As technology evolves, so should businesses. This is especially true for the healthcare industry. The entire healthcare industry is well aware of this and is adopting strategies and new digital technologies to improve patient care, experiences and care cost reductions. Every day, new digital solutions are providing opportunities to the healthcare industry. Generally, this has to be welcomed, as technology is essential for advancement helping the healthcare industry keep up with increasing patient expectations, but it also generates doubts and can result in organisations becoming becalmed in a sea of opportunities. In this article, we are going to discuss digital transformation and how it impacts and benefits the entire healthcare industry.
The volume of patients visiting healthcare centres has increased significantly over the years and is increasing still. It is essential for healthcare institutions to adopt digital strategies which help provide prompt and efficient patient care. Dealing with increasing amount of data relating to patients is challenging and can hinder patient care; which is the primary focus of all healthcare institutions. For healthcare organisations further digitisation of services should be the primary focus.
There is a plethora of benefits accruing from digital strategies. Solutions are emerging in many areas from chatbots to VR/AI technology. However, it is rather difficult to rank one solution above the other as they can all provide significant benefits and support many different healthcare objectives. But for the sake of discussion, let’s dive into the benefits of digital transformation and what it offers.
Seamless Data Management
Hospitals have to work with huge amounts of data on a daily basis. Gathering data manually takes up a lot of time and effort. Digitisation offers the opportunity to reduce manual data capture and improve clinical and administrative workflows and processes resulting in accurate data and improved patient care.
Healthcare on Demand
Patients are no longer prepared to wait for hours at the hospital to receive attention and care. They would rather go online and seek readily accessible information and advice. Advanced adopters of digital technologies can increasingly provide their patients with on-demand healthcare. Since it is more convenient for the patient, they are always going to choose the hospital that has on-demand services, where this is possible.
Efficient Communication within Healthcare Institutions
To function and deliver effective care to patients, the whole healthcare industry relies on communication. Healthcare institutions, like the rest of the world, rely on contemporary technology to function. They require digital solutions to make communication across their institutions more efficient and easier. Online platforms, discussion forums, virtual reality tools and other digital solutions are among them. Medical practitioners can engage with one another and their patients utilising these technologies to deliver better treatments, patient care, medical advice, and everything in between.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
These will allow the entire healthcare industry to finally dispense with paper records. Healthcare businesses should adopt digital health records to replace paper records and bring order and organisation to their everyday activities and procedures. The first and most obvious advantage of adopting digital is that human error is significantly reduced. Secondly digital records are easily accessible. EHR are essential for improving efficiency and are beneficial to both practitioners and patients. These records assist doctors in accurately diagnosing various health issues and providing adequate care on time. Emergency care providers, in particular, benefit from electronic health records. When treating critically ill patients, every second matters, and EHR enables them to pull patient data quickly, allowing them to offer appropriate and timely therapy.
Robotics in Healthcare
The use of robotics isn’t new but it has certainly come a long way since its inception. Robots help the staff with routine tasks which allow them to focus on other pressing matters which require their immediate attention. In an operations theatre this automation can assist in making routine medical procedures safer and offer greater success rates. But their major function is to perform micro-surgeries which serve to free up skilled surgeons for more complicated interventions. The use of technology has also be shown to reduce a patient’s recovery period.
Due to its elasticity and virtually unlimited scalability, cloud computing offers several benefits to healthcare institutions. It also delivers high data availability along with extensive backup, and recovery capabilities. This makes it arguably the best place to store all required data. It is easily accessible and more affordable than in-house solutions which make for easy adoption by healthcare institutions. Its security is unmatched and is best utilised during unprecedented times as it offers superior data security for all healthcare data.
During this pandemic, there has been a significant shortage of skilled staff which has impacted on the delivery of better outcomes for patients. Chatbots provide for better service to more patients and can also cater for their specific needs. Deploying chatbots in the system takes care of many things such as fixing appointments and consultation to answering FAQs, providing efficient customer support, and alerting teams during patient emergencies. Chatbots can also store patient related data and update medical records.
Big Data in Healthcare
Big data is extremely useful for the healthcare industry. It refers to a large volume of data about a specific issue. It is the information that is developed, stored, and evaluated on a massive scale that typical information storage methods cannot handle. It can be implemented to improve the quality of life, avoid certain diseases, reduce costs, and can even predict epidemics among many other things. It can also send real-time alerts to the doctors and hospital staff, for example via wearable medical devices, which can improve overall workflow.
Wearable Medical Devices
The introduction of wearable medical devices in the healthcare industry is likely to become a game-changer. It will hugely impact all healthcare processes. These devices can measure calories, pulse rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure among other things. These devices can also be used during surgery to send real time alerts to doctors. However, the best use of this technology is the ability to monitor vulnerable patients.
VR is a technology that uses 3D imaging to simulate an environment which lets a person hear, see and interact with the said environment using certain devices such as headsets etc.
The simulated environment is immersive and it is extremely beneficial to patients with special needs or severe mental disorders. The healthcare industry is quickly adopting VR to provide better patient care. Some studies also show that VR can reduce pain in child patients undergoing surgeries. There are likely to be many more uses for VR in the healthcare industry with improved outcomes very much achievable.
Predictive Analytics and Data Science
Predictive analytics is used to analyse huge amounts of information using technology and statistical methods which help predict patient outcomes. PA greatly increases the accuracy of diagnoses and it also helps with preventive medicine. It is also essential for the R&D department as it lets them prediction models that help with accuracy.
Patients can interact with practitioners and doctors via healthcare applications and receive crucial consultations, advice, and care. Additionally, patients can use healthcare apps to look up medicine information, search for conditions, ask questions about topics that interest them, get helpful advice, and much more. It is evident that digital transformation benefits every part of the healthcare sector and will be become critical to meet patients increasing expectations. Digital transformation supports the development of cutting-edge digital healthcare platforms, increased operational efficiency, and has enabled healthcare institutions to take a more holistic approach to patient care.
Voice assistants like Siri, Cortana have already found success and solidified their place in our lives. In the coming years, almost all healthcare professionals and institutions will deploy a voice assistant. Alexa which has been developed by Amazon, is one of the popular assistants which is already being used by some health care professionals. Alexa has major benefits including hands-free communication, which is of great help in completing everyday activities. As soon as the healthcare industry starts to implement voice assistants there will be a noticeable difference in every process.
Digital transformation is not a one-step move. It is a process that is ongoing and will continue to evolve. Every day, new and improved technologies and trends are emerging in the healthcare industry. While this process is revolutionising the industry, it allows institutions and organisations to create more efficient and automated clinical and administrative processes. This helps ensure excellent collaboration with patients.
The process also increases the opportunity for further innovation leading to further improvements in patient care. Costs are curbed and patient retention is achieved. The implementation of AI will help with the creation of new drugs and vaccines and will significantly reduce the time required for research, testing and manufacture.
Processes carried out manually increase error rates. But if manual labour is replaced with AI technology then outcomes will significantly improve. Significant savings in cost and time are also achieved. Soon, people from wherever they are located will be able to obtain the best possible healthcare.
In short, digital transformation is the key to enable the entire healthcare industry to rethink its strategies and utilise technology to transform how they engage with patients and support their clinical and administrative staff.
1 thought on “Benefits of Digital Transformation in Healthcare”
Thanks for sharing the information. Digital Transformation gives many benefits to small and large enterprises. Great fidgital strategy can help to boost the business revenue. Similarly healthcare also getting great value from it. I would appreciate your post.