives. When used correctly, digital transformation in healthcare will enable healthcare professionals to perform as best they can and save lives that they never thought they would have been able to do. To utilize this, virtually all aspects of it must come together seamlessly and avoid poor management of information and use insights given to us more effectively. Billions of dollars are invested into this specialized healthcare software and devices, medical technology and digital transformation will continue to increase in the coming years.