Digital transformation with the help of emerging technologies was supposed to revolutionize the healthcare industry to improve technology-enabled care with reduced cost. To date, innovations such as telemedicine, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled medical devices, blockchain, cloud-based services, remote patient monitoring and electronic health records (EHR) have already changed the healthcare game but, yet it has not radically changed service and process as expected.
Investing in technology is worth but getting your team on that platform is the hardest part. Adapting to the digital transformation requires flexibility and a shift towards risk-taking mindset, where trusting disruption will yield big results.
We are now in the second phase of digital transformation that focuses on using technology to revolutionize the way patients are diagnosed, treated, and monitored, to deliver timely, precise, and efficient care.
Scope of digital transformation in healthcare delivery :
- Streamlining physicians’ work : Efficient workflow isn’t natural, it needs to be developed. To streamline the workflow at practice, providers should gear up with the latest technological infrastructure (according to the goal) and train their staff to use it in the most efficient, accurate and timely manner.
- Improving patient outcomes : Hospitals around the world are under increasing pressure to improve patient outcomes. The patient outcome is essentially determined by the quality of – patient care, infrastructure, educated staff, doctor-patient communication, system transparency, and operational efficiency.
- Reducing human error : It’s human nature—everyone makes mistakes, but its also a common belief in healthcare settings that, a human error represents the root cause of many adverse events. Thus, to tackle human errors effectively, providers should direct their attention towards – introducing techy infrastructure, prioritizing patient safety, encourage high-reliability culture, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, front-line system improvement, teamwork culture, and other important factors.
- Lowering costs : Healthcare costs are continuing to increase, but when organizations help their staff find strategies to reduce health care costs, it’s a win-win for everyone. Healthcare organizations can lower the health care costs by focusing on – on-demand telehealth solutions, remote patient monitoring solutions, optimized patient engagement, decisions dependent on data/information, and many others.
Few concrete technologies that helps digital transformation in healthcare:
- Telemedicine : Telemedicine relies on communication devices like phones and computers to provide health-related services. While these solutions cannot replace emergency care or appointments that require injections or physical examinations, but they can be used for minor medical needs. Telemedicine also encourages continued engagement, long-term patient outcomes, and savings throughout the healthcare ecosystem.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled medical devices : Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a digital transformation in healthcare, AI represents the epitome of medical innovation. From identification of disease to its treatment and post-treatment cautions and maintenance, AI is serving all aspects of human health and wellness with innovative approaches and discoveries. AI technology is transforming treatment process outlining, medical imaging, drug development, personalized medicine, patient monitoring and what not. AI-enabled algorithms and software helps providers to analyzes complex medical data and drive accurate conclusions without explicit human intervention. The self learning AI will continue to transform healthcare industry.
- Blockchain, Electronic Health Records : Blockchain is a digital ledger or a computerized database of transactions. It could revamp the way a patient’s electronic health records are stored and shared. It provides safety, privacy and interoperability mechanisms for health information exchange (HIE) of medical data, over a decentralized peer-to-peer network. The sharing and trust mechanism feature of this technology provides a future solution for data sharing, which could enable collaborative clinical decision-making in telehealth and precision medicine.
- Big Data Analytics : Big data is playing the role of catalyst digital transformation of the healthcare industry. It enables the healthcare sector to move toward evidence-based medicine and value-based payments. Big data has encouraged the healthcare industry to collect, analyze, and utilize patient’s health-related data to deliver strategic and personalized care. Healthcare organizations should focus on:
– Big data analytics to: reduce fraud, waste, & abuse
– Predictive analytics for: better patient outcomes, lowering cost, operational efficiency driving innovations and many more.
- Internet of Medical Things : The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) refers to the connected system of medical devices and applications that collect data that is then provided to healthcare providers through online computer networks. The IoMT can help monitor, inform and notify not only care-givers but provide healthcare providers with actual data to identify issues before they become critical or to allow for earlier invention. IoMT helps in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring patient health remotely, which reduces the need for routine office visits and checkups. So that patients can look after they spend more time at comfort, rather than in a hospital or doctor’s office.