What is Digital Transformation in Healthcare?
Digital transformation is precisely what it sounds like – the way that advancing technology is affecting the healthcare industry. When the global pandemic rocked the world in 2020, businesses scrambled to move as many services online as possible, and healthcare was no exception.
Many doctor’s offices began to offer routine appointments and consultations online, and more still hopped on the digital appointment scheduling bandwagon. But then, even when the infection rate slowed down in some areas, the demand for online healthcare services continued to rise.
Healthcare organizations realize that the average customer is changing. More people prefer to find forms and other information online rather than stopping by the office. Some people like to schedule appointments online and send messages to their providers via online patient care portals rather than make an appointment. And many patients love the convenience of talking to their physicians or a nurse via Zoom.
What Are the Biggest Trends in Healthcare Digital Transformation?
Despite the demand, a lot of healthcare organizations are hesitant to go digital. Admittedly, changing processes from in person or on paper to online can be a lot of work. But as in any industry, overwhelming customer demand leads to significant changes. Here are some of the biggest changes that healthcare organizations are making today:
Utilizing Big Data
According to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), big data in healthcare refers to the massive amount of health data prevalent on the internet from various sources. These sources include electronic health records, pharmaceutical research, medical devices, medical imaging, and more. Some medical organizations are utilizing this information to streamline care for their patients.
One of the main benefits of using big data in healthcare includes reducing the potential for medication errors. Since so much data is available about any given patient, sophisticated modern software can use this information to flag any contraindications and alert healthcare providers when they write prescriptions.
Another way big data can be helpful is in predicting staff needs. Amazingly, special software can predict future admission rates for hospitals and urgent care clinics, allowing facilities to plan accordingly and ensure appropriate staffing levels. This software reduces unexpected understaffing and increases the safety and wellbeing of both patients and staff.
Big data can also help with preventative care by helping patients more likely to return for emergency visits. By identifying patients who have a history of frequent illness or injury based on their records, certain software can come up with a personalized preventative plan to reduce the chance of future health issues.
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More healthcare providers are letting their patients take charge of their own care. This can mean different things depending on geographic location, population, and type of facility. One of the biggest ways healthcare offices are handing the reigns to patients is with patient care portals.
In the past, hospitals and doctor’s offices were not as quick to give patients access to their own medical information. In some places, you still need to fill out a special form to access certain information about yourself. But patients today are increasingly demanding unfettered access to their own records.
Since the rise in online health portals, many patients today are able to have access to their medical history, list of medications, office visit summaries, and much more at the click of a button. Online care portals are being used for scheduling appointments, messaging their doctors, viewing test results as soon as they are available, and monitoring their own health.
Wearable Medical Devices
The world of medical devices has made incredible technological advances in recent years. Due to advancing medical developments, patients are able to monitor their own health, cutting down on the need for certain types of routine appointments. Some examples of medical wearable devices that have risen in popularity recently include:
- Motion trackers: Devices that track exercise can motivate patients to be more active as well as to measure their activity, which can often be synced from the device to a smartphone app.
- Blood sugar monitors: The technology available for diabetics to monitor their blood sugar levels and determine their insulin needs has grown significantly in recent years.
- Oximeters: These devices can monitor the oxygen levels in the blood, which is helpful for those with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma.
- Heart rate sensors: These devices that keep track of heart rate are useful for patients with a variety of conditions to ensure their heart rate stays at a safe level.
Many industries are taking advantage of incredible developments in the world of artificial intelligence, and healthcare is no exception. Virtual health assistants, for example, are becoming more prevalent thanks to ever-improving AI technology. With online health assistants, patients can chat with bots to do anything from administrative/clerical assistance to different kinds of therapy.
Another amazing thing that artificial intelligence can do for medicine is to analyze health data and research to come up with highly personalized treatment plans for patients with high rates of success. This technology, along with medical professional supervision can essentially create the best possible treatment plan available for each patient.
The Bottom Line
Whether we like it or not, digital transformation in healthcare is unavoidable. The best thing for healthcare organizations and medical providers to do is to embrace the technology to improve patient satisfaction as well as streamline medical care. Visaya is committed to helping companies get access to modern health technology, including advanced electronic medical records software.
Are you ready to embrace the future of healthcare?