The impact of digital technologies would be far more in the healthcare industry, which is yet to see the full impact of disruption due to technology. The increasing complexity of medical practice, globally ageing population, rising demand for quality and consistent health care forces current systems to become smarter. To this end, an evolution towards improving services and reducing costs has begun. The use of technologies was limited to digitization of the EHR / EMR, rather than it providing the real impact and value to the providers and to the consumers.
The increasing maturity of the digital technologies is creating a fundamental inflexion amongst the healthcare providers. The estimates of the digital enablers to provide more effective treatment, enhancing the doctor productivity and managing the patient care would be able to bring the overall healthcare costs down by 40%. We have been observing that digital and technologies are fast transforming the entire patient lifecycle:
a) Changing the Patient Engagement Models
b) Integrated Pre-treatment: Cohesive Diagnostics, Enhanced Screening, and Patient Information Management
c) Superior Treatment: Intelligent treatment enablers
d) Rigorous and Continuous Post Treatment Monitoring: Therapy Adherence, Continuous Remote Monitoring and Home Care
Changing the Patient Engagement Models
The patients today have an increasing need to be informed and educated to be able to take a knowledgeable decision on their disease as well as to ensure that they take the right decision to choose the right provider partner for their requirements. This has enhanced the need for the providers to engage with the customers appropriately with the educational technologies to deliver education and information to patients and their carers. These technologies need to be integrated with the current information access. One of the most common categories of mobile applications are wellness, medical reference and fitness apps. The Providers further need to ensure that they make the patient experience seamless across the functional areas of the patient in terms of patient on-boarding, Doctor / Lab appointments basis the acuteness of the patient need, integration with the payer and most importantly integrating the entire pre-treatment phase of the patient.
This is amongst the fastest growing market within Healthcare technology and is providing over a $6.5 Bn market already, which is expected to grow exponentially. Efficient pre-treatment is used by the providers to enhance their efficiency by increasing their ability to cater to a larger audience.
Digital technologies using IoT have significantly enhanced the efficacy of patient diagnosis and using wearables, teleconsultation, self-assessment kiosks and remote wireless monitors are facilitating efficiency for the providers.
Portable digital imaging tools and innovative digital sensors are enhancing the diagnostic scanning and in vitro testing to enable the patient monitoring and diagnostic mechanisms much faster.
Further the interaction mechanism for the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare providers integrate the treatment capability to enable faster and better treatment lifecycle.
With the inclusion of digital support in treatment selection, the accuracy of treatment has considerably improved. Digitization has helped the physicians across the world gain access to excessive amount of sources that include cross speciality, this allows them to be on par with the developments that is happening in the field of medical practice, while also supporting treatment personalization.
- Digital technology promotes adherence to therapy – A good number of patients suffering from chronic diseases do not adhere to treatment. Some of them, with their limited knowledge adjust medication on their own and others take completely wrong doses or do not follow timings. This is mostly because of the inadequate knowledge about health care or due to the patient’s forgetfulness. Digitized systems help in keeping track of certain physiological parameters such as sleep, body temperature and blood pressure etc, it drives the patients to adhere to their therapy. These systems can clearly identify patients who do not adhere to treatment and allocate interventions accordingly. The health care providers must put these digital systems into use in places that require intensive therapies, such as the HIV affected patients, to detect multidimensional health care problem and take necessary action accordingly.
- Constant monitoring made easy – Most of the patients incur huge costs due to frequent clinic visits. On the other hand, inconstant monitoring or improper treatment can put the patient’s health at risk through adverse effect on treatment plans. With the emergence of digitization in the healthcare sector, there has been an increase in the number of healthcare devices that is put to use for the constant monitoring of the patient’s health condition. The healthcare professionals are now in a position to clearly assess the health condition of the patients and do the needful to treat them.
Rigorous and Continuous Post Treatment Monitoring
A patient’s life cycle after the treatment is completely dependant on both the healthcare professionals and the patient collecting and communicating health indicators. Years ago, this was based on regular visits to the hospitals, thereby requiring more time and money in addition to inconvenience because of travel, particularly in remote localities. Digitization has now led to the automation of medical facilities via electronic healthcare based on cloud and mobile. The incorporation of analytical capabilities facilitates continuous care and support. Some of the post-treatment services have completely reformed the way the healthcare industry functions.
- Online prescription services – By sending out the medical prescription directly from the general practitioner to the pharmacy through electronic means, patients will be able to manage their repeat medication efficiently and in a timely manner.
- Remote monitoring – This is a highly effective process where the power of technology is utilized to monitor changes in patient’s health condition outside of the health care centers. It lets the patient use certain devices for performing routine tests and send the data across to the health care professionals. With the emergence of wearables and apps, patients are in a much better position to get regular updates about their health condition. The advancement in biosensing wearable technology is now extending its capability to go beyond just tracking activity. At present there are devices that can constantly monitor a wide range of physiology and then convert this extracted information into outputs via advanced connectivity. Through these biosensing wearables, patients with chronic conditions can effectively monitor and track real-time changes in their health status. The data retrieved from these wearables can be then updated into the patient’s health records. These data can be used for providing a complete medical history and real-time information in order to support early diagnosis and prevent crises.
In order to have a successful entry into the digital era, the healthcare professionals must undergo some essential training on how to use technologies and be extremely good at processing complex data and detecting genetic risk indicators. Digital literacy and awareness is vital in order to make the best use of technologies in the healthcare industry.
Digital innovations can play a vital role in addressing some of the rapidly growing healthcare issues that we have today. Embracing digitization can significantly optimize the way in which the healthcare industry functions.
HashedIn has helped several healthcare companies such as Manipal Hospitals, a fortune 100 HealthCare company, and one of the biggest hospital chains in NCR (National Capital Region) with digital transformation. With the power of technology, we helped them improve the pre and post-care. The key differentiator for these initiatives was the patient experience. Let us know if you have any specific problem / use case, where we can provide more information or consult you.