Telehealth

Digital Revolution in the Healthcare Industry is Leading to a Happier Patient

Digital revolution has influenced almost every industry we see today with the most transformation occurring in the healthcare industry. Technological innovations are poised to enable longer and healthier lives for billions of people worldwide. However with the recent COVID-19 impact almost every industry had been disrupted not to mention the healthcare sector.

This pandemic has taught us one thing though; patients need fast responses to their queries on health issues, wherever they may be located or whatever platform they wish to interact on. On the other hand a recent study shows that the adoption of Telehealth has increased significantly from 11% in 2019 to almost 46% by April 2020.

This statistic is a clear indication the future of healthcare lies with ever-evolving technologies. Consumers are interacting more and more with healthcare providers via technology. This goes to show that solutions that are easy to use, accessible anywhere and at anytime can influence cost and operational efficiency positively in the days to come.

That being said, meeting citizen expectations and demands that are ever-shifting in nature will require more than just the business mindset. To that end, a recent panel discussion held in Austin, Texas saw some of the leading thinkers in the healthcare industry share their views on how these expectations could be made through technological implementations and how it can redefine the value of healthcare systems in the near and long-term future.

Some Key Takeaways from the Austin Panel

One of the major premises for the Austin panel was to redefine personal care. According to the panelists, understanding what specific therapies would benefit whom will go on to have a profound impact on healthcare systems.

Over the past years the healthcare industry in the U.S. have distended up to $3.3 trillion per year in spending. This is nearly one-fifth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. According to many present in this panel, improving efficiency in the healthcare sector can lead to major cuts in spending across the country.

It was almost 15 years ago that researchers completed sequencing the human genome. However due to slack technology it hasn’t been in the recent years that genetic tests have become cheaply available broadly. With these genetic advancements the panelists believe that personalized medical treatment can be escorted today.

Another important theme at the Austin panel was the possible future of Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector. One of the ideal visions for the healthcare industry in the future is computers accessing massive data for diagnosing diseases better than their human counterparts. However these AI and machine learning techniques are very good for training data sets. However when applied to a random set of patients, these techniques fall short to recognize specific organs. Panelists argued that this doesn’t indicate that AI has no future in the healthcare sector. It simply means that at its current potential Ai cannot replace medical professionals in the near future.

Another key issue that was addressed in this panel was getting patients to doctors. According to the panelists care avoidance is very common in the industry today. Most people often chose to avoid the lengthy and exhausting process of consulting with a doctor and this leads to ailments festering to a critical point.

This is where Telemedicine and other related technological implementations can play a huge role. Patients can consult doctors via text, video or even photographs, which is a time-saving approach many would opt for. Yes, this would not suffice for complicated ailments but can come in handy in most of the cases.

Building trust is very important

Digital GP or general Practice appointments is an area that still fosters an element of mistrust in technology. This is mainly because many people even after the fatal pandemic would opt for an in-person consultation rather than a telephonic or video consultation. Negative media coverage has led people to not fully trust such technology. This has prompted a recent report to be published in the BJGP or British Journal of General Practice where an urgent need to restore the public’s trust on digital healthcare systems, more importantly digital GP appointments and remote consultancy has been addressed.

What we need to keep in mind is that technology is not the solution to improved patient care; it is merely an enabler that can help to print a good patient experience. The public can avail faster responses to their queries if the technology is used correctly and efficiently. Various automated self-service mechanism such as Chat bots can be employed at the front-line for information gathering, round-the-clock responses to health queries and connecting patients to the appropriate diagnosticians. This can go to the lengths where building public trust in digital healthcare systems are concerned.

Health Apps and Telemedicine

One of the most prominent offshoots of digital revolution in healthcare systems can be cited in the development of thousands of health apps. With the help of such apps patients can monitor their health and track ailments. Moreover, these apps also aid them in acquiring medical information, help them to access test results and even remind them when it is time for a check-up. Not just the patients, these apps are designed to allow healthcare workers to readily access test results and check up on drug-dosage recommendations and more.

Telemedicine is another very prominent digital healthcare tool that is gaining rapid popularity worldwide. Technology has brought video conferencing to us and this has especially impacted areas where there is a shortage of healthcare providers. Telemedicine when employed is not only cost-effective it can also assert quickly individuals who are in need of emergency medical assistance. In this post-COVID scenario doctors and medical consultants are recommending counseling via telephonic or video conferencing, i.e. Telemedicine.

Thus one can safely state that in today’s post-COVID world, ensuring a strong digital healthcare architecture depends holistically on learning from the lessons learned during the pandemic. On top of that building trust in the public and collaborating between different healthcare teams is also very important. This can lead to more efficient and productive healthcare solutions and most importantly a healthier and happier patient.

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